Wireless Connect 2020: No Merci, Migos bring fest to an epic end with virtual reality sets and BLM shout-outs
'Wireless Connect' has finally come to an end after three high-octane nights of stunning virtual reality-enabled performances from the biggest and best rap, grime, hip-hop and R&B acts on both sides of the Atlantic. 'Wireless Connect' is the virtual iteration of the Wireless festival conducted in partnership with MelodyVR and streamed from London and Los Angeles. Day 1 saw some stunning performances from the likes of Tyga and Saweetie and from there on the show just got bigger and better. Following its third and final night, it's safe to saw Wireless Connect 2020 certainly went out in style. Read on for some of the top highlights from the festival.
The second day of the world’s biggest virtual festival delivered one of the most-anticipated line-ups of the summer, all in interactive 360° virtual reality. Guided by host Capital XTRA’s Yinka, a global at-home audience was blown away by new, exclusive and unseen sets from Lil Skies, Rae Sremmurd, No Merci: Garage Special, Mist & Steel Banglez, Jay1, Not3S, Kyle, plus performances from many more game-changing artists.
At the cutting-edge London studio, the No Merci: Garage Special was a non-stop, energetic celebration of the UK’s prolific garage scene with MC Neat kicking off with huge banger ‘A Little Bit Of Luck’. Sweet Female Attitude brought summer favorites ‘Track 3’ and ‘Flowers’, before MC DT launched into seminal tune ‘Lovin’ It’. The jubilant set was completed with the UK’s best garage stars taking over Ally Pally, Nay Nay, Kele Le Roc, Heartless Crew, MC Kie and the incomparable vocals of Lisa Maffia and Neutrino.
Steel Banglez kept the hot vibes going with ‘Fashion Week’, before announcing "it’s time to bring out one of the biggest artists in the country: my brother. Make some noise for MIST!" The iconic duo performed MIST’s chart hits ‘So High’ and ‘House Party’, getting the Wireless Connect home crew set for the night. The insanely talented rapper JAY1 was bearing the flag for Coventry’s rap scene at Wireless Connect this weekend, with a massive performance including tracks ‘Becky’ and his meteoric chart hit ‘Mrs’. Not3s took fans back to a sunny set at Wireless 2019 with made-for-summer ‘My Lover’ and ‘Sit Back Down’. He was then joined on stage by a huge crowd for ‘Aladdin’ — the VR experience sent all the fans at home wanting to tear up the stage with him.
Fans were virtually transported to a secret US location for Lil Skies' late-night set. The US rapper closed the Saturday night with ‘Riot’ and ‘Fidget’ — two massive singles he dropped earlier this year. Rae Sremmurd’s 2019 set was even madder than we remembered — the huge crowds jumping along to every line of the US rap duo’s hits ‘Black Beatles’, ‘No Type’ and ‘Come Get Her’ as the sun went down in Finsbury Park.
The second day of Wireless Connect was packed with exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews and previous highlights between the brand new sets. Other phenomenal acts on the bill for day two were KYLE, Unknown T, Disturbing London Poundz (Ivorian Doll and Hakkz), Rich The Kid, Pa Salieu, Darkoo, Russ Millions, RMR, S1MBA, Niko B, Kilo Jugg, Rushy, Whiterosemoxie, Teezandos, DJ Semtex ft Keys The Prince and DC and Tia Carys.
Wireless Connect concluded on Sunday, July 5. The 100% free virtual experience encouraged viewers to make a donation to Black Lives Matter via Crowdfunder. Many artists on the Wireless Connect bill also acknowledged the Black Lives Matter movement throughout the event, in addition to reminding everyone to stay safe, stay alert, practice safe social distancing and follow government safety guidelines.
Fans joining in from home were left stunned by the finale with sets from Skepta, Migos, No Merci, IAMDDB, Young Thug, Trippie Red, 24KGolden, Iann Dior, Ray BLK and many other incredible acts which made it a night to remember. One of the best highlights of the night was, without question, getting to re-live grime pioneer Skepta’s surprise appearance at Wireless 2019. “And if I ain’t the headline, then I must be the special guest,” he joked, before going into ‘Praise The Lord (Da Shine)’, ‘It Ain’t Safe’ and ‘What Do You Mean?’ — all met with euphoric screams of the crowd. He spoke to the thousands of fans, sharing, "Man’s played Wireless a few times. You know we had to come and… Shut it down," sending the crowd into a frenzy before plowing into ‘Shutdown’.
Another incredible throwback to 2019 came from Atlanta trio Migos. US rap heavyweights Offset, Quavo and Takeoff played to a sold-out Finsbury Park, with a massive 16-song offering including ‘Motorsport’ and ‘Bad and Boujee’. Also hailing from Atlanta, Young Thug's Wireless set was packed with raw energy, with a particular highlight being the Juice WRLD guest slot for chart-topper ‘Lucid Dreams’.
Trippie Red also wowed with a massive set while California-born rapper and singer 24k Golden floored fans with his major hit ‘City of Angels’ from the LA studio, later joined by Texas-raised rapper Iann Dior to perform ‘Mood’, a track from his new upcoming album. Dior also rocked out for his own set, with a mix of wall-to-wall hits that packed a hefty punch. No Merci returned for their second set at Wireless Connect, this time presenting DJ Maximum & Friends on the decks with a huge mix of talent including the young, energetic rap rockstar Master Peace, while grime MC Paul Stephen brought new energy to the Ally Pally stage. Closing the set was legendary French-born, south-east London-raised rapper Octavian. Speaking to the fans at home, he said, "Big up Wireless Connect and big up Black Lives Matter."
One of Manchester’s hottest exports IAMDDB served up a blend of hip hop, jazz and trap, and slowed it down for "all the lovers at home" with ‘Quarantine’. She told Wireless Connect she is all about “just vibing and really connecting with the audience” for her first-ever virtual show. Lewisham singer Ray BLK, who’s known for her introspective and sociopolitical lyrics, gave a powerful freestyle dedicated to Black Lives Matter. Her beautiful set featured a debut of the new track ‘Lovesick’ along with some of her classics ‘Action’ and ‘Chill Out’ before ending with ‘My Hood’ — the anthem dedicated to her ‘Londoners’, with BLK saying she could “feel the vibes from home".
The finale of Wireless Connect included stirring sets from Big Narstie, Sheck Wes, Digga D, M1ILLONZ, MAXO KREAM, D Double E and Asher D, Miraa May, GUAPDAD 4000, Lady Leshurr, Donae’o, Knucks, NITO NB, Suspect, Shaybo, The Underachievers, Jahmed and Kaniva, who all helped bring a memorable event to an energetic close. The ambitious project was a world-first from an incredible collection of UK and US artists whose sets were brought to life by Wireless Connect and MelodyVR, as well as the incredible response from the fans at home who got to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience via on.melodyvr.com/wireless.