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10 Artists to Watch at Tokyo World 2018

Bristol’s Tokyo World returns this September, after a triumphant inaugural weekend festival launch back in 2017. Building upon the success of their first two-day fezzie, which had already set the bar high in terms of artists on offer over the course of the weekend, organisers have pulled everything out of the bag for 2018.

In usual NexFest style, we’ve put together this handy little list of artists we absolutely guarantee to blow either a) your socks off, or b) your mind clean out of the back of your head. In no particular order, here are our top 10 must-see artists at Tokyo World 2018.

MC Shabba D

MC Shabba D is undeniably one off the most impressive freestyle drum and bass MCs to have graced the genre. His ability to rattle off tommy-gun bars perfectly suits the frenetic, dancefloor-orientated style of dnb over which he rhymes. Expect to hear some intelligent lyrical content alongside the classic swagger that comes with the genre. Seriously, this MC is recognised globally, and deserves your undivided attention as he plays Tokyo World on the Saturday.

The Nextmen

If you like your hip-hop with a UK flava, then you want to get your ears around what The Nextmen have to offer. The pair have been doin’ it since 1996, when their first remix saw light of day. Since then, they have continued to push the limits of their sound, and can often be heard lashing little bits of jungle, dnb, hip-hop, and soul, into their DJ sets. They generally come bundled with an MC as well, so you get even more bang for your buck. Playing on Saturday.


Bassline. Yes please. Nothing better than a triple-serving of it, thanks to the genre’s holy trinity, TQD. Consisting of three of bassline’s greatest – Royal-TDJ Q, and Flava D – the trio serve up some of the dankest wobbles you’re going to hear this far south of the ’62. mashing together grime and garage with their inimitable bassline vibes, the three are, without doubt, gonna leng it hard at Tokyo World this year. Catch them on the Sunday.

The Four Owls

Listen, mate, if your tracks are being produced by the likes of DJ Premier, then you must be doing something right. Well, The Four Owls are a contemporary UK hip-hop four-piece who have been produced by DJ Premier. Their lyrical content and delivery are genuinely something else, comparable to the likes of Aesop Rock or Mos Def, on a US tip, or Braintax and Roots Manuva if you want a comparison closer to home. It is guaranteed to go off faster than milk in the desert, so get down the front early and soak up the madness Four Owls provide on Sunday.

Ocean Wisdom

Camden rap comes to Tokyo World 2018 via Brighton, courtesy of one Ocean Wisdom. Once dubbed the fastest rapper in the UK, he certainly knows how to get his tongue around some tight lyrics, and he undoubtedly gives Skinnyman‘s stint in Foreign Beggars‘ Hold On a run for its money. If you want to hear tracks like Ocean‘s High Street or Walkin’ spat faster than a gabber kick drum, then give him your support on Sunday at Tokyo World.

Shosh ft 24 Hr Garage Girls

Garage music is enjoying a huge resurgence at the moment, and who better to champion the sound than the top cat at 24 Hr Garage GirlsShosh. Festival ravers get ready, this lot will rinse you harder than 24 hours in a car wash, you only have to watch Shosh‘s Get Darker set for evidence of this. Expect plenty of skankin’ and jumpin’ about (honestly, check out the video…“…I wanna see you dancin’ like your Dad at a wedding…” and “…I said even your Nan is jumpin’ about…” are two of the best shouts we’ve ever heard from an MC). Shosh plays Tokyo World on Saturday.

Maya Jane Coles

Gaahd, it feels like aaaages since we mentioned any house or techno! Well, we’re about to, because we highly recommend going to catch Maya Jane Coles in full effect. Playing on the Saturday, Coles will undoubtedly enchant her audience as she takes them on a journey down the winding paths that her sets offer. With plenty of releases under her belt, as Maya Jane Coles, as well as her Nocturnal Sunshine alias and as one half of She is DangerMaya has plenty to offer the electronic music aficionado.

Foreign Beggars

Since this writer first heard Foreign Beggars‘ Asylum Speakers way back in 2003, the hip-hop/dubstep crossover posse have been on consistent rotation through his headphones. Their 2017 album, 48, in conjunction with Monster Florence, was impressively written and recorded in just two days, alongside a swathe of underground collaborators, so that should give you an idea of what these guys are capable of. Catch them on Sunday at the festival.


Don’t expect any holding back from this bashfully-named MC, because 2SHY goes in and he goes in hard. His lyrical flow comes highly regarded, and for good reason, because he’s collaborated with some of the most prominent artists on the dnb scene, including Technical ItchDJ Stealth, and Andy C. Intelligent rhyming comes first and foremost with 2SHY, so if you like your MCing on a cerebral vibe, then get over a see him on Sunday at Tokyo World.


Canadian-born Heidi rounds up our ten artists to watch at Tokyo World 2018. Her career has spanned in excess of a decade, through which she has worked with some top tags in the business, including M.A.N.D.Y and Riton. The DJ and producer runs regular Jackathon events, which always come with a ‘risk of serious explosion’ warning given the energy produced by her sets. You can catch her at Tokyo World on the Sunday.


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