Tink makes her official UK ‘Arrival’ at The Nest, courtesy of DJ Semtex

Photo credit: Soulz

Stepping into a room so smoky you couldn’t see two feet in front of you, The Nest in Dalston provided an interesting venue to spend a Wednesday evening of live music. Despite not being able to see for the first ten minutes and blindly making my way to the stage to the unmistakable sounds of hip hop being spun by the legendary DJ Semtex, the excitement was definitely in the air to see one of the hottest female rappers grace the stage in the UK for the first time. Courtesy of Semtex’s ‘Arrival’ series of events, we were all there for Tink.

The bass-heavy beats (and the smoke, thankfully) soon cleared to reveal a room 90% full of women; a figure that makes it clear to see that Girl Power still exists in 2015. With Charles Hamilton being announced as the show’s special guest a day or two before the event, I couldn’t help but feel that the audience weren’t going to be as appreciative of his talent as he perhaps deserves. An often contentious figure, his contribution to hip hop since the mid-2000’s has frequently been overlooked.

With most of the audience knowing him for his recent Rita Ora-assisted single ‘New York Raining’, even his biggest hit ‘Brooklyn Girls’ didn’t quite get the reaction it deserved. Despite this, Hamilton powered through, got a few hands in the air and went on to freestyle solidly straight off the dome for about 15 minutes over a selection of beats. A respectable performance.

Following Hamilton’s abrupt departure from the stage, DJ Reese returned to warm the crowd for what we had all been waiting for. However, after entering to her much-loved hit ‘Around The Clock’, no introduction was needed for Tink.

Dropping various songs from her ‘Winter’s Diary’ mixtapes, while rapping and singing her way through her short set, I couldn’t help but feel that Tink was like the ring leader of the city’s coolest girl gang. Flicking her hair and jumping around, her performance looked effortless, with the Chicago native refusing to lose one breath or bar, and only letting the crowd notice she was breaking a sweat when she calmly patted down her face with a towel between songs.

Vocally caressing the crowd with ‘Treat Me Like Somebody’ and her recently released remix of Aaliyah classic ‘One In A Million’, every person in the room was swaying with at least one hand in the air. Even her exclamation of “I know you’re from London if you shuffle” — which, admittedly, was met with a little bemusement at first, was soon collectively agreed that, if you’re from London, you indeed now shuffle.

Leaving on perhaps her biggest record to-date, Tink teased the audience as she shouted, “Do ya’ll know any ratchet people in here?”, before finally relenting and dropping ‘Ratchet Commandments’ on the crowd.

It’s hard not to like Tink — she’s been everywhere, she’s not stopping and she makes great music, and after selling out her first show in London, the resounding feeling I get is that it’s only a matter of time before everyone is converted. When it comes to good music, Think Tink.

– Parris OH