Review: Aitch @ SWG3

Credit: Aitch

Max Kelly
Deputy Culture Editor – Travel

The 19-year-old MC “makes it shake” at Glasgow’s iconic SWG3 Warehouse.

Last month Aitch took over the iTunes charts. Though you may not have heard of him, his single Taste (Make it Shake) toppled Shawn Mendes and Camilla Cabello as the Manchester-born rapper soared to number one. Aitch’s growing popularity is far from a one-off; he is here to stay. The name Aitch comes from his first initial – his real name being Harrison Armstrong. The 19-year-old has had a prolific summer of success; the release of Taste (Make It Shake) followed the releases of Wait and Trust Me garnered a combined 5 million views on Youtube in under a year. Armstrong had previously blown up with his three features with Young T + Bugsy, Bugzy Malone, and Russ + Tion Wayne – all of which reached the Top 40 – with Strike a Pose (with Young T + Bugsy) peaking at number 19.

Whether he is your cup of tea or not, there is no doubting Aitch’s lyrical ability. The Northern MC is certainly one of the hottest in the scene – his ability to make a crowd jump is testament to his hard work. Throughout AitcH20, his latest album, the 19-year-old’s versatility is displayed. He mixes cheeky and vulgar lyrics with sharp wit and grit. Total Entertainment has described him as the “total exciting artist prospect of the year”. He has his fair share of critics, but it’s hard to deny that Aitch makes lively and memorable hits, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. Indeed, Aitch also featured on the Sir Spyro remix of Stormzy and Ed Sheeran’s Take Me Back To London, which currently has over 25 million views on Youtube. 

The past year’s success has increased the demand for the Mancunian MC. This demand led to a month of touring the UK throughout September, stopping at Glasgow’s SWG3. He was supported by close friend ZieZie who features on the sixth track of AitcH20 – Buss Down, with every mention of Aitch being met with deafening screams. 

He did not disappoint, mixing the new songs from Aitch20 with more “old-school” tunes that he said “only the true Aitch fans will know.” The consistently engaging narrative that he created throughout the set has been criticised and seen as “tasteless”. In addition to this, tracks such as Taste (Make It Shake) and Buss Down have been accused of endorsing typical sexual objectification. However, as Tom Moorcroft of the Courier argues, “if you focus less on the female-orientated narratives, and instead focus on the way in which he expresses his narrative, both lyrically and instrumentally, then you’ll heavily enjoy this.” The narrative he created was indeed consistent, if not at times a little repetitive. However, his fast wit and clever word-play saved the songs from tedium. The narrative does also diverge into more personal struggles that Aitch has experienced. In 2G’s, he casts his mind back to when he “had a tenner” in his pocket and reflects to his audience how far he has come. While Weekday and Aeroplane Mode have a much more relaxed vibe to them, the latter explores a more difficult, personal and closed-off side to the 19-year old. Overall, the crowd was enamoured by his performance and I left the gig with utmost respect for the guy. With his popularity soaring and more and more collaborations with some of the biggest names in music in the UK, it’s hard to see Aitch not being one of the biggest figures in British rap and grime for years to come.


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