1Xtra Live Throwback

From AJ Tracey to Wizkid – via the likes of Stormzy and Kendrick Lamar – one thing is for sure 1Xtra Live has been nothing short of epic over the years!

1Xtra Live 2020 takes place on Saturday 17th October and we’ve pulled it out of the bag when it comes to the line-up. But before we get into that, let’s take a moment to acknowledge that 1Xtra Live is in its 11th year! 11 years of wicked sets from some of your favourite artists.

We take a look back on some of the 1Xtra Lives of yesteryear…


2008: Craig David

Hard to believe that British legend, Craig David has been in the game for over 20 years and he headlined the first 1Xtra Live back in 2008 in Coventry –Rewind or what?!

Bagging No.1's with Fill Me In and 7 Days (to name a couple) Craig David has been pivotal in changing the landscape of Black British music. Give the guy his flowers!

2008: Craig David
2008: Craig David

2009: Dizzee Rascal

His mum calls him Dylan (or does she still?) but we know him as the Grime don Dizzee Rascal. A bit bonkers, but definitely free! In 2009, all roads led to Sheffield Arena where he sent the crowd into a tizz with his set.

One of the founding fathers of Grime, his debut album, ‘Boy In Da Corner’ (which celebrated its 15thanniversary in 2008) was one of the seminal albums that set the tone for the unapologetically British genre.

2009: Dizzee Rascal
2009: Dizzee Rascal

2010: Labrinth

If we told you that a lad from London’s Stoke Newington would go on to win an Emmy award for his music scores would you believe us? Well that’s exactly what the one they call Labrinth has done.

From producing bangers for the likes of Tinie Tempah, The WeekndProfessor GreenEmeli SandeDevlinPlan BSigma; you name them, Labrinth has worked with them since making his debut in the singles chart back in 2K10. He has since gone on to do big things and in 2018 created a supergroup LSD with DJ Diplo, singer-songwriter Sia.


Labrinth chats to Sarah Jane Crawford and Trevor Nelson

2011: J. Cole

2011 was a busy year for J. Cole. He kicked off proceedings by supporting none other than Drizzy on the Light Dreams and Nightmares Tour, produced Kendrick Lamar's HiiiPoWeR, opened for Rihanna's Loud tour, released Cole World: The Sideline Story and performed at 1Xtra Live. We're worn out just listing it all, TBH.

Post-1Xtra Live, J. Cole's star continued to rise. A Grammy nomination for Best New Artist (he missed out to Bon Iver), a collaborative album with Kendrick Lamar , four albums, countless BET Awards nominations and a Billboard Music Awards gong. Oh and did we mention he was the first act signed to JAY-Z's Roc Nation in 2009? Casual.


J Cole: 1Xtra Live 2011 performance highlights

2012: Rita Ora

Let's take a moment to appreciate the line up of 2012: Kendrick LamarAlicia KeysTrey SongzPlan B and Miguel (to name a few). Among them was an up-and-coming Rita Ora...

In May of 2012, Rita Ora was in the process of releasing R.I.P., her debut single featuring Tinie Tempah. Fast forward five years and the Brit singer was a household name, despite not having yet released a second album. What's her secret? Well it looks a little something like this...

Having conquered the music world (four UK No.1's), the fashion world (you'll find her front row at the major fashion shows and on the covers of basically every publication going), the television world (remember her stint as a judge alongside Grimmy on The X Factor?) and the movie world (Fifty Shades of Grey, we're looking at you), Rita's proved that she's somewhat of a tastemaker and doesn't look like she'll be slowing down anytime soon. 

2012: Rita Ora
2012: Rita Ora

2013: Rudimental (featuring Ella Eyre and Anne-Marie)

They scored their first No.1 with John Newman in 2012 and then returned to headline 1Xtra Live a year later (they also performed in 2012), but bigger things were on the horizon for Rudimental...

Another UK No.1 single, tracks featuring the likes of Ed SheeranJames ArthurElla EyreAngel Haze and MNEK, a BRIT award for Best British Single and two albums, with a third in the works. Not too shabby, guys. Not too shabby at all.

Rudimental (featuring Ella Eyre and Anne-Marie) - 1Xtra Live 2013
  • 2014: Mary J. BligeWe don't think you're ready for this line up: Rick Ross, Mary J. Blige, Krept & Konan, Lethal Bizzle, Fuse ODG, Sigma, Jess Glynne, Boy Better Know and, of course, Mary J. Blige. Yup, 2014 was an epic year as far as big names go and Mary J. Blige was no exception. The Queen of Hip Hop Soul graced the 1Xtra stage and kind of, sort of, definitely floored us all. Magical Mary strikes again.
BBC Radio 1Xtra 2014 presents: I Am Birmingham

2015: Stormzy

We could explain the lituation that ensued when Stormzy, ahem, stormed the stage but why paint a picture with words when you can just watch the highlights...

Highlights of Stormzy's set at 1Xtra Live 2015

Now that you're fully briefed on Stormzy circa 2K15, let's chat 2K17. Gang Signs & Prayers dropped on the 24th February and reached No.1 on the UK albums charts by March 3rd, quite literally breaking records in the process; racking up 20,000+ streaming sales in one week, booting Bieber off the top spot (Purpose racked up 18,000+ in its first week).

He's garnered critical acclaim from every corner of the universe (or, at least, it seems that way), had JAY-Z watch his set at V Festival, won a BET award, a GQ award, two MOBO awards and seen two of his singles go platinum (Shut Up and Big For Your Boots); all of this in under a year. Oh, and he's still our favourite person on Twitter. Just saying.

2016: Lady Leshurr

It’s fair to say that 1Xtra Live 2016 highlighted the best of the Brits as some of 1Xtra’s favourite artists from across the country came and shelled down the stage at Liverpool’s Echo Arena. From Manchester’s Bugzy Malone, Birmingham’s Queen Lady Leshurr to Criag David and not to menton London’s Landlord Giggs, North London legend Wretch 32 and icon in the making Stormzy. Internationally, Jamaica’s Sean Paul brought the fire as per usual.

Lady Leshurr

2017: Bugzy Malone

In 2017 all roads led to Manchester Arena, where king of Mani, Bugzy Malone reminded us that we was in His house! As well as the 0161 King, 2017’s 1Xtra Live also featured the UK Queen of Rap Stefflon Don, J Hus, UK Funky maestro, Donae’o, Not3s and from the States we had Trap Soul singer Bryson Tiller and rappers French Montana and Travis Scott.

Bugzy Malone

2018: Jorja Smith

1Xtra live 2018 saw us return to the big smoke, The 02 London. Truly an international affair, we had the likes of Ella Mai and Jorja Smith repping for the British soul fans, while the USA came strong with Chicago’s Chance the Rapper and veteran rapper Pusha T while Mr Eazi and Kojo Funds represented for the continent of Africa and UK dons included Chip, Mist, Yxng Bane and last but by no means least, Miss Stefflon Don.

Jorja Smith

2019: AJ Tracey

2019 saw us in Birmingham where Midlands native Lady Leshurr shelled down, whilst we welcomed Manchester MC Aitch to the 1Xtra Live stage for the first time. Another UK rap Queen Ms Banks graced the stage, as did DaniLeigh. Also in the house was W10’s finest AJ Tracey, home-grown Brummie JayKae, dancehall prince Stylo G and not to mention Headie One, Miraa May and Lotto Boyz.

A Tracey

What will 2020 bring? Stay locked in to find out!

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