From Stormzy to Mary J. Blige and beyond: epic acts who’ve taken to the 1Xtra Live stage
2008: Craig David
Craig David has covered a lot of ground since he transformed our vision of the working week (drinks on Tuesday, yeah?) and way back in 2000 part of his journey included a pit-stop to Coventry for the first ever Radio 1Xtra Live.
Bagging No.1's with Fill Me In and 7 Days, CD has had an impressive 13 top 10's and spent 133 weeks in the top 40. Yep, you read that right: 133 weeks. Over two years, people. TWO YEARS.
2009: Dizzee Rascal
Some people think he's bonkers but he just thinks he's free. Turns out he's just living his life (who knew!) and Dizzee Rascal was well on his way to living his best life nearly a decade ago when he sent the crowd, well, bonkers during 1Xtra Live.
Since then Dylan Kwabena Mills (his real name, FYI) has released his third, fourth, fifth and sixth album, collaborating with the likes of Calvin Harris and Armand Van Helden, toured the country for his RASKIT tour, covered NME, headlined Tinie Tempah's Disturbing Ibiza aaaaand, well, you get the gist. He's everywhere, just how we like it.
Tinie Tempah, The Weeknd, Professor Green, Emeli Sande, Devlin, Plan B, Sigma; you name them, Labrinth has worked with them since making his debut in the singles chart back in 2K10. Name-dropping aside, Labrinth is, in a roundabout way, the source of Adele's sorrow for when she needs to turn on the waterworks. Case in point: when filming the Hello music video, Adele listened to Jealous.
"The minute that piano starts, I’m like -" *cue crying and wailing* "- snot going everywhere," Adele told i-D. "I can’t cope with that song. You could play it at my kid’s birthday and I’d burst into tears.”
A UK No.1 is great and everything but that's pretty sweet too, non?
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 continues to rise. A Grammy nomination for Best New Artist (he missed out to Bon Iver), a collaborative album with Kendrick Lamar in the works (feel free to drop it anytime, guys), 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.
2012: 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 is a household name, despite not having yet released a second album (it's coming, people!). 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. Next up: world domination.
Another UK No.1 single, tracks featuring the likes of Ed Sheeran, James Arthur, Ella Eyre, Angel 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.
2014: Mary J. Blige
We 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.
Yep, The Queen of Hip Hop Soul graced the 1Xtra stage and kind of, sort of, definitely floored us all. Magical Mary strikes again.
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...
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: J Hus
Talking of achieving a lot in a short time, let's discuss J Hus.
He blew the roof off the arena in Liverpool during 2016's 1Xtra Live, dropped arguably the biggest track of the summer (don't act like you didn't hear Did You See blaring from every car, all summer long), followed by the second biggest track of the summer (we're talking 'bout you, Spirit), earned himself a Mercury Prize nomination for his shortlisted album Common Sense, along with endless MOBO nominations aaaaand was back on the 1Xtra Live stage for 2017.
Don't believe the hype? Check out the highlights here and see what went down last year...