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10 reasons to get excited for 1Xtra Live 2018

By Al Horner, 16 August 2018

Taking place at London's O2 Arena on 22 September and with a line-up that boasts Chance The Rapper, Pusha T, Jorja Smith and many more, 1Xtra Live 2018 isn't to be missed.

MIST, Chip, Mr Eazi and summer breakout success Ella Mai are among the other big names set grace our annual celebration of the best in hip-hop, R&B and everything in between.

Stefflon Don and Kojo Funds have just been added to the line-up. Following on from last year's outing, which saw J Hus, Travis Scott and Big Shaq bring Manchester to a frenzy, it’s already looking like 2018 will be another show-stopping year for 1Xtra Live.

Here are the biggest reasons to get excited for this year’s bash...

1. 1Xtra Live is where megastars are made

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Stormzy, Rita Ora, Dizzee Rascal: there’s a long list of artists whose appearances at 1Xtra Live have cemented their reputations as titans of grime, pop and hip-hop. Having picked up the Best New Artist Grammy last year, Chance’s 1Xtra Live headline appearance looks to begin a new chapter for the Chicago rapper, with the star set to reach even greater heights. You wouldn't want to miss that, would you?

2. Chance The Rapper could have new songs to play...

Charlie Sloth talks to 1Xtra Live headliner Chance the Rapper!

Chance catches up with Charlie about headlining on his return to London!

Let’s face it, between his two seismic mixtapes, Coloring Book and Acid Rap, Chance has more than enough soulful, sun-splashed gospel-rap bangers to fill a headline set. That doesn’t make the thought of him bringing some new material to 1Xtra Live any less exciting though.

"I haven't played London in a minute, and I got, I would say quite a few fans out there, so I'm ready to get back," Chance told Charlie Sloth, "It's a blessing. I'm very excited to be at the O2. Let's turn it into the O4!"

A new album produced by Kanye West is officially in the works, and - who knows - may have even dropped by September. At the very least we should see outings for one or two of the FOUR(!) new tracks he surprise released next month. Get Work Out on that set list please, Chano.

3. It’s an opportunity to see Jorja Smith on a stage where she belongs

"Expect some magic" - Jorja Smith can't wait to play 1Xtra Live

Ace catches up with the very sought after Jorja Smith to chat all things 1Xtra Live.

Lost and Found, the Mercury Prize-nominated debut album from the UK’s new neo-soul master Jorja Smith announced her place as a heartbreaking vocal talent capable of both Adele-level ballad emotion and garage-tinted slinks.

Could she soon be elevated to arena-conquering status just like Adele? Our guess is that she’ll be packing out massive venues like the O2 Arena on her own very soon, so get a first glimpse of the superstar-in-waiting.

We’re not the only ones excited though. Jorja herself recently told 1Xtra: "I used to listen to it on the radio but I've never been. This time I can go. It'll be my first one - and I’ll be on the stage!"

4. Pusha T will bring one of 2018's best records

Pusha T In The Studio

Hip Hop heavyweight Pusha T drops by the studio

One of the year’s best hip-hop albums, Pusha T's Daytona was a lot of people’s top pick from Kanye and co’s Wyoming sessions. There hasn’t been a chance for UK fans to experience the might of tracks like If You Know You Know live yet. With any luck he’ll bring hotly-tipped collaborator 070 Shake with him, whose haunting voice on Santeria is among the album’s highlights.

5. It'll be a triumphant homecoming for Ella Mai

UK R&B singer Ella Mai joins Ace for 'Everything R&B'

Ella Mai talks about working with Chris Brown and names her Top 5 female R&B singers

South London’s Ella Mai wasn’t even born the last time a UK artist topped the US R&B chart, which makes the sleeper success of her infectious anthem Boo’d Up this summer all the more impressive. Having relocated to Los Angeles recently, expect her homecoming to be one to savour.

6. There’ll be plenty more local spirit, too

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Speaking of homecomings, this year's 1Xtra Live has a couple of performers on the bill who could theoretically walk home after their sets.

Despite being born in Birmingham, new addition Stefflon Don has called London home since her teens - her rap name even references the capital city. As well as producing some of the biggest hits of the past couple of years (Hurtin' Me, Senseless), the star has also promised some new material at 1Xtra Live.

Speaking to Dotty on the 1Xtra Breakfast Show, Stefflon Don said: "The line-up is mad, I'm not going to lie. It's going to be lit."

Mr Eazi, meanwhile, also now bases himself in London when he’s not in Lagos or Accra, and will be similarly determined to show performers from further afield how it’s done in London Town.

7. MIST will provide a whole lot of energy

MIST talks to Yasmin Evans about performing at 1Xtra Live

MIST catches up with Yasmin to talk about 1Xtra Live.

When it comes to delivering razor-sharp rhymes over addictive beats, MIST never misses. The Birmingham MC will bring a touch of Midlands might to proceedings at 1Xtra Live, and perhaps even a fellow Brummie guest or two as he recreates stompers from the recent Diamonds In The Dirt EP.

"It's gonna be crazy, man," he told Yasmin Evans, "One thing you can definitely expect is a mosh pit!"

We can’t wait.

8. There will be something for everyone

"I don't want it to be awkward on stage" - Kojo Funds reveals the story behind his Moon Walk!

Kojo Funds joins Sian in the studio to share the truth about his on-stage routine.

The 1Xtra Live line-up is wonderfully diverse, but Kojo Funds’ radical experimentalism will especially provide something different on the night. If you want proof of the gloriously eclectic rude health of UK rap right now, allow us to point you in the direction of Funds, whose new single Who Am I is a blur of technicolour production and finessed flow. Expect his set to dazzle and entertain.

9. We’ll see the birth of a bright new star

Yxng Bane talks to Sian Anderson about 1Xtra Live

Yxng Bane is on the phone to talk about his first 1Xtra Live performance.

1Xtra Live always features a rising star who goes on to dominate the next year in music. In fact, gracing the stage at 1Xtra Live has become something of a rite of passage for many breaking artists who go on to become UK favourites in the 12 months that follow.

East Londoners Not3s and Stefflon Don made massive impressions last year, and we all know what happened there. This year, the likes of Yxng Bane might be wondering if the event could be a stepping stone towards even more glory.

Yxng told Sian Anderson he's as thrilled about the line-up as we are: "I'm excited to see Jorja live. I'm excited to see Chance the Rapper. Obviously even to see Chip as well, I think it'll be my first time seeing him live. I'm excited to see everyone! It's gonna be lit, man!"

10. There’s bound to be some surprises…

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French Montana made an unbilled cameo last year. The year before that? Professor Green. 1Xtra Live traditionally has a surprise up its sleeve. Who knows if there’ll be another at 2018’s event?

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