The latter part of 2022 involved record high temperatures, furnace hot nights and train strikes, but none of those factors were an obstacle for a second Block Report live show taking place, brought to us by Mr. Block Report himself, who most know by the alias Flashy Sillah. Fast forward to February this year, and creatives that attended the previous exhibits, would have realised they were simply the pilot episodes leading up to another culturally powered night at Peckham Rye, which witnessed the continuation of what the creator has in store for us this season. To date, notable guest performances include the likes of Youngs Teflon, Tiny Boost as well as thriving performers who’ve soaked in the spotlight, among them being the winner Shakes, J10, JM7, Velkaz and Mosey.
Show number two witnessed how Shakes shook the venue in a refined manner, beyond what you would expect for an artist his age; this set the precedent for the kind of talent Sillah would be on the hunt for in preparation for show number of three. Commentated a success by numerous members across the scene in attendance, this explosive re-up like its predecessors fell nothing short of them.
A fresh line up of underground acts that included Elt Cheekz, AE, EmanfromDaA2, Kzee and OVE (Riskey), came to dominate the stage, following the Block’s first live Cypher that had served as pre-game for the evening. Each individual who made their presence known didn’t fail to immerse themselves in their performance, but there could only be one winner. The prize in question? An exclusive instrumental from acclaimed producer M1onTheBeat, alongside a music video upload to Mixtape Madness on the house, to push their next single. When making the announcement, Sillah adopted the style of 8 Mile’s underground rap battle host, ‘Future’, as he called out to the spectators; using noise levels as an indicator for the one who should be crowned victor.This time it was ELT Cheekz securing that much deserved, champion spot – with the artist’s performance of Estates being a notable number from his set list.
In the words of Sillah himself, “My goal with the live shows is to showcase undiscovered talent as well as ease the pressures of artists having to pay for a video upload onto a major platform. I wanted to do something I could provide for them.” Given that the shows are self-promoted by the man of the hour, the turnouts are indeed commendable. What’s important to recognise here with the Block Report and alike mediums, is that they have utilised a platform built on their own identity and attracted a core audience – an authentic one – which resonates with the values their character portrays. The open mics so far, have served as a means for Sillah to actively unite those who create their art – rap, synths etc. – with those who consume art – the tastemakers. This alone highlights a significance, but let’s bring it back to the basics of how everything begun. A boy, a bench, a block, and his takes on music that blossomed into the show it is today. Respected by other creatives. Honoured by notable individuals who have stepped through to make an appearance, including characters in alignment with the Block Report’s purpose. Early episode footage pictures a legend in the making suited up with some ripped denims, cap, reflective tech jacket and a stack of paper sitting comfortably between his silver kicks. He’s then interrupted mid shoot to be questioned by a passing resident about what was taking place, to which he responds,
“This is my new music show… with my hot takes of the week, my hot topics,”
At this point filming had taken place for a length of three to four weeks, and only the boy on that bench, in front of that block – with the vision – could have anticipated that laying those foundations, would go on to create something meaningful for a wider collective of people a part of what many now refer to as, the game.Currently the Block Report is a perfect hub for curating discussions around everything there is to music: genres, upcoming artists, success stories, rivalries, and here’s what Mr. Block Report has to say regarding his creation.
The concept of the Block Report deviates away from conventional studio set-ups because it’s you, the bench, a communal residence, and the camera. What was the inspiration for such an authentic idea?
I came to form the concept of the Block Report accidentally when I started. It was covid, lockdown happened, and we couldn’t hire any studios, so I told my director “yo, let’s set up a tripod and we’ll do it on my block,” but more so the reason for doing things this way is because it’s what represents me; a young person who comes from a council estate. I realised that council estates do have a negative perception attached to them. I wanted to create something where you can do media, and come from a council estate, and represent the place you’re from without any shame. In a positive light.
Can you list the core values that you hold yourself and your platform to; how are they important to the culture?
The core values that I hold dearly to me, myself, my brand and my platform include respect. Definitely treating others the way I would want to be treated and how I do that is by involving the creatives I’m familiar with – who I have a good relationship with – by inviting them onto the platform to contribute. That could include A&R’s, bloggers, or content creators in the same space as myself. By giving these personalities the opportunity to come onto my platform, that goes onto my second core value, and that’s responsibility. Embracing the opportunities to contribute by inviting other creatives to contribute to what I’ve built myself, and helping them build it up to another level, because you can’t do everything alone. Being a servant leader is another one. That means to serve the common good. We all share common ground as creatives in music, and that is our love for U.K. rap, hip-hop, RNB, house music and what not. By doing that, you have to contribute as much as we can to take the scene to another level. Integrity is another cliche one – knowing and doing what is right. Finally, sportsmanship by bringing my best self to all competition, mainly directing that towards mainstream platforms because what I have is independent. I wanna bring my best foot forward when competing with the likes of shadeborough, the foot asylum’s and the JD’s.
When that boy who was in the early stages of filming took the bench for the first time, could he have imagined the outcome of his show today?
These are good questions you know! Could I have imagined the outcome of the show today? I dream big and don’t set limitations on anything creative that I go on to birth. When I did start the Block Report, it was more than fun because I did want to take it further, hence why I pitched it to Mixtape Madness. I had it in mind that it was always going to be proposed to a bigger platform from the first episode on the 90’s Babies Network. Could I have imagined two live shows in year though? No. That’s just my character though. I hate feeling too comfortable, and I like to push myself to a point of discomfort. To the limit. That sort of pressure takes me to another level.
If you can rewind time, what would you say to him?
What would I say to Flashy Sillah who started Block Report on 90’s Babies…I would tell him: do not fear anything that comes your way, and don’t fear your own ideas. That’s a key point I even wanna send out to content creators. Don’t fear your own ideas. If you come up with an idea that may feel a bit outlandish. Do it.There’s no limits to content. I would also tell myself from two years ago, don’t fear the possibility of taking this nationwide. Don’t fear the possibility of this being your life. It’s a thing that connects you to a lot of people, and I knew that from the first ten episodes I had, but I kind of fell back from developing a lot of the concepts I had with the block report, because I had a fear that it would fail. So, the message of “do not fear,” is definitely something I would tell myself.
In the future the Block Report will continue to solidify its place in UK popular culture, sealing a permanent stamp from this present moment in time, onwards. There’s an extreme beauty to public figures who are a part of the culture – pushing the culture – giving back to it. The numbers game should never be the main consideration when tailoring such shows or content to a specific demographic, but more about the organic chemistry generated by the recognition. As indicated by the critical acclaim of the open mics and reception of each episodic upload to date, there is clarity to the kind of potential residing in the realm of this platform, and that potential proves to be limitless.