Wireless. Undoubtedly the UK’s finest hip-hop/RnB music festival. Last year’s iteration saw J. Cole, Stormzy and Drake at the top of the line-up, but who will it be this year? Here’s ten names us at Viberant reckon are a good shout for Wireless 2019’s headline slots.
Bit of a no-brainer this one. Cardi B has, in the space of 18 months, become the biggest female rapper on Earth, selling millions of copies and gaining critical acclaim from her debut album Invasion Of Privacy. She would be a logical and obvious choice to headline Wireless given her huge fanbase, this would be her next step in breaking down the barriers faced with women in hip-hop.
Boy Better Know
Wireless is booked in a very proud fashion, donning huge hip-hop inspiration and celebrating not only worldwide success, but homegrown talent too. With that in mind, who better to give a headline slot to than Boy Better Know? When a London based rap collective with names like Skepta, JME & Wiley are around, why would a London based rap festival not want them topping the bill?
For me, this one is nailed on to happen. Travis Scott’s stock has shot up to monumental levels over the past year; mainly thanks to his number one single SICKO MODE and his subsequent chart topper album ASTROWORLD. He is a global star ready for the big stage, and with a UK Astroworld tour surely around the corner, could Wireless be his crowning headline slot for 2019? If so, expect guests and energy; lots and lots of energy.
Gods of Rap
Last week, hip-hop heads all over the world stood to attention as Public Enemy, De La Soul and the Wu-Tang Clan announced they would be setting off on a collaborative tour to celebrate each of their most iconic albums’ anniversaries. They’re doing dates in London, Manchester and Glasgow but this could be the biggest buzz event of them all. Just imagine Raekwon and Ghostface Killah doing Protect Ya Neck, or Flavor Flav bouncing round to Fight The Power, or Posdnuos, Trugoy and Maseo bringing the energy on The Magic Number.
Kids See Ghosts
When Kanye West & Kid Cudi took to the stage at Camp Flog Gnaw this year, they brought their emotional but colourful breakthrough world to life; bouncing around in a suspended glass box to classic anthems and their self-titled collaborative album. There are questions about when they could next take to the stage together again, with many speculating that a UK Festival date wouldn’t be out of reach. Could Wireless be the one to step up and offer Ye & Cudi the chance to dazzle?
Rap’s Virgin Mary. Lauryn Hill is a legend of the game, her work with Fugees was timeless, her solo Miseducation of… album was a classic; her name is still as relevant as it was back then, so why not? I genuinely believe she could draw a massive crowd and put on a show to remember, simply for the brilliance of her back catalogue and the legacy her music possesses. It’s a longshot, but not completely unimaginable.
Hip-hop supergroups are a big topic in the genre right now, as you can tell with this list; but not many come bigger than the world’s most infamous power couple. Beyoncé and Jay-Z have been at the media forefront for years now, but their On The Run 2 tour as well as the birthing of the duo’s album together EVERYTHING IS LOVE means they could be the perfect sprinkle of fame that Wireless needs this year. Drake did it last year so how do you get much bigger than that? Queen Bey and HOV obviously…
This would be a really great booking decision in my opinion. While A$AP Rocky has perhaps fallen behind some of the major frontrunners in the genre these days, there is no denying his presence in the industry. He is an absolute star, capable of dropping banger after banger; just look at Praise The Lord (Da Shine) and A$AP Forever from his last album. Add those to his already impressive catalogue of hits and you have got yourself quite the headline set.
Certainly now a veteran who has perhaps seen the glory years of his time as a rapper sail past him, there is still no denying Eminem’s credentials to not only rhyme but to draw a large audience. His surprise 2018 drop Kamikaze garnered massive attention and could be the perfect excuse to book Marshall Mathers as a Wireless headliner. Just the mere mention of Eminem’s name sparks debate, and being able to book him would be a huge coup for the festival.
British grime hero Giggs had a very quiet 2018 after the craziness of 2017, blossoming across the world thanks to collaborating with Drake and gaining plenty of airtime in the process. It is more than likely he will return with more music this year and having never headlined Wireless before, this could be the Landlord’s chance to truly announce himself as one of the world’s best. Expect some guest appearances and plenty of crowd interaction for his biggest hits (Talking Da Hardest and Lock Doh will go off) if he were to get the nod.
Other names likely to appear
There will be a plethora of hip-hop names on the card for Wireless this year, some which could even entice audiences more than headliners. Expect the likes of Dave, AJ Tracey and Stefflon Don to represent the UK talent at the fest, while the draw of big names from across the pond will also be tempting. You’d imagine there is space for names such as Sheck Wes, Brockhampton, Anderson .Paak and Denzel Curry amongst others. For hip-hop purists, this is about as good and exciting as festivals get in this country.