Some of the world’s greatest music has come from Greater Manchester.
Indie. Electronic. Hip-hop. Whichever genre you explore, you’re sure to find Mancunian fingerprints in there somewhere.
Even in a category as niche as early mobile music.
Case in point: The Kersal Massive.
This infamous trio of MCs recorded a rap video in a Salford shed back in 2006 and cemented their place in history as some of the first ever viral video stars.
Sure, their music was great for a very different – and unintentional – reason. But it was still great nonetheless.
Even today, the very mention of Kersal can prompt an impression of: “Get on the bus with me daysavahhh, smoke da reefa in the cornahhh”.
In the mid-noughties, The Kersal Massive were as big as their name suggested – with their freestyle being bluetoothed between more mobiles than Akon’s “Smack That”.
The group – which consisted of Clio-driving leader C-Mac, helium-voiced bus enthusiast Lil’ Kev, and hypeman Ginger Joe (essentially Kersal Massive’s very own Flava Flav) – only ever shot one music video.
But whilst most media from the blurry-looking, scruffy-sounding world of mobile videos – which was largely populated by happy slapping and donk music – has died out, Kersal’s track lives on.
With fingers in the air and frowns on their faces, the wannabe rappers managed to squeeze lyrics about drugs, money, cars, women, public transport and a hatred for Levenshulme into their 45-second freestyle.
Kevin Powder – a presenter known for his zany schtick – actually ventured up to meet the gang on their own stomping ground several months after the video appeared, asking Kersal to perform a second rendition of the song that became synonymous with the Sony Ericsson.
The gang – by this point a little older with broken voices – generously obliged, reciting the lyrics word-for-word.
Powder is then flagged out of the estate, the video ends, and poof, Salford’s young Gs disappeared.
The popularity of their video, though, was a sign of things to come.
Little did they know it, but Kersal were the first faces of the original viral content boom – which suddenly began turning obscure figures in Britain into overnight celebrities via the magic of the internet.
One of the most successful examples was market trader Muhammad Shahid Nazir (AKA One Pound Fish Man), who earned a recording contract after being captured on camera singing about the price of seafood at Upton Park.
Still, despite the increasingly congested arena of viral stars, The Kersal Massive continued to resurface on social media from time to time. And, whenever they did, people would always ask the question: Whatever happened to those guys?
It’s been thirteen years since the gang were seen on camera together, and all signs seem to suggest their lives have taken very different paths.
The Tab claimed they’d tracked down frontman C-Mac in 2016, who didn’t appear to look back on his five minutes of fame with too much nostalgia.
He apparently told the website: “The video still does the rounds now and then, but that’s about it. I don’t get noticed about it anymore so it’s done and gone for me.
“I am not in touch with the other two lads anymore.”
C-Mac’s sidekick Kev made his own headlines in 2017. But not for the right reasons.
Local police posted an image, whom the Reddit community believed to be Lil’ Kev, online in the summer of that year, appealing for information on his whereabouts after he was suspected of gun offences.
The enigmatic Ginger Joe, fittingly, has yet to resurface.
But we like to think he’s still out there somewhere. Over in the corner. Being the main man he always was…
Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher get local musician up on stage for a surprise performance
Football legends Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher helped host the Music Feeds Live charity gig on Tuesday night, welcoming several Northern acts onto the stage, but the crowd were in for an extra treat when a musician amongst them got up on the stage for a surprise song.
The ex-pros turned pundits joined Radio 6 Music’s Chris Hawkins to present the series of fundraising performances on behalf of The Trussell Trust, with the likes of Slow Readers Club and Manc rock veterans James delighting the audience, but turns out there was also another local talent in their midst.
Between acts, the two Monday Night Football hosts asked if there was anyone in the crowd who fancies getting up on stage, to which local singer-songwriter Ewan Sim jumped at the chance.
And what tune never fails in a room of Mancunians? ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’ by Oasis, that’s what.
Speaking to The Manc after the impromptu performance, Sim — originally from Handforth down the road in Cheshire — explained how he simply couldn’t pass the opportunity up.
“I was in the crowd watching the Music Feeds Live gig for food poverty which Neville and Carragher were presenting and in between acts they asked the audience if anyone wanted to come up on stage and sing a tune, so I put my hand up and they invited me up — completely spur of the moment.”
Explaining his choice of song (as he even needed to), he said the Manchester classic “is a favourite of mine”, adding: “The crowd loved it got a decent applause and loads of people came up to me afterwards. Neville said I was ‘class’ and well done when I’d finished and Carra said on the mic that it was ‘brilliant'”
Simply lovely stuff, not to mention the whole night brought so many beloved music names together to help raise vital funds for The Trussell Trust.
The Clash Magazine and BBC Introducing spotlighted artist said he lived out a dream getting to play to sing on the O2 Apollo stage, summing up the whole experience in three simple words: “It was mega.”
Ewan is also playing a headline show at The Lodge in the one and only Deaf Institute on Saturday, 6 April if you like what you heard and fancy seeing him live for yourself. You can grab tickets HERE.
And if you’re interested in discovering other new up-and-coming artists from around Greater Manchester, you can check out more Manc music we’ve been listening to recently down below.
Featured Images — Supplied/Ewan Sim (via Instagram)
Ja Rule cancels tour with DAYS to go, after being denied entry to UK
Ja Rule has been denied entry to the UK just days before he was supposed to bring his The Sunshine Tour to the country.
The rapper has cancelled the UK leg of the tour just days before it was due to start.
He was supposed to be kicking it off in Cardiff on Friday but has pulled all shows just days before.
Ja Rule has now shared that ‘the UK won’t let him in’ due to his criminal record, The Hoot reports.
He said that he was ‘so devastated’ that he has had to cancel the tour, which he said was almost sold out.
Ja Rule also wrote that he had notified promoters of his criminal record and they’d assured his team it wouldn’t be an issue.
The Mesmerize singer wrote on X today: “I’m so devastated I can’t believe the UK won’t let me in I’ve spent a half million dollars in production of my own money to put this tour together only to be denied entry DAYS before my shows. This is not fair to me or my fans these venues are 85% sold and now I can’t come…
“The UK is one of the few European countries that restricts entry to people with criminal records.
“In general, you will likely be denied entry if you have been convicted of a crime punishable by 23 months or more under British law or served more than 12 months in prison.”
He later continued: “Gonna do something special for my UK fans since I’ll NEVER be able to come across the pond stay tuned…”
Updating fans again, Ja Rule said: “My team made it CLEAR to the promoter that I have a criminal record and can’t get in the country…The PROMOTER swore this wouldn’t be an issue The PROMOTER started selling tickets y’all love to blame the artist lol… GET YOUR REFUNDS!!!”