Bubba Sparxxx, Astoria, London

Hip-hop rip-off
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The Independent Culture

There's been a lot of excitement surrounding the Georgia-based Bubba Sparxxx, aka 24-year-old Warren Mathis, not least because he has been tipped as the next Eminem. Certainly, the two rappers have things in common. They're both white and they both originate from a white-trash background; Bubba Sparxxx was also discovered by Jimmy Iovine, the same man that tipped Marshall Mathers III for the top. But there the similarities end. You see, Eminem has both charisma and talent. Going on tonight's fleeting performance, Bubba Sparxxx has neither.

For his first ever show in the UK, Sparxxx arrives looking more like a bouncer than a rap superstar, in a shiny matching tracksuit that David Icke probably wouldn't be seen dead in. With the help of a hyperactive sidekick, the rapper incoherently bellows out a couple of tracks from his debut album Dark Days, Bright Nights, but within five minutes he's off. Before disappearing, he announces he has to "go take a dump", adding defiantly, "And I ain't even gonna wipe my ass!" Nice.

To pass the time, the attendant DJ indulges in a lengthy scratching session – hip-hop's answer to the guitar solo – while his rapping cohort concentrates on revving up the crowd. Sparxxx eventually returns with his tracksuit bottoms at half- mast and wiggling his abundant, naked behind – trust me, it's not a pretty sight. Finally, he launches into his one and only hit, the jittery, Missy Elliot-sampling "Ugly". But then he's gone again and, before you can say "Where's the fire?", the lights are up and we're being herded out of the building.

If I'm honest, I was relieved. The show hadn't got off to a good start – the sound was appalling and more of Sparxxx's witless posturing would have seriously got on my nerves. But his fans, who just 10 minutes before had been screaming themselves silly, were left feeling angry and cheated. In 15 minutes, Sparxxx played three tracks – that's nearly a fiver a song.

As the lights came up a torrent of empty beer cans rained down on the stage and the crowd loudly voiced their displeasure; a scuffle even broke out as a couple of irate individuals tried to storm the stage. You could hardly blame them. Hip-hop's latest hero has turned out to be nothing more than a rip-off merchant. Bubba Sparxxx? Bubba Suxxx, more like.

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