Professor Green, Koko, London

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The Independent Culture

From his humble beginnings as an ambitious battle MC, Professor Green has certainly come a long way.

While his hip-hop credentials are questionable, his insight into today's pseudo-pop-grime mindset is bang on the money (money being the operative word).

For an artist of his status (he's had just two top five hits so far) to pack out Koko is undeniably impressive, but the manner in which it was done is perhaps less so. This was a somewhat juvenile performance, littered with cheap samples and one-line sing-a-long pop fare. It was, though, well received by an almost embarrassingly excitable crowd.

His third song, "Just Be Good to Green", was greeted rapturously. And the appearance of a rather pregnant Lily Allen naturally added to the appeal of Green's reworking of The SOS Band's 1983 hit.

While the fervent crowd may well disagree, it's hard to subscribe to Professor Green's MC credentials. He is without doubt an MC in the sense of Mic Controller – but one suspects he's no longer the feasible hip-hopper he'd like to be. A medley of covers interrupted a reasonable set (all trimmed to about three lines a piece due to royalty payments – and, I suspect, his limitations).

Announcing the advent of a "real sing-a-long" was unnecessary given the reception of the earlier content, but Travie McCoy's "Billionaire" was warmly received.

To his credit, and entirely against expectations, he came straight back with a blast from his past in the form of grimey adolescent tribute "Upper Clapton Dance" – a rare glimpse of his history and struggle to make it as a widely successful artist.

The set ended with more deafening applause. It's difficult to deny that Green produced an exceptionally crowd-pleasing performance. How difficult that was is probably irrelevant – but the chances are he won't be earning any awards for his "outstanding contribution to music" any time soon.

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