Meet the rap collective changing the house party scene in Bristol

You know what you’re getting with the modern-day University house party: fairly consistent techno, flutters of bassline and maybe a funny-tasting house key. Although it is argued that house parties are a better option to nights out, it is undeniable that their format is becoming fairly monotonous. 


VRBL are a Bristol-based hip-hop and rap culture collective. They recently set up a house party that was much more than subdued beats and a set of strobe lights.




I got in touch with Alex Rodrigues, Managing Director at VRBL, to see what went down:

“In a city as live and popping as Bristol is, there are so many people doing the same thing we are; running events and booking quality acts, so we decided we had to do something special to really stand out from the crowd. The party was originally organised for 3 of our friends who all had their birthdays within a few days of each other; however the bigger the event got, and the more preparation we put into it, we realised we might as well make a proper thing out out of it.

The day before the event, myself and all the rest of the VRBL gang started tagging up the yard. We sprayed the VRBL logo on the walls, everyone laid down their tags, and the house well and truly looked like a crack den. We set up the garden pretty well and had a nice little cotch area with sofas and lights and the whole shabang.

Funnily enough, the landlord came round the day of the party to inspect the house, so we all well and truly thought we’d fucked it. Facing the thought of eviction, Izzy, and the rest of her housemates thought ‘fuck it’ we might as well go all out, and so we decided to keep inviting more and more people…




To cut a long story short, we had roughly 300-400 people come through the door of this small terraced uni house on Gloucester road.

We enlisted the help of our friends, and managed to get a pretty banging set up of XDJ’s, and a banging soundsystem. Throughout the night we had a plethora of MC’s hop on the mic, and even had local legends SplitProphets roll through and shell down.

Police were inevitably called, but after explaining to them that we’d gone through lots of effort to keep the neighbours sweet (providing them with ear plugs, wine and chocolate) they seemed pretty calm with it, and let the party continue.

The party itself was named by our friends Tom and Max. They went with the whole I Am Legend/Will Smith theme, and named the event I AM SESSION. With headline Dj WIll Sniff (No relation to the Sheffield MC).

I wanna give a shoutout to all the DJ’s and MC’s, including Radical, Magiiick, Gabriel Waves, and the Takeover boys.

Also shouts to WMD Collective, Patrick Morgan, Isobel Carew-Cox, Max Swann, Gus Twidale, Toby Whateley, Big Mac, Toby Seah, Bil Next, Rory Marsh, the guys who stole the speakers and then returned them when they sobered up, and the neighbours who are trying to sell their house, whilst their living next to a shithole crackhouse.”




The house party is a precious creature which can no doubt evolve into something that doesn’t simply emulate a club night. MCs coming up to the decks to spit gives the atmosphere a lift; the scene is an interactive one, and there is definitely a gap in the market.

Here is a recent cypher from two of the VRBL crew on their Facebook page:


Link to VRBL’s next event on 1st December in Bristol:

words by Will McCartney


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