REVIEW BY MICHAEL GRANT, C.E.O. OF RePPiN4U
“Let’s redo America’s infrastructure, beginning with the mirror, let’s start this summer…” KRS-One, From The Beginning Again, 2015
I had a question for KRS-One regarding this track at the q&a session earlier that day, and never got that chance. I wanted to know how he felt about the UK infrastructure… and I guess that would have been another show altogether. Prior to this, I heard the stories, that KRS hold nothing back on his shows and keeps it 100% Hip Hop. Not only did I want to find out for myself, but to see if anyone had the grapefruits to call the Teacha a ‘sellout’ because he was seemingly defending Afrika Bambaatta.
As always massive props to VJ EDoubled & Mad Flow for warming up the set. What sets them apart from other DJ/MCs is they don’t just play the dope 90s hip hop anthems, they also bring their comedic antics and wit to the turntables. Notable moments were Edoubled teasing the crowd and locking off Pharoahe Monch’s Simon Says at the precise moment, exposing the crowd’s inability to recite classic lyrics and threatening to play some Drake… even though that was met with emphatic NO’S from the crowd, (and that was women alone!) it didn’t stop Edoubled spinning a bit of George Michael with Mad Flow freestyling over it! Edoubled will play pop tunes without hesitation all for the sake of entertainment and you cannot hate on that!
Massive shout out to the Break Mission dance crew , they stepped their b-boy game up knowing the Blastmaster was in the building. Shout out to Birmingham’s own Malik of MD7 & RTKal who never disappointed with his short set and a stellar performance, particularly when he went in with ‘A Dream Within A Dream’. He probably meant that literally and figuratively sharing the same stage with one of the greatest hip hop pioneers.
How does KRS cram in a 30+ year career into a 2 hour set? The only way he knew how. Storming the set with his biggest hits – Step Into A World, MCs Act Like They Don’t Know and South Bronx respectively, taking Break Mission’s skills to the limits, then demonstrating the true art of hip hop: freestyling off the dome, here he cleverly rhymes about the crowd filming him (myself included) and not coming to just enjoy the show but puts a twist on it, encouraging the crowd to film him as he speaks about technology ruining our society.
A great moment in the show occurred when KRS went full Teacha mode with ‘American Flag’, another great chess move here, 100% of the crowd were fully in tune with the lyrics spoken in the record, but the unfortunate likelihood might be that 85% of fans may not be aware of the new album ‘Now Hear This’ of which the track is featured, unless of course they purchased the physical copy of the album on the way out.
KRS channels his Caribbean upbringing in the track ‘Invaders’, he knew given the UK’S musical diversity and his audience’ most of which in the building have already celebrated their 25th birthday – he would be able to capture the vibe.
With all the hostility against the police in recent times, it’s no wonder that when the sirens hit and it was the Sound of Da Police, the roof blew off the Birmingham Institute… KRS closes his epic two-hour set by and dropped a freestyle off the dome uplifting not only his black people but also his white people as well, and it ended with him not even speaking in the mic and declaring himself a ‘just turned 50 year old.’
PRESS: Why don’t you have bodyguards, you know, like the other guys do?
GHOSTFACE KILLAH: Because I don’t need them muthaf***as. God is my Bodyguard… (The Pretty Toney Album, 2004)
Usually the performer will bow their head and say peace to the crowd, not KRS. His final words were ‘I’m coming into the crowd and taking pictures with everybody!’ Not a bodyguard or security in sight, KRS embraced the crowd in a Selfie frenzy. Yes this is the same man who earlier in the night said ‘technology is ruining our society’… he is right in one sense, because today I scroll my news feed and I see people turning their backs on KRS for his remarks on Afrika Bambaatta. But I can say this: If those same people said that on social media were in the Birmingham Institute, they were killing themselves just to get a selfie with the legend. I’ll leave you with that thought.
On This Night, KNOWLEDGE REIGNED SUPREME OVER NO-DOUBTEDLY EVERYONE.