- Beyond Average
- DJ 2Kind
It’s a quiet night in Baltic Triangle, but there’s still room for 24 Kitchen Street to embrace hip hop legend KRS-ONE, appearing on his The World Is Mind tour. KRS-One is one of the most respected figures in hip hop, one of the original pioneers of the musical culture within the hip hop movement of The Bronx. Once predominately known as a member of the group Boogie Down Productions, there became a vacant space for KRS-One as a solo artist, amassing over 13 albums under his belt to date. His new album The World Is MIND is a boom bap rap throwback, including a track called Fuck This, recorded in Liverpool’s own GoPlayStudio’s with Kofi and featuring a verse from one Liverpool’s own rappers KOD (now known as Niggy Raw).
Pushed back from last November, KRS-One’s arrival in Liverpool has been hugely anticipated by eager Scouse fans and upon stepping in, you can feel it. Instantly I am embraced by masterfully mixed set from Liverpool’s urban music advocate DJ 2KIND (L100), channelling the crowd’s needs and providing tracks from hip hop greats. In the short time prior to the supporting act arriving on stage, DJ 2Kind played classic hip hop tracks by MF Doom, A Tribe Called Quest and Wu-Tang Clan that massively pleases the Scouse fans.
Liverpool’s own a grassroots Scouse rap duo BEYOND AVERAGE, consisting of Jeopardy and Big-O, bring finesse in production and lyricism. The audience is seduced by the raw energy of popular new releases The Mullah, The Re Up and No Comment. Finishing up with Be Like You – a trappy beat featuring up and coming rapper Jono – the entire set allows us to catch the talent in the flesh rather than just on Spotify. DJ 2Kind holds it down with Pharcyde’s Drop while we sing along and chat, queueing for our drinks, awaiting the grand reveal.
Suddenly, with no warning and bursting onto the stage, is KRS-One. Enthusiastic in his entrance, but the crowd is oblivious, he returns to the exit, announcing that he’ll give this one more attempt. This time he bounces out on to the stage receiving loud cheers of appreciation. His attire is a simple black tracksuit with contrasting clean white Air Max, a black cap covering his dreads. The performance kicks off with the rumbling of bass notes and crunching samples. In come the old school DJ scratches over the grungy and grimy boom bap beats. His first vocal note booms down through the mic and out the speakers, “This is the sound of the city,” he announces, like an old school preacher. “Real hip hop is over here,” he states like an invocation of the true spirit of hip hop to a church of loyal followers.
We cool off as a low beat kicks in and he starts recites a thoughtful spoken word scripture, then the beat kicks back in and we give out the cheers. His poetry helps us visualise back on yesterday and the potential that our future holds: “The world is mind,” he tells us. Next thing, the beat spins back and with a swift click, it’s a sing-along. “WOOP WOOP that’s the sound of the police!” It kicks off a riot. To follow, 9mm drops with such an aggression it feels like the room is going to blow up, and the source is a cooking pot of hip hop front and centre on stage. Some trouble with the sound engineering means that KRS’s microphone drops in and out, but it really doesn’t matter too much; everyone knows the lyrics anyway.
One microphone switch later, we can finally hear him, although it’s clear that the 50 years young artist doesn’t miss a bar – even when inaudible. Over beats that he credits to being “the original sound” he consciously and openly speaks of his conspiracies concerning Mexican culture under the affairs of Donald trump. KRS shouts at the sound guy to turn this music up higher and higher, really wants us to feel the “healing music”. It feels like I’m in a lecture from a wise oak tree.
The fact that KRS has been performing since the 80s means it’s no surprise that he decides to take us through a journey, spanning over three decades. He even shows off his complex rapping skills by spitting over classical music. Overall the beat production holds a range of styles, all appealing to the crowd of hardcore fans. It seems that KRS will forever deliver the rawest of live hip hop performances. Liverpool should always remember them.