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12 October 2010

Review: KRS ONE @ The HMV Forum, Kentish Town

Check my review for the recent gig hip hop pioneer played in North London which was featured on MTV's Urban Music Blog, The Wrap Up which I regularly contribute to...

Saturday night saw one of the biggest legends in the history of hip-hop music play for a crowd that ranged from present day hip-hop fundamentalists, to middle aged nine-to-fivers reminiscing on their teenage years. The mighty KRS-One filled out the HMV Forum in Kentish Town to a rapturous reception that few could receive and many would aspire to...

Looking charged up as ever, the 45-year-old self-proclaimed ‘teacher’ performed a lion’s share of hits from his 26-year career that certainly proved that he, if anyone, deserved the title ‘pioneer’. Having performed his classics like ‘Bridge Is over’, ‘Sound Of The Police’ and ‘MCs Act Like They Don’t Know’ countless times, I wouldn’t be surprised if KRS utilised his worldwide audiences as a source of inspiration for himself. This might sounds odd, but contrasting the demographics and crowd responses from a London performance to that of an Athens performance (for example) could provide him with a form of market research, allowing him to perfect his stage show and keep the bookings coming until his arthritis prevents him from pumping his fist in the air while the crowd chant, ‘Hip-hop! Hip-hop!’
With this being a KRS-One gig, I didn’t expect just a recital of songs and the odd inter-track rambling about whatever was bugging him the most that week. No sir. Along with hype man and former world-champion freestyler Supernatural, he conducted an interview in the form of rap which could only be done as professionally as it was by someone with such a prolific history and proficiency. He also got crowd members up to hold a break dance session which seemed somewhat pointless albeit mildly entertaining. One of the better segments was an impressions style dedication song; rapping the in the style of Biggie, Slick Rick and Busta Rhymes, who he obviously rates amongst the greatest ever. Who doesn’t?
He also provided the crowd with a souvenir to remember this experience by, in the form of a torrent of tennis balls thrown out into the crowd. The tennis balls themself had no real value, especially compared to normal concert giveaways like a t-shirt or CD, but he made it clear that it was more a symbolic souvenir of the event than a gift that you should actually make use of! The biggest flaw of this idea was that they all got thrown toward the middle and back of the crowd ,as opposed to the front where (I can only assume) the most loyal fans had gathered!
Other sections of the show that stood out included his year-by-year portrayal of hip-hop’s formative decade, breaking down who did what for hip-hop in the 1970s. This reminded me of his album track entitled ‘Down The Charts’, which is a must listen for anyone that wants to hear a track with a format so unique and accurate that it contributed to KRS being placed in my ‘Top 5 Dead Or Alive’ list.

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