KRS One, Jazz Cafe London
Upon my arrival, there was already a rush of electricity in the air from the masses which fill the renowned Jazz Café venue. The diverse audience of men and women from all races comprise of real hip hop lovers, anticipating the arrival of one of hip hop’s greatest lyrical MC’s in history, non-other than KRS One.
As his voice boomed through the packed room, we saw a hyped and ready KRS One descend down the infamous staircase leading to the stage, only to open the show in what would be one of many freestyles of the night.
After demanding that the sound engineer ‘turn up the volume’, the amped MC would then lead his room of adoring fans into a medley of his classic hits spanning from his early beginnings in the 1980s. Roars of ‘woo, woo, sound of the police’ erupted throughout the venue, as his loyal fans recited many of his verses word for word. This would not go un noticed or unappreciated from the humble MC, who whilst performing created picture opportunities for many of his camera-wielding fans. The MC didn’t stop there. In his efforts to appease his captive audience, KRS One brought out a live artist to capture the energy of the show via an artistic portrait; as well as stopping to sign t-shirts and other memorabilia offered by his fans. Later he then went on to call upon the b-boys and girls amidst his fans to dance with him whilst he continued to rock the stage. However the ‘icing on the cake’ so to speak was added as the MC jumped into the crowd to personally interact with his fans, almost creating a wild mob in the standing area of the venue
KRS One, an acronym meaning Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone, truly lived up to his name, as he passionately expressed his feelings on many subject matters which can usually be seen as the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’. Issues such as social injustice, racism, class divide, religion and poverty were highlighted through numerous tracks, as well as spur of the moment freestyles. One subject which would remain the focal topic of the night revolved around his clear disdain for mainstream hip hop and its corporate influences, arguing their detriment to the real culture and art of hip hop. Although the MC could have suffered the fate of being deemed ‘preachy’ for addressing such subject matters; his impeccable delivery and sincere lyrics kept the crowd intrigued, whilst still keeping the energy flowing throughout the room.
After rocking the stage for nearly two solid hours, the MC treated us to an exclusive hearing of a couple tracks from his new upcoming project, in which one was centred in encouraging you to find your inspirations to succeed. To close the MC simply graciously thanked his audience for all of the love shown to him, throughout the night and his many visits to London in the past, before making his way back up the iron staircase.
This was truly a treat for all hip hop lovers, who can appreciate the raw and poetic nature of such an influential culture and art form.