KRS-One @ The Palace
For those who don’t know, KRS-One has travelled four weeks by boat to visit Australia. As imagined, the hype for his performances has been insane. Prior to his journey, I spoke to him while in the States when he explained that once he was here he would be searching far and wide for the “depth” in Australia. Simply put, he was visiting as an “anthropologist”. I appreciated his attitude, but wasn’t sure whether these were underlying good intentions that would slowly evaporate under the heat of performances, interviews and other commitments he would be bound to. Not so surprisingly, he stuck to his word and not only was this an exceptionally entertaining show, it was similarly culturally and politically relevant.
Before him was a big lineup of supporting acts. Def Wish Cast and Bias B were Australian hip hop groups; however both their performances were mediocre not including Bias B’s song about being perverts, which was just plain weird. DJ Peril spun some great tracks, focusing on old school beats and tracks to prime the audience. Soon KRS-One’s DJ (DJ Prime) stepped on stage, and so began the countdown until ‘The Teacha’ did too. With some Golden Era hip hop, the audience were dancing and bouncing to Nas, Biggie and Wu-Tang.
Keeping to his word, there was a First People tribute with a spoken word poet and accompanying didgeridoo music. With that, it was the perfect segue for KRS-One to grace the stage. With a crazy energy, he launched straight into song with his Jamaican influenced belting of lyrics. Freestyle rhyming throughout the show to talk about political issues, what he was thinking and to communicate with tech guys was just one highlight! Mid-performance he introduced an aboriginal musical and dance act, which was very unique.
True to his essence he rapped: "No jewels on my neck/ Know why? I don’t need ‘em/ I got your respect," followed by a freestyle detailing the history of hip hop, he carefully and cleverly praised hip hop greats dating from 1973 with DJ Kool Herc, across to Crazy Legs, Run DMC, LL Cool J, The Sugarhill Gang right up to ’86.
Throw in some insightful and perhaps abstract philosophical views, including the concept of two individual selfs, one of which is in the future, this was a performance not to be missed. The highlight moment was when he belted, “Get Your mind right/ You don’t have to deal with hindsight/ If you operate with foresight.”
Impressing upon the audience to never doubt themselves and to release fear, this show was a refreshing break from one-way performances. KRS-One thrived off his audience as they did him, and he even came down to sign people’s shoes, CD’s and posters. As he reminded everyone, he isn’t hip hop, the audience just allows him to be.
BY TAMARA VOGL
LOVED: His genuine love for the audience/the Aboriginal musical piece.
HATED: Aussie hip hop (sorry…)