Lots of content going up this week, starting with the Blast Master himself, KRS-One, crushing a sold out show this past Friday in lil ole’ Portland, Maine.
[Special Note: All credit to rapper/promoter Ben Shorr for the years he’s spent cultivating a hip-hop community in Portland and developing the innovative Hip-Hops concert series — without either of which KRS-One wasn’t likely to make the trek north.]
There was a lot of talent on stage at Hip-Hops 10 leading up to KRS-One’s headline set. New Fame was a revelation; a new discovery for me. Their mix of heavy beats, rapid-fire rhymes, and lead vocalist Adrienne Mack-Davis’s soulful voice when she kicked into a sung lyric line got everybody jumping and moving with them. Fun to watch the crowd inch closer to the stage with every track.
And, The Perceptionists brought it. Mr. Lif and Akrobatik have crazy chemistry together — even after 12 years spent doing solo projects in between their last record and their 2017 record Resolution — and, lyrically, they brought straight fire. As the world goes to fucking shit, they go harder and smarter.
But, the headliner stepped up and didn’t disappoint. KRS-One has been doing this for almost — *ahem* — 40 years and he came out firing like it was his first show. He pounced on stage, intoned “Strictly classics” into the mic, launched into Step Into a World, and then was off — ripping into beats that sounded both iconic and fresh as the day he first dropped them. He still has that snarling edge, pushing back against fake MCs and “media schemes” and demanding respect owed to an originator who is keeping the flame lit for the origins of hip-hop culture.
A professional at work and a legend still teaching.