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Last summer I was lucky enough to see two of my top three rappers of all time in Big Daddy Kane and Rakim (checked them off my bucket list) and this past weekend I was able to check off number three from my list.  KRS-One (Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone, Teacha, Blastmaster, The Temple of Hip Hop) has been in my top three since I first heard “My Philosophy.”  That is still one of my top songs of all time.  I came into this concert with high expectations because of who he is, an emcee, a teacher, a philosopher, a poet, but wondered how the 57-year-old Lawrence “Kris” Parker would perform on stage after doing this for over 35 years.  Some say he is overconfident in his skills, or arrogant, “I just produce, create, innovate on a higher level, I'll be back, but for now just seckle!” “To them I'm like an idol, some type of entity, In everybody's rhyme they wanna mention me!”  But one thing is for sure, he has been one of Hip Hops most dynamic performers and recording artists not to mention probably Hip Hops #1 advocate for educating the world on Hip Hop. 

Doors opened at 9 pm and we were entertained by a couple of DJs playing old school hip hop tracks, as the crowd grew everyone was having a good time rapping, singing and dancing to all the songs we grew up listening to, but as we got closer to midnight we were all feeling our “old” age and wanted to get this started.  This crowd was a pure old school crowd ages 45-60, even saw a woman in a scooter wheeling around but at one point just jumped off her scooter and started dancing!  As KRS-One stepped to the stage the crowd was so ready!  Music was pumpin’ through the speakers at Rams Head Live! and sounded so good, like an old block party.  He came out and started some sweet lyrics to get the crowd ready as he then flowed to 1986’s “The Bridge Is Over,” so much energy coming from Kris, the crowd feeling every word.  He then went into a fan favorite “Step Into A World (Rapture’s Delight)” and even though he was having mic and speaker issues, he just grabbed his DJs mic and went on, nothing was going to faze him.  The energy got even higher, yes yes ya’ll, you don’t stop KRS-One, ROCK ON! He then went into one of my favorites, “MC’s Act Like They Don’t Know Me,”  I love the smooth beat and flow to this song as KRS-One just smoothly flows through his lyrics; If you don’t know me by now I doubt you’ll ever know me, I never won a Grammy, I won’t win a Tony, But I’m not the only MC keepin’ it real, When I grab the mic to smash a rapper, girls go, “Ill.” 

The night and KRS-One just kept getting more lively as he went into “Outta Here,” another one of my favorites, the crowds as well.  The baseline and beat had everyone bobbin’ their heads in unison, "Down To The Sound Called BDP!"  He then had the crowd rapping along with him, starting a verse and letting the crowd finish it, everyone on each word and pumpin’ their arms in the air.  So much energy from Kris and each song he seemed to take it to another level, feeding off the crowd and the crowd feeding off him.  He went into “Criminal Minded” and the crowd loved it, rapping along the entire song.  Another one of my and the crowds favorite with that deep baseline, “I’m Still #1” was up next.  Base hitting so hard you could feel it in your chest and it felt so good.  What do you think makes up a KRS?, Concisive teaching, or very clear speaking?, Ridiculous bass, aggravating treble, Rebel, renegade, must stay paid.  He then went to “A Friend” with that melodic violin in the background and flowed right into another hit, “Love’s Gonna Get Cha (Material Love)”, and as soon as the base hit everyone went nuts. 

Could the night get any more hyped?  The energy from KRS-One and the crowd was crazy, but then he went into Black Cop and the crowd went off the hook and then taking that right into “Sound Of Da Police”, Woop-woop! That's the sound of da police! Woop-woop! That's the sound of the beast!  Crowd right there with him Woop-woop!!!  Then the music went low so Kris could do a few lines almost acapella (with some help from the crowd), Officer, Officer, Officer, Officer!  Yeah, officer from overseer, You need a little clarity?, Check the similarity!, The overseer rode around the plantation, The officer is off patrolling all the nation, The overseer could stop you what you're doing, The officer will pull you over just when he's pursuing, The overseer had the right to get ill……the music comes back up and the crowd explodes!  After going into a fan favorite, “Jake Of Spades” he flowed into one of his best known “teaching” songs, “You Must Learn.”  Energy still flowing through KRS-One and his flow and lyrics so on point.  As his time was running out, he yells out I only have a minute?, he teased us with “JIMMY” and then “Super-Hoe” before going into his 1988 song and probably biggest hit, “My Philosophy.”  For me this was so amazing to hear, one of my all-time favorite songs, he hit it so perfectly I have goosebumps as I write this thinking about it.

Let us begin, what, where, why or when
Will all be explained like instructions to a game
See I'm not insane, in fact I'm kind of rational
When I be asking you, "Who is more dramatical?"
This one or that one, the white one or the black one
Pick the punk, and I'll jump up to attack one
KRS-One is just the guy to lead a crew
Right up to your face and diss you

This show took me back, as I am sure it did for everyone else as well, to my high school and college days.  A time when I was just learning about hip hop and how amazing it is.  All these songs of his stand the test of time, so relevant, so strong, so meaningful and so amazing to this day.  And so is KRS-One.  He sounded amazing, so clear so crisp, an incredible amount of energy, you know he loves performing for us even after 35 plus years.  He’s put out 24 albums over the years and has stayed true to his course and stayed with his message.  Not many in the music industry can or will do that. This was one huge check of my bucket list, but I think he is still there because I want, no, need to see him again.  I have been to many concerts over the years, but this is right up there with the best I’ve ever seen.  Is KRS-One overconfident and arrogant?  I guess it depends on how you look at it, but if you say he is, well he can back it up 100%.

-One Love, Todd


Todd Judd

Photojournalist - Pennsylvania

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