What's up? I've been away for like a minute-more like two months. I was knocked out of commission for a while taking care of some business. And damn, did I miss a lot of music this summer. Like Rock the Bells and the Brooklyn Hip-Hop festival. As well as Rock the Bells and the Brooklyn Hip-Hop festival. I spent the last few days cleaning up the blog, chopping weeds and kicking out the homeless, Giuliani style! But I'm back, and I'm bringing it back with the dude who's trying to bring hip-hop back. Back from what, I'm not sure.
You know, everything you hear about KRS-One is true. He's a legend, obnoxious, a monster emcee, insufferable and sorely needed. Look, everyone has their place, and KRS-One's place is to scream on your ass like your dad. (bring it on!) If it weren't for my father following me around the house yelling at me to turn off the lights I just might be a crack head. Thanks dad, and KRS-One too, for making hits and staying fresh and crazy all these years.
It's with that in mind that KRS-One brought his one man show to Prospect Park in Brooklyn. This time it was one of those free summer-time throw-downs that pop off all over Brooklyn and the five boroughs. Prospect Park had that old school block party feel minus the guy bringing around free Starbucks samples. I wasn't around "back in the day" but from the start you felt in your bones that this was how they used to do it out in the park.
If you expected to be bombarded with a dose of heavy handed preaching and teaching, you were greatly disappointed. Not only did KRS not knock you upside the head with your stupidity, he delivered a level headed and moving performance. A performance that was downright charming and inspiring. A performance that managed to never shamelessly knock new hip-hop or call out a rapper by name. There was some scattered talk about how hip-hop used to be done, but honestly, it was for a quick second and he didn't dwell. His main focus was on hip-hop culture and moving it forward through positivity and creativity. I know it sounds cliche, and you know what, it is. Except when one man is rocking a park full of thousands, it kind of makes sense. The aforesaid message was delivered with such zeal and humility (gasp!) that you were ready to buy whatever he was selling, no joke.
But the show wasn't all about delivering a message. Mainly, it was about bugging out and having a good time, which occurred tenfold. A third of the way through his performance KRS put out a call for all B-Boys and Girls in the audience. About thirty people rushed the stage transforming the performance area into a block party setting. A few of the breakers were outstanding and impressed KRS to the point where he broke off his rhyme and pointed in amazement. Check the video below.
On top of the positivity and good times, KRS injected the crowd with a dose of inspirational storytelling. See, before BDP fame, way back in 1980, KRS was homeless. His home of choice was Prospect Park. His bed of choice was the Prospect Park bandshell. The very bandshell he was now performing in! He would sleep at night and during the day hang out at the Grand Army Plaza Library getting his knowledge on. As a young KRS poured through books, thoughts of the future danced through his head. A future that consisted of one day rocking a mic in Prospect Park. The very park his was now rocking! Or so the story goes. Can someone fact check this please? Even if it's not true, and something tells me some of it is, the story connected with most and accomplished its modest goal.
The rest of the set flowed from there with songs spanning his vast catalog much to the delight of Brooklyn. But the specific songs aren't important when accessing the overall vibe of the evening. From day one KRS has laid down his blueprint for how he feels it should be done. If you dislike his zealot like adherence to this blueprint or his browbeating stance, that's cool. But you still can't deny his place. Maybe that night my judgment was clouded and his seeming relevance was a mirage that existed only to myself and the thousands of people in and around the bandshell. After thinking about it for days that doesn't make much sense to me. It can't all be nostalgia, can it? It has to be something more. There seems to be some kind of force around the guy which keeps him moving along at the speed of hip-hop. Call it skills, but its something more you can't quite put your finger on.
KRS-One @ Prospect Park - The Bridge is Over. Please don't email me complaining. I know the footage is shaky but it was hip-hop in the pit.
KRS-One + Break Dancers @ Prospect Park = Step Into A World. Check out the moves on display.
I think this is one of the guys from Beatboxer Entertainment...
Breakers taking the stage over...
File this in the rap nerd category. About halfway through his performance KRS busted out a marker and started signing anything the crowd held up. He even autographed some guys passport. As he made his way down the stage I took out my copy of Check The Technique, which KRS signed. Yes, I carry a copy around with me.
DJ "Superman" Scratch
Ladybug Mecca, still Cool Like Dat after all these years...(She also performed)