Support for this one comes from London b-boy and UK hip hop stalwart Mystro. A man with bags of charisma and the lyrical skills to back it up. He’s got a new E.P. out “Digmund Freud” and it’s his usual blend of witty word play, call and response choruses, and amusing storytelling. As you can probably guess, I’m a fan.  Check him out if you don’t already know his stuff. A good support act and someone who knows how to work a crowd. Big up, British b-boy.

Lawrence Krisna Parker a.k.a. Blasmaster KRS1 is a lot of things, self-styled “Teacha” of hip hop, author, ex-label exec, speaker at colleges and universities and at other public forums, b-boy, edutainer and most importantly, he knows how to put on a good hip hop show. With his brother DJ Kenny Parker on the ones and twos, he’s also brought along freestyle king Supernatural as back up M.C. (who I almost didn’t recognise at first as he”s lost loads of weight since I last saw him play).

As to be expected, it’s a run through of the classic BDP joints and other material from his seventeen albums. They launch into “South Bronx” and the crowd erupts, the “South Bronx” chant sounding perfectly at home here in this North London venue :-). From there we also get  “The bridge is over” and “Sound of da police”. KRS1 then takes off his jacket to show a picture of Scott La Rock (his DJ who was murdered intervening in a petty dispute in 1987 not long after their debut album had been released). Supernatural then proceeds to give a freestyle biography of Scott’s life which goes down really well.

They continue the set with “Outta here” and “Still number 1” before Kenny Parker puts on the classic Jimmy Castor number “It’s just begun” and KRS1 invites any b-boys and girls to get on stage to break, lock and pop. About eight people get up and a few other records are played so that they can do their thing.

Once the stage is cleared of dancers, KRS1 launches into “Luv’s gonna getcha” which leads into an amusing freestyle using a snippet of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” before performing his classic “Why is that?” over “Pachelbel’s Canon” by Baroque composer Johann Pachelbel. After our classical music lesson, the slamming introduction to “9mm goes bang” kicks in. While this is playing, some of his friends come on stage with a huge bag of tennis balls(!). These have been signed by KRS1 and we’re treated to the sight of literally hundreds of tennis balls being lobbed from the stage into the crowd during the next couple of numbers.

Supernatural now does his “three MC’s” routine where he starts to rap in his own voice, spins around then comes back as a different MC each time. He raps in the voice of Slick Rick, Busta Rhymes and Biggie Smalls then proceeds to get the front row of the audience to hold up various items which he grabs and then raps about. It’s pretty entertaining as he picks up everything from a mobile phone to a copy of “the Gospel of hip hop” (KRS1’s book), he finally picks up someone’s bank card and finishes with the immortal punchline “ever seen a white man give a black man his bank card”. 🙂

By now it’s about 23.00 and the sound has been turned down considerably, but they still go through “Criminal Minded”, “Poetry” and “Word from our sponsor”, all of which still sound great and keep the crowd moving right until the end of the night.  KRS1 then says a quick goodnight and goes to the back of the venue where he spends some time signing T-shirts and books. All in all a great show from someone who knows how to bring it live. With this gig in October and Public Enemy in London in November it’s good to see the veterans in the game still on top form when it comes to live hip hop.