Photos: Lauren Gesswein
KRS-One and his son, DJ Predator Prime, stormed through New York City’s S.O.B.’s last night (August 15) with an airtight performance billed as “One Night Only.” The club was packed wall-to-wall, and at one point in the evening, KRS even reminded the crowd in a freestyle: “This S.O.B.’s, you see, is original hip-hop history.”
Mr. Mecc hosted the event, and Tony Touch and D-Stroy jumped onstage early to do “Touch and D-Stroy” off Touch’s latest release, The Piece Maker 3: Return of the 50 MCs. The Brooklyn-born Tony Touch commented to XXL that it was “humbling” to open last night’s show. He went on to say, “KRS-One is my favorite of all time and to be able to be in the same room with him, much less open up for him, is astronomical for me. It’s a highlight of my career.”
When KRS-One made his entrance, it was, appropriately, to dead prez’s “It’s Bigger Than Hip-Hop.” He shouted, “It feels so good to be in New York right now!” and promptly followed up with “fuck Hot 97” and “fuck MTV” punches in a hard intro verse. Despite repeatedly telling the audience, “I’m just getting warmed up—I just walked in,” the Bronx MC solidly controlled the room from the second he appeared.
Showing exactly why he’s called “The Teacha”, he moved swiftly from “MCs Act Like They Don’t Know” and his verse from the Grammy-nominated 2007 track “Classic” to a hip-hop history tutorial in rhyme. The New York crowd rapped along with “South Bronx” and a medley of verses from Jam Master Jay, The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac and O.D.B. that KRS described as “just going through the spirits.”
The Blastmaster screamed “stop that stop-and-frisk bullshit!” as an intro to “Sound of Da Police,” and soon thereafter called back a quick ask to Predator Prime to “mix it.” The DJ seamlessly threw on the “Money Power & Respect” instrumental for his Dad, in one of the night’s many demonstrations of just how synergistic the father/son duo is.
From there, The Teacha went into a long freestyle that incorporated everything from a portrait handed to him by an audience member to deep teachings on racial politics. Non-stop and relentless, he unleashed lines like “I’ve got the answer/it’s called the Black Panthers” and “I’m a high school dropout/and I’m teaching at Yale, no doubt.”
Highlighting the length and depth of his career, KRS-One performed the recently dropped “Nina” from his thirteenth solo album, Never Forget, “A Friend” from 1997’s I Got Next and “Love’s Gonna Get’cha (Material Love)” from Boogie Down Production’s 1990 album, Edutainment.
While the audience listened intently to the social, spiritual and political teachings woven throughout the performance, the room absolutely exploded toward the end of the night as the Bronx legend brought it full-circle with classics “Criminal Minded” and “The Bridge is Over.” Closing out with a guest appearance by Hakim Green of Channel Live and 1993’s “I Can’t Wake Up”, KRS-One remarkably left the stage with just as much energy as he brought to it, and left the fans with considerably more. —Katie Moore