There are certain concessions that usually have to be made when attending a hip-hop show. Often, the headliner is late, the vocals are muddy, or the performances are one dimensional. While this was true at times at the Knitting Factory on Nov. 15, Big K.R.I.T. and BJ The Chicago Kid tried valiantly to keep the small crowd of about 100 fans engaged and excited with fast-paced sets and Big K.R.I.T.’s terrific live band.
Mississippi native Big K.R.I.T. took the stage by storm with the help of a bassist, drummer and DJ. Every inch of the stage was used as he ran through bangers such as “Country Shit” and “I Got This,” he engaged each person in the crowd as he rapped to and with all in attendance.
The addition of live musicians kept the performance from becoming redundant as the drummer and bassist added a modern gospel tinge to the backing tracks. The four of them were an awesome sight and a strong example of how far hip-hop has come in using live instrumentation in tandem with prerecorded music. They treated the stage no differently than a four-piece rock band might and owned each track with the confidence and tightness of a road-tested quartet.
The highlight of the set was his recent single “Big Bang pt. 3,” an ode to the somewhat juvenile practice of putting subs in your first car. This highly relatable song had the crowd screaming the chorus of “two fifteens!” Songs such as these illustrate how true Big K.R.I.T. stays to his roots, which he further exemplified later in the show when a handful of concertgoers started throwing their original music up onto the stage.
“Hey, you don’t need to be throwing your mixtapes up here!” K.R.I.T. said, slightly annoyed “You can just hold them up and I’ll come by and take ‘em.” He then picked up the CDs off of the stage and held them up, “We support indie music around here, alright? Just hold em up and I’ll come take ‘em, thanks.”
Up-and-coming artists often dream of what could happen if they could just get their music into the right hands. Big K.R.I.T.’s gesture stood as one of solidarity with the hip-hop scene that made him the success that he is today and it’s nice to see that he hasn’t forgotten where he came from.
BJ The Chicago Kid
The Motown signee came out of the gates swinging and unleashed an impressive repertoire of songs he had collaborated on with other artists, most notably “Everybody’s Something” by Chance the Rapper and “His Pain,” a song he wrote with Kendrick Lamar years ago. His new single “Church” was the show’s high point as the emotional aspect of the song won over the crowd instantly.