KRS-One schools London’s Jazz Cafe | Live Review

On an unseasonably scorching summers day in London, KRS One aka The Blastmaster aka The Teacha, lecturer, author and Hip-Hop legend bounds onto the Jazz Café stage for the first of a two night stand [July 23-24], with all the enthusiasm of a kid running out of the school gates on a Friday afternoon. For the next hour and a half he proceeds to give a master class in how to rock a crowd, command the stage and deliver an authentic, all the way live show – fluffed freestyles and all.

Classics come thick and fast early in the set, maybe a little too fast – only one verse apiece from “Mc’s Act Like They Don’t Know” and “Outta Here” is never enough. However with a recording career now into its fourth decade, KRS has a wealth of dope material to choose from and it’s understandable that he quickly moves onto pastures new.

A number of freestyles over a choice selection of timeless ’90s beat staples follow in a fashion that is a refreshing, welcome sight after the recent trend of rappers reading lyrics from Blackberrys being passed off as freestyles. As always, The Teacha liberally drops nuggets of knowledge and inspiration throughout his freestyles and songs. Delivering his self-coined and impassioned “edutainment” to a full to capacity crowd of beaming Hip-Hop heads hanging on his every word makes for a seminal Hip-Hop moment.

During a raucous rendition of “Step Into The World,” a handful of breakers are invited onstage to strut their stuff – adding a nice element of audience participation to the evening. Following a medley of Boogie Down Productions’ finest moments, the performer – audience camaraderie is further cemented when he generously proceeds to autograph everything from a solitary trainer to a vinyl cover and a whole lot of t-shirts.

As the set draws to climax, he joins the audience on the dance floor then continues to rap upstairs and along the balcony all the way back to the dressing room – a showman till the end. After Big Daddy Kane’s incredible performance at the Forum last month, KRS-One further solidified the veteran’s reputation for putting on the best shows Hip-Hop has to offer bar none.

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