While many decry the decline of Hip-Hop as reflected in its commercial manifestations, the so-called underground continues to stake claim to the culture and its progression.
One such crusader for the art is prolific MC/Producer K9 (aka King 9). This London born lyricist is well respected on the Hip-Hop scene. Along with companions Dundee & S-Rise, he is a member of the collective “Frenglish Conexion”, through which he has developed international acclaim as a sterling recording artist and an even more dynamic performer.
This month saw the release of King 9’s “Emancipated EP” and the British Blacklist were in the house for the official “Django Launch Party”, which had all the makings of a night not to be missed. But just in case you did, Here’s how it went down.
The intimate surroundings were the perfect place for energy that hit you as soon as you entered the room. A packed show got started with the sounds of the Lyrically Challenged Collective. This all-female quartet wowed the audience with a seamless performance of hard spitting over House, Hip-Hop and Dubstep fusion beats. Innovation was the name of the game and while MC Angel, Shay D, Emma Prior & Serina Reynolds certainly “represented for the ladies”, their performance pleased Hip-Hoppers & hardcore skankers alike.
The collective made way for hostess Peaches, to shout out a few crowd notables eliciting a few spontaneous bars in the process before handing over to the legendary DJ 279. True to form, the Numbers Man went hard with a half hour set of Hip Hop classics.
Peaches returned to announce the arrival of Sir Williams & Kimba, better known as Union Blak. The duo has been creating waves ever since the digital release of their single “Street English” at the end of last year. This night also doubled as the launch of their album “Blak Friday”, and they certainly honoured it with a stellar performance.
While Sir Williams kept the tables turning with self-produced beats, Kimba kept the crowd rocking with infectious energy and topical rhymes. “Brake” is a timely classic boom-bap cut dedicated to all the DJ’s who remain slaves to a radio playlist, in turn, “putting the breaks” on those trying to “Catch a break”.
After imploring all artists to “Spread virally and let the world know what we doing”, Kimba delivered his “Scarlet Letter”, dedicated to his wrongfully incarcerated Brother. As well as personal testimony, the commentary on the injustices with the criminal justice system certainly gave the audience something to think about; a fine display of the power of lyricism.
The duo dropped crowd favourite “Celebrity”, a homage to all the everyday people “with something worth celebrating” who never make it to our magazines and TV screens. Union Blak then made way for the man of the moment – King 9. The legendary “Stalag Riddim” pierced the atmosphere, inspiring some spontaneous old skool JamRock stepping from the audience. Amidst this new energy, King 9 literally skanked to stage in what can only be described as extreme yard man swagga; A Red, Gold & Green trimmed Carquee Suit, matching staff, a red bowler hat, and shoes that gave definition to the phrase “everybody affi ask weh mi get Clarks”.
The dynamic entrance was topped off by the emergence of Frenglish compadre Dundee, for the song “Beast”. From this point on a performance defined by beats that pounded the chest and vigorous stage antics consumed the atmosphere. “Keep It Moving” is a snap your neck headbanger feat Micheal Parknsun. While completely club friendly, the track offers something for the mental as the lyricists spit life lessons on the importance making the most of the moment, as K9 says “Time is precious, like my only child, Plan for the future never the moment… ”.
The audience was also blessed with a taste of things to come as Phoenix The Ice Fire hit the stage to feature on “Break The Chains”, later to feature on the album “The Re-education of K9”. With a reggae album also announced, this was evidently just the beginning of a busy year for the King.
A gesture from an audience member prompted K9, to declare “No Gang sign in ya, peace we a deal wid”, leading perfectly into “Conscious Youth”. Blazing fire on everyone from “teifing bwoy” to absent fathers, “Conscious Youth” inspired the rewind from the crowd, who then accented every line with “BO!”. After backing off the jacket, “I Know You Are But Who Am I” became the signal for another legend – Black Twang, to burst onto the stage. The T-shirt then went missing as title cut “Django” signaled the conclusion of the show.
As the audience chanted “DJANGO!!! DJANGO!!! DJANGO!!!” and King 9 made way for the DJ, it was clear to me that this was one Django I could definitely support.
You can download King 9 Emancipated EP absolutely FREE! here: k9london.bandcamp.com
review for the british blacklist by @ShakaRaBKS