This weekend saw history made as one of Hip Hop’s forefathers not only performed his first live gig in New Zealand, but also gave a Lecture at Auckland Museum. Krist Parker, better known as KRS-One (Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone) wowed crowds on Saturday night and educated us further on Sunday afternoon.
My Hip Hop education has been happening for a while now, due to living with a DJ and lover of the whole culture for many years. I have been lucky enough to have seen many of the big names over the years but KRS-One has always been at the top of my list, but one I had yet to have experienced. Hailing from the Bronx, New York, the birth place of Hip Hop, KRS-One is known as one of the most influential Hip Hop artists as well as Hip Hop Scholar and philosopher.
The gig was originally scheduled for The Cloud on 21 April but was moved at the last minute to The Studio on K Road, the press release stating that, ‘Due to licensing issues, promoters Ginnen Group have moved Saturday nights KRS-ONE show from The Cloud to THE STUDIO on K Road’. Anyway fans were not deterred and packed out The Studio. The evening was supported by New Zealand’s Hed Lok and a traditional Maori Karakia brought KRS-One to the stage. At this point we all entered the Temple of Hip Hop! Performing with a graffiti back drop, KRS-One went through classic tunes and hyped the crowd repeating the mantra ‘real Hip Hop is over here’ throughout. If you are not as familiar with KRS-One I am sure you would have heard ‘Sound of da Police’ which he performed on the night earlier on than I expected. His message is of peace, love, unity and having fun and the whole show is incredibly positive with tracks like ‘You Must Learn.’
The crowd where loving their preacher, but although it was busy and a bit squishy (I know some strangers more intimately than I intended) it was a friendly vibe with all of us there to watch this great performance by a legendary artist and wanting to have a good time.
KRS-One lives and breathes Hip Hop culture and he shows his love for the crowd by calling up B-boys and B-girls to come up on stage with him. He ended the gig by getting amongst it and walking around within the crowd while MCing. The pure energy of the man was astounding, he gave a full 2 hour set and did a meet and great after the gig too. To top off the evening he announced that he would be giving a lecture at Auckland Museum the next day at 1pm, part 2 of the KRS-One experience.
So it was that on a beautiful sunny Auckland Sunday we entered the events centre at Auckland War Memorial Museum for a lecture from the legend that is KRS-One and we were to become scholars of Hip Hop. The room was filled with fans and for over two hours he held our attention with his inspirational and philosophical speaking which took us through the history of hip hop and what led to its invention. He shared parts of American history not much discussed, including some topics hard to digest, and praised the roles of women in not only his life, but in the life of Hip Hop and the world. This is what real Hip Hop is all about, it’s not about your race or your sex it’s a culture and involves the 4 elements, DJing, MCing, Graffiti art and Breaking (break dancing). This is the message that KRS-One wants us to take away and that there will always be negatives around success of the culture/artists but our education and that of our children will provide us with the tools to have the strength to be whatever we want to be and be Hip Hopping while we do it. So be the person you want to be not what others expect you to be.
KRS – One thanked Auckland Museum for being the first in the world to hold an event like this, saying ”Let this be a message to all other museums who can’t find time for hip hop in its institution.” and said that we should be proud to live in a country where art and culture is embraced and allowed to grow. He ended the lecture with his heartfelt thanks to Aotearoa, for its hospitality, education and warmth that will mean his return to the Land of the Long White Cloud.
(C) Ingrid Grenar