Monday, February 18, 2013 at 7 a.m.
Curren$y and Big K.R.I.T.
with Rocky Diamonds and That Guy Soda
Saturday, February 16, 2013
A full and pumped crowd awaited Curren$y and Big K.R.I.T. on Saturday night at Epic, two rappers who've made their name on the mixtape circuit through a number of high-quality releases. The combination made sense, and the duo's signature casual southern rap styles meshed well over the course of the night.
Openers Rocky Diamonds and That Guy Soda were repping Minneapolis on the otherwise down-South bill, and the crowd seemed generally more receptive than with some of the opening acts I've seen at Epic before. They're definitely a cut above the acts who are clearly just friends of the promoters, but they fell into some of the same traps. Rocky's style is one of gloating arrogance that can grate when laid on too thick, but can go over well when the lines are of a certain quality. There's a sense that he already feels he's won his audience over, which can lead to a lack of hunger onstage, but the finale where all of his crew bounded up to scream and flail along worked as most onstage clusterfucks do.
The crowd was amped and ready when Big K.R.I.T. hit the stage, and his presence alone was commanding. The Mississippi rapper has a smooth delivery and slick drawl that ride effortlessly over his self-produced Dirty South beats, but he made sure to highlight tracks that were appropriate for live show. "Sookie Now" and "Temptation" stood among some of his huge-sounding tracks, each with insane levels of bass that prove K.R.I.T. a master of big sound. It's not easy making music that functions in a number of settings, but this could've played as easily out of the trunk of a car or the headphones of a deciphering listener as it did in a live club space. That translation was made possible thanks to the rapping, which stepped up the inherent smoothness into a larger sound. There was a massive swell of crowd feedback, with a lot of hard dancing and fists pumping. It was a tight and well-crafted set, and K.R.I.T. definitely knows how to put on a show that will sit well with people.
My last experience seeing Curren$y led me to criticize what seemed like a lackadaisical performance, but last night proved he's definitely got a fire to his live show when he's on. Past tours have seen him splayed on couches rapping, which just strikes me as the ultimate expression of not giving a shit about stage presence. (Apparently doctors insisted he stay home after injuring his foot, so instead he brought the living room to them; I guess that's a suitable compromise.) Saturday was a different story, as Spitta cemented the namesake with a low-key but powerful set. I was a little concerned at first when it seemed like he was taking his time coming out, and they were playing his songs in full rather than him being there to rap over them, but this fear of a mediocre performance quickly subsided.
He has always bolstered a laid-back flow with clever lines and charisma, but Curren$y managed to maintain that style while expressing an underlying gift with straight raw energy. Multiple times he would introduce songs with some variation on "Man, ya'll don't know this one... Only people that know this shit is my homies...," before launching into classic tracks like "King Kong," most of which the audience definitely knew. There was a sense of overwhelming audience support and devotion, which probably pushed Curren$y to a more animated live show, capturing a vibe from the fans.
My big pet peeves when watching rap concerts is rapping over back-tracks and cutting songs too short, and while Curren$y engaged in both sparingly, he spit a surprising amount of acapellas and kept the long set flowing fluidly by moving between tracks quickly. It was a solid set that brought more nuance to the rapper's perpetually stoned aura and showcased a distinct punch beneath the hazy charm.
The Crowd: Excited and exuberant, high.
Random Notebook Dump: Another instance of a rapper getting a distinct boost from being able to smoke onstage.
Overheard in the Crowd: Collective cries of disappointment at the strictness of security with regard to blunt smoking.
Blood Sweat and Gears
Sixty-Seven Turbo Jets