Live Review: Big K.R.I.T. @ Forecastle Festival, Louisville KY (7/17)

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Kentucky welcomed one of hip hop’s proud Southerners Friday night of Forecastle Festival. Big K.R.I.T. closed the Ocean Stage, and did not disappoint.

Although it was not my first time seeing Mississippi’s self-proclaimed “King of the South.” In November, I saw K.R.I.T. perform at Anthem in Nashville. That show provided a lot of mixed feelings because the venue handled the show poorly. Doors were set to open at 9 p.m. but no one entered until nearly 10:30. On top of that, another opener was brought out in addition to the one originally billed, so K.R.I.T. didn’t see the stage until midnight. It was unfortunate that the crowd was too tired to give K.R.I.T. the love he deserved; he left it all out there, whipping around the stage rapping each lyric with fire in his eyes.

That’s the one thing that was the same about his set at Forecastle Festival. K.R.I.T.’s specialty is his energy on-stage. You can tell that K.R.I.T. is humble, and when it looks like he’s rapping each line as if it’s his last, it may be because he truly believes it. He never takes a song off, and this time, the crowd didn’t either.

As much energy as K.R.I.T. puts into his performance, sometimes I feel like there is something missing. His set was great, but there’s something left that would take it to exceptional. He certainly has the stage presence, and it’s almost enough to outdo the curse of being a rapper performing live: the minimalistic rapper and DJ duo. That isn’t necessarily the problem here because K.R.I.T. nearly overshadows that. But perhaps if a live band backed the Mississippi rapper, it would bring his Southern-fried, Cadillac whippin’ production to life in a way that matches his vocal delivery.

However, there were other antics that made the set more memorable. For example, K.R.I.T. brought out Talib Kweli, who was set to perform at an official Forecastle late-night show that evening. The NYC rapper delighted the crowd with an inspired rendition of his hip-hop classic “Get By.”

K.R.I.T. proved once again that his vocal delivery is unmatched in live rap music, and also that he could please a crowd under reasonable circumstances. While K.R.I.T. still has a couple of kinks to work out in order to take his passionate show to new heights, it’s easy to see that there is a diamond in the rough just waiting to be found.

Check out photos from Big K.R.I.T.’s set here, and a video below.

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