With BJ the Chicago Kid, Scotty ATL, DeLorean and Curtis Mayz
The Bomb Factory, Dallas
Friday, November 27, 2015
Big K.R.I.T. brought his Kritically Acclaimed tour to The Bomb Factory on Black Friday. Many potential ticket buyers could very well have been shopping, recovering from shopping, or arrested or killed as a direct result of shopping. (There are videos.) It was also cold as hell and raining, but K.R.I.T. managed to draw a huge crowd. After releasing a new mixtape, It’s Better This Way, in October, and dropping a new album, All My Life, this month, he came into town with a lot of momentum.
Beyond a few scuffles between people trying to crowd close to the stage, there weren’t many signs of life from the audience as they stood around for the first acts. There were strange people who decided they were crowd police because they had different color wristbands and backstage badges. They tried to stop people from getting closer to the stage than they were. It didn’t go over so well.
But when K.R.I.T. stormed the stage, the audience instantly came to life. Everyone seemed to light up in unison before pointing their phones at the stage. And rightly so: K.R.I.T. was a burst of energy, jumping up and down spitting out tongue-twisting lyrics. The crowd was mesmerized from start to finish.
The Mississippi native maintained that level of energy throughout the duration of the show. His sound greatly benefits from being accompanied by a live band, which is something you rarely see from a country rapper. He also had a DJ with a setup that looked like — and probably was — the face of a Cadillac. Addressing the crowd in between songs with his Southern accent really seemed to endear him to them, making them feel like friends instead of fans.
K.R.I.T. has played Dallas several times over the last five years. He has stayed busy since breaking out of the mixtape circuit with Return of 4 Eva and signing with Def Jam. Many in attendance had clearly seen him perform multiple times. He rewarded them by playing hit after hit, digging deep into his catalog. The crowd pumped their fists and recited the lyrics with passion.
Tracks like "Country Shit" and "Cadillactica" have helped K.R.I.T. form this strong bond with his audience. With lyrics about cars and faith, he has created anthems that any southerner can relate to. His sound recalls the beloved Dirty South sound of UGK and Scarface. But throughout his evolution he has managed to add new genres to the music and address increasingly heavier topics, rather than falling back on catchphrases and slang. As a lyricist, K.R.I.T. also has an incredible gift for storytelling.
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Earlier in the evening, BJ the Chicago Kid turned many heads with a great set. He started out banging on a drum before handing it over to the DJ. The R&B songwriter and singer has a unique sound, a mixture of gospel and soul. Marvin Gaye is a fair comparison and he has even appeared as a vocalist on Stevie Wonder’s album, A Time to Love. BJ the Chicago Kid is now signed with Motown and his debut album for the legendary recording company will definitely be worth checking out.
Scotty ATL put on an exuberant performance, taking to the stage with sunglasses and a big grin on his face. The rapper and songwriter from — you guessed it — Atlanta engaged the crowd with songs from the steady stream of mixtapes he has been putting out over the last few years. These releases, particularly the critically acclaimed Summer Dreams and The Jiffy Cornbread Experience, have garnered considerable attention. This was not his first national tour and the experience showed.
But the same could not be said for DeLorean. After appearing on K.R.I.T.’s Better This Way mixtape, the Houston rapper got K.R.I.T. to return the favor on his own release, Perfect Black, which also features Scotty ATL. DeLorean has Southern soul and the bars to go with it, but failed to really get the crowd’s attention other than when he was gushing about this being his first tour or yelling something about believing in your dreams.
The bill also featured the young local rapper Curtis Mayz, who just released his album, Black Excellence, after a year in the making. He performed a strong set, rapping about everything from day-to-day life as a father to his struggles with vice. His ideology at times seemed reminiscent of Malcolm X and other leaders of the civil rights movement. If you didn’t know he was from Dallas, you probably wouldn’t have guessed it. Curtis Mayz's sound could have come out of Atlanta a decade ago.
Big K.R.I.T. shared this bill with noteworthy up and comers and hopefully they made an impression on some of the audience. But there was no question this was his show. The crowd was more or less standing around waiting until he went onstage and then they had the energy of a tornado.