Review: @Akalamusic ‘Knowledge Is Power Volume 2 Tour’ @TheJazzCafe

It is fairly safe to say Akala is one of THE most tech­nic­ally gif­ted Emcee’s in the UK, with his abil­ity to deliv­er com­plex rhythms at double bpm spit­tin’ his­tor­ic­al facts in an easy man­ner.

His recent per­form­ance at the Jazz café reflec­ted that skill with an impress­ive live set. Akala’s new E.P, Know­ledge Is Power Volume 2 has a very dif­fer­ent feel to its earli­er coun­ter part, with more verbal aggression.This is a review of the live show.

Akala has stated pre­vi­ously that he prefers live instru­ments. The day saw a live band on stage, and sound tim­bre encom­passing an almost acous­tic live set. Accord­ingly, the set was opened with ‘Bang With Us’, a track one could say is a ded­ic­a­tion to Hiphop­pas; “We’ve been on this ting for so long now”. Well, Akala doesn’t look like he’s gon­na stop any­time soon, as I’m sure the fans agree. We ain’t stop­ping either. ‘Mr Fire In the Booth’ soon fol­lowed, a track very polit­ic­ally charged and aimed at young people and the Truth,

Two aspects Akala has man­aged in all four of his Fire in the Booth ses­sions with Charlie Sloth is drop­pin’ know­ledge with style.

As the set con­tin­ued, “I’m ready for you like Sun Tzu!” argu­ably one of the best songs  on the Know­ledge is Power Vol.2 was quickly switched up to ‘Mal­colm said it’ and ‘Old Soul’ see­ing the stage blessed with the Pres­ence of Niles Asheber from the Afrik­an Revolu­tion. In the Illastate fash­ion, the Carib­bean fla­vors were drawn up in a freedom from struggle vibe and an intro­spect­ive view of the pro­gres­sion of the soul. Inter­est­ingly, one could bet­ter get to know the con­cept of an old soul in Akala’s illus­trated nov­el ‘The Ruins of Empires’. We also heard a well-delivered verse live from the nov­el on the day, which was intensely poet­ic­al.

Pom­pous Peterson’ the well-spoken, prop­er Eng­lish rap was dropped straight after a Roll With Us mashup, a test­a­ment to how Akala’s style and prowess has developed in over a dec­ade of dili­gent and elo­quent rhymes. By This time the feel was highly anti­cip­at­ing and elec­tric.

‘Murder Runs the Globe’ was a power­ful heavy hit­ter out­lining the war and blood­shed around the world. We all know it, but for some reas­on we can just barely have a hand in stop­ping it. This track gave us this expres­sion through the per­form­ance. It was suc­ceeded by ‘The Fall’ and guest appear­ance of Amy True! (Big up). May­be we’re in the time of “The Fall of the empire”. Either way, we’re liv­ing right now through some omin­ous but beau­ti­ful times and we ARE the Hip Hop Nation!

Some of the tracks were met with short inter­ludes, with Akala speak­ing to the audi­ence. one thing I remem­ber was the “soph­ist­ic­ated Lon­don crowd” and yeah, it seems the Lon­don heads didn’t get super amped up this even­ing. Every­one seemed to appre­ci­ate the mes­sage and con­tent of the lyr­ics more, which gave the atmo­sphere a unique con­tem­plat­ive pres­ence without los­ing any of the energy of a Hip Hop show. It could even be that Lon­don broke the baro­met­er when asked to raise the levels.

The levels were taken down shortly after­ward with ‘Time to Relax’ and believe, bring­ing in more of the thought­ful mood when this track came on. One hardly knows how Akala has the time to relax with everything he does. Its true though, we all got­ta make time to relax. This song was accom­pan­ied with some a heart felt mel­low ambi­ance. Ayan­na Wit­ter-John­son joined the stage shortly after to con­tin­ue with a soft, gentle pres­ence, with the sounds of melody and har­mony for the even­ing. It was ensued by ‘The Riddle of Life” which is a tune! Kop the album.

Once ‘Our Way, The Way’ had fin­ished, we were joined by Mic Right­eous for The Jour­ney’. Both Emcees suf­fice to say, went in. The spit­tin’ was fire, quick and up-tem­po. The bars were raw and well delivered. If some­thing was gon­na end the even­ing, then after this track the even­ing was over. “Every jour­ney begins with just one step”.

Yet, after Akala had left the stage, someone star­ted a “one more song chant” and we got one. Faced with immense cheers and delight, the even­ing was fin­ished with a res­on­ant rendi­tion of “Find No Enemy”. Much respect to Akala, Mic Right­eous, Niles Asheber, Ty and Amy True as well as the Illa State team who stuck around well after the show to speak to fans, that topped a fant­ast­ic even­ing.


By Emcee ShvaOne

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rish­ma Dhali­wal has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rish­ma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.

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