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

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 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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