Last years Hip Hop Peace and Unity Fest was a backpackers dream. Blessing the stage was not only the legendary Krs-One and Big Daddy Kane, but also Skillz, PMD, Pharoahe Monch, Edo G, Shuman & The Electric Company. The concert was held in Boston last summer, and was sponsored by upstart label Grit Records and Inebriated Rhythm. However, for such a star-studded lineup, the people of Boston sure had a tough time showing some love. If you thought NYC crowds were tough, wait until you see the 2-hour plus footage of the Peace and Unity Fest, as even legends like PMD & Pharoahe Monch got the silence treatment.
Its expected that underground artists like Shuman and The Electric Company were met with mixed responses. However, you would think when Pharoahe Monch throws on "Simon Says" or when PMD runs through his catalogue of hits, that the fans would start to loose it. But for some reason, the Boston crowd had a tough time getting going that day.
Performance wise, its tough to grade each emcee since their entire set is not shown on the DVD. Monch's footage on the DVD only consists of two songs, most notably a sleepy rendition of "Simon Says". PMD gets a little more footage, as he tries to get the crowd going with classic cuts such as "So Wat Cha Sayin", "Knick Knack Patty Wack" and "You Gots To Chill". Edo G has the most underappreciated performance on the DVD, as he most notably performs the Boston anthem "I Got To Have It". But not to be overlooked is VA's finest Skillz. With his usual brand of humor, Skillz blazed the mic with "Ghostwriter", as well as his other freestyle attempts.
However, the people really came to see the two legends roc the mic that day. Big Daddy Kane was the first to get a good crowd reaction, as the Boston fans showed some love to the top 10 emcee. While Kane struggled with his breath control on "Set It Off", he quickly regained his swagger on "Raw" and "The Symphony". Then he blew the roof off with "Ain't No Half Steppin", as Kane had every child, mother and father singing along. However, that was just a taste of what was to come, as Kane got everybody's mouth wet for the teacha Krs-One.
As the sunset and nightfall crept onto Boston's downtown district, Krs-One appeared on stage to turn up the heat. Krs proved once again why is his Hip Hop's greatest live performer, as he dazed and amazed the tough Boston crowd from beginning to end. The Teacha opened his lesson with an amazing performance of "The MC", which quickly turned into the classic DJ Premier produced "MC's Act Like They Don't Know". Just like a boxer, Krs bobs and weaves out of each track with ease, never leaving the crowd bored. From their Krs continued to delve into his bag of classic songs, performing prefect renditions of "South Bronx", "Criminal Minded" and "I'm Still #1". But not to be forgotten are "Outta Here", "Get Yourself Up", "Ah Yeah" and "Step Into A World", all of which were done masterfully. Closing out the show was Krs' single off "KRStyle", "Underground". And while Krs could have picked a better song to end the show, there is no denying every person lucky enough to see Krs that night walked away knowing their time was well spent.
Overall, the first annual Peace and Unity Fest DVD is a solid pick up for fans that have never seen legends like Krs and Big Daddy Kane perform. However, the rest of the concert tends to be boring due to a lifeless crowd that definitely was not familiar with each artist or their songs. Nevertheless, watching Krs rock on the mic is still enough reason to look into the Peace & Unity Fest DVD.