When I think of a factory, I think of sweaty men with tools in hand, toiling over complex machinery for 12 hours a day before hitting the bar. Well, walking into Oxford Arts Factory there was definitely no shortage of bearded men. The tools were replaced with alcohol and the only labour they were doing was lifting drinks to their mouths. I felt like I’d been transported into a dystopian future where men with beards ruled and women with nose rings and ironic shirts had risen to power.
A few hundred people populated the small space. As I manoeuvred myself to the front, the unmistakable presence of an Australian rapper was doing his best Rick Ross impression on stage(You know, repeating pretty much the same lyrics over and over like “exotic” or “lavish cheeseburgers” while a catchy bass heavy beat plays in the background). The thing was – this guy was winning the crowd over. I only caught the final song of his set, but Milwaukee Banks made himself a few fans during the night. It’s kind of crazy, as both he and his predecessor Preacha actually performed longer than the main act Big KRIT, who, if described on his performance time shall now be known as Small-Medium KRIT.
As a rap fan, there are certain realisations that you have to make. Mainly, rappers are never on time – ever. It’s a part of the performance, the building of anticipation until the rapper appears at the climax of your frustration. Having said that, this instance was almost unbearable. Big KRIT came on stage just shy of 50 minutes late… Certifying the fact that rappers should put a few less diamonds in their watch so they can actually tell the time.
The echoes of movement finally began around 10:45pm as BIG KRIT’s entourage set the stage. This involved a strange and abundance of towels and water bottles. I’m pretty sure BIG KRIT isn’t a mermaid, so I’m not sure why he needed 12 bottles of water on stage. Placing a towel in front of the DJ booth was another strange addition, but the puzzle was put together as throughout the show KRIT used it as a dart-board for his spit. Disgusting, right?
Just as the crowd had truly grown restless and the “Where’s BIG KRIT?” chants began, low and behold out exploded the man himself. Seriously, he exploded like a bat out of hell, jumping around and passionately rapping the song Country Shit as the crowd instantly came to life. Enshrouded in purple mist, the lighting set the Southern theme, inspiring thoughts of codeine syrup. The Mississippi native kept this energy consistent throughout the entire show, and that shook me in awe during his performance. KRIT’s fan service was great as he moved around the small stage, stopping to stare into numerous crowd members iPhone’s as he elegantly rapped his tongue-twisting songs. KRIT took the time between songs to address the audience with his slick, southern drawl and make the small but passionate crowd feel close to him. The epitome of this is when he repeatedly sung to one girl that he was going to “fuck her brains out…” I don’t think it gets much closer than that.
KRIT blessed the crowd with hit tracks one after the other, going deep into his catalogue of projects. Rotation, King of the South and I Got This were amongst some standouts, but track of the show has to go to Soul Food which switched up the theme of rapping hard, loud and fast for something more melancholy. We were also lucky enough to witness the first ever performance of KRIT’s new track, 86 which is definitely a banger. I was absolutely in awe of how well KRIT performed, and he could teach bigger artists a thing or two about on-stage presence. This was disrupted by a 10-minute period half way through his show where his DJ took over, and KRIT took a break. It was extremely weird, as no one knew if he was going to come back out or not.
Overwhelmingly, the KRIT show was a great service to the fans even amongst a couple of hiccups. I feel like his heart was definitely in the right place, as he spent 15 minutes after the show signing some autographs and taking some selfies as his entourage handed out free albums to the crowd. For a rap star that has worked with a lot of big names in his career, the care he showed for the audience and humble approach he had was refreshing. This was one of the best shows I’ve been to, and being a casual Big KRIT fan beforehand, he definitely won me over. K.R.I.T. stands for “King Remembered In Time,” and I won’t be forgetting this show any time soon.