Gig Review + Photography by John McEvoy

If old school hip hop and breakbeats are your thing, then you were in luck tonight with former Jurassic 5 member Charli 2na (Charles Stewart) and multi award winning DJ Krafty Kuts (Martin Reeves) onstage at the Brudenell Social club in Leeds.

Charli 2na and Krafty Kuts

However before they took to the stage they were ably supported by a young and upcoming rapper called Otis Mensah. To a backing of mellow hip hop beats provided by a talented backing band his story telling style about real life went down well with the crowd. He’s already been on stage at Glastonbury 17, and if the music gods are kind, this boy should go far.

Otis Mensah

9:00pm saw Charli 2na (pronounced Charley Tuna) and Krafty Kuts took to the stage and went straight into a blistering funky and bass heavy set overlaid with Chali 2na booming baritone voice which delivered rapid fire rapping. Those familiar with their music would not have been disappointed with the set list tonight which featured amongst others, ‘It ain’t my fault’ and ‘Hands high’. Charli 2na clearly knows how to work a crowd and having quickly built up a rapport with the audience with his genuinely funny banter, eliciting a noisy call and response was Childs play.

Charli 2na and Krafty KutsCharli 2na and Krafty Kuts

All the while Krafty Kuts was delivering a skilled set, scratching and using samples to great effect and this reviewer particularly enjoyed ‘Tricka Technology’ done originally with A. Skillz. I know that a lot of people out there simply view DJ’s as nothing but button pushers but in the case of Krafty this couldn’t be more wrong. Not for nothing has this man been at the forefront of Breakbeat and dance music, and tonight was further confirmation that this man knows how to mix an unlikely combination to come up with a killer dance hook that is frankly hard to resist. I defy you not to find yourself wanting to move to ‘Gimme the Breaks’ originally done with Kurtis Blow featuring a killer chest rattling bassline.

Charli 2na and Krafty KutsCharli 2na and Krafty Kuts

Throughout the evening Charli 2na asked if we were “ready to go home?”, and this crowd were having none of it, they were there for the duration. Needless to say the Jurassic 5 tunes he covered received were warmly received by an audience who clearly knew their Hip Hop history. And of course their cover version of ‘The Message’ both slow and speeded up versions added the cherry on top of the cake.

If Hip Hop and Breakbeats is your thing, plus a little body popping from Charli 2na and Krafty Kuts, I would urge you to get yourself along to one of their shows. You will be exhausted after their 90 minute set, but you’ll love every minute of it.

They’re on tour throughout the summer in the UK and Europe. Catch them if you can!

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