Kritical Kontact & Number One Common
Kritical Kontact, a Duluth Hip Hop band, rapped up the evening at The Reef Bar this past Friday and Saturday (Jan. 26th &27th). With Dj Delgado, Legitimit, Jaze, and Bliss this seven year old and three album group is a real faction on the rap scene. Not to be outdone though, Number One Common also bludgeoned the evening with satanic verses and incendiary guitar riffs pounded into the crowds’ mind.
While watching Kritical Kontact there were definite personalities to each of the three MCs. Bliss was by far the best overall rapper of the group with a stage presence and flow that was captivating. He is the youngest member of the trio and maybe has the most to prove. According to the Bodog website, which handles several Battle of the Bands contests, Bliss is an established battle rapper. They wrote, “Bliss recently battled at Scribble Jam 2006 held in Cincinnati Ohio, the largest and most anticipated hip hop festival in America. Bliss came in 2nd place for two years in a row at the 4th and 5th annual Twin Cities Celebration of Hip Hop festival at the historic 1st Avenue and 7th Street Entry night club in Minneapolis MN." Not to be outdone, Legitimit was also exciting to watch and the most intense member of the group. At times he was facing the wall at the back of the stage and throwin’ it down. When he finally turned to face the audience it was like he exploded into his convictions and laid out his rhymes on the people. His stage persona is reminiscent of Busta Rhymes, but the wall facing was like a scene from The Doors movie. Rounding out the trio of MCs was Jaze. He stood out the most of the members on stage, and seemed extremely genuine. Lastly is the DJ of the group, DJ Delgado. His beats were some of the best in Minnesota, giving a great canvas for the trio of MCs to paint their lyrical flow onto.
Kritical Kontact has released three albums since forming around the year 2000. They have played at many forums around the state and continue to press on in the local scene. Their raps were political in nature, not anti-America, but with an underlining of hope and happiness. On their Myspace.com page (http://www.myspace.com/kriticalkontact) there were links to several videos the group has made and posted on Youtube.com. Using pictures and video to reflect their lyrics the group has a sophistication not often seen in hip hop. Where most groups attack the government without giving ideas, Kritical Kontact has a plan. On their song, “Reality Check" They’re “not trying to piss people off, just tryin’ to give facts.. Reality." Their facts of reality enter into politics and events around us. They sing about the Iraqi war, “The fallen soldiers are all good people.. Bring our troops home." The video of the song shows pictures that reflect what they are rapping about. The song also contains an excerpt from a speech made by President Bush. Most songs they perform live have the group taking turns during the verses and at various times they harmonize on certain words to add emphasis.
Not to be outdone, Number One Common closed out the night with their own style and flow. Common began in 1997 with Cory J. (Vocals) and Dan H. (Drums) before being joined by Mikey T. (Guitar), Jeremy M (Guitar), and Jesse J. (Bass) later. They have played around the Northland for years, and have a decent following. After seeing them play several times now what I find most mesmerizing is how their music sucks the listener in. While I am not a natural fan of heavier music being shoved into my ears, Number One Common has something extra that sets them apart. They are hypnotic in their evil delivery and the infectious sound gets under your skin. At one point Cory J. told the audience to check out their websites on myspace.com and “modelhandjobs.com, oh ignore the last one." He said, “And now a song about drowning the one you love."
That is what is interesting about Number One Common; they have humor in their darkness. The other thing that really caught my attention was a fan off to the side leaning on the speakers and bobbing his head up and down to the music. He was in a trance through the entire performance and never left his post. Occasionally he would raise his head up and look at the ceiling. Then a burst of spit would be shot into the air and the mist would fall back onto his head. He did this again and again throughout the evening making one wonder where he got all that spit from. It was primal and a sign of the number one fan of Number One Common. Their next show is at Norm’s on February 10th with Tepetricy and Denied.