It’s rare for us to say this so early in the year, but when we sit down and put our “Best Of” list together in December, this show will likely be Number 1.

Krizz Kaliko / Photo by Fally Afani

It’s hard to believe this is Krizz Kaliko’s first national tour. The way he commands a stage would make anyone believe he’s a veteran performer holding the nation’s attention. We were absolutely shocked and thrilled to see him bring this show to The Bottleneck, and it did not disappoint. With the energy of a thousand suns, he set the Downtown Lawrence venue on fire with his expert skill and nonstop potency, bringing a sort of animation to the Bottleneck stage you normally see on big festival stages. When we saw him last year at Lawrence’s Juneteenth celebration, we were quickly reminded of the type of fire he brings to his shows, so our expectations were high for Tuesday night. However, he quickly shattered that ceiling as his endurance remained high throughout the set. He is truly one of the greatest showmen around.

Locksmith / Photo by Fally Afani

Krizz Kaliko did not come empty-handed. He brought along the ever-vitalic Vinjay, and the towering Locksmith, whose background as a battle rapper meant he was super quick on his feet and wittier than your average performer.

Mizznekol / Photo by Fally Afani

With Krizz Kaliko being a KC rapper, he also brought along a host of local favorites. The big standouts were Mizznekol (our personal favorite) who exuded female empowerment, and Topeka’s Seuss Mace (we’d actually like to see Seuss headline his own show here again because he could totally hold it down).

Silent Ave / Photo by Fally Afani

Silent Ave brought us one of our favorite things in performers: the unexpected. Never in our wildest dreams would we expect a rapper to successfully blend hip-hop and country music so well together, but he did it (and he had the cowboy boots to match!). He also had a knack for blending pop and emo into his music. You could probably throw any genre at him, and he’d make it work. The Lawrence darlings of the night, Underrated Society, opened up the show with an upbeat and grand showing of camaraderie (something essential in large hip-hop groups).

Seuss / Photo by Fally Afani

Now that we’ve given all these performers their flowers, it’s time for Editor Fally Afani to rip Lawrence a new asshole:

What the hell is wrong with you, Lawrence? Music fans here treat hip-hop like absolute shit. Here was a lineup made-in-heaven, and it was one of the poorest attended shows we’ve ever seen. You embarrassed us. The crowd that did show up (mostly Topekans, from what we could asses), albeit a modest size, exuded happiness and joy. This is the best thing about local hip-hop shows, when there’s that loving connection reciprocated between an artist and the crowd. This show had everything–  a killer host (DJ 151), a diverse lineup, talented DJs, and artists with new approaches to the craft. But where were the Lawrence fans?

Underrated Society / Photo by Fally Afani

What are you even doing, Lawrence? This is not an anomaly. Most of the hip-hop shows we attend see little to no Lawrence fans. I am old and lame and completely uncool (seriously, a guy at the show tried to give me a cool handshake five times and I failed every time). So if my out-of-touch ass can make it to these shows, so can you.

Vinjay / Photo by Fally Afani

If you don’t show up for rap and hip-hop, not only are you missing out on a good time, but you risk turning artists from the genre off to Lawrence. This show was a blessing, the place was thick with only good vibes. We genuinely wish you could have felt it. But you HAVE TO SHOW UP.

Do better, Lawrence.



Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 20 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

Leave a Reply