Review // CunninLynguists reward fans with a journey through their back catalogue

The Kentucky hip hop trio brought their new album and a healthy dose of classics to The Fleece

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The Fleece has played host to a strong list of hip hop talent in 2017 and this October, CunninLynguists added their name to the list. If it wasn’t a sell-out, it was damn close and it was maybe the busiest hip hop gig I’ve seen there since Atmosphere in 2015.

the set consisted of a decent mix of records from all of their previous critically-acclaimed albums

Deacon the Villain, Kno and Natti burst onto the stage at a decent time, not leaving the crowd waiting long after the warm up. Less than a week before, the group released their new album Rose Azura Njano, however the set consisted of a decent mix of records from all of their previous critically-acclaimed albums.

It was evident from the off that all three were enjoying themselves. Since When was a solid choice to set the night in motion and a classic example of their unique sound. The Kentucky trio complemented each other perfectly throughout the show, curating a brilliantly varied CunninLynguists setlist.

The group’s lyrics have always focused on personal experiences whilst simultaneously putting the emptiness of mainstream rap into the spotlight

The group’s lyrics have always focused on personal experiences whilst simultaneously putting the emptiness of mainstream rap into the spotlight. Although they never took the leap to the mass market (and probably never wanted to), CunninLynguists’s fans pack out the underground like the London tube at rush hour.

‘Who smokes weed?’ was a rhetorical question

Beautiful Girl proved another hit with the crowd, especially when the song’s character Jane became Mary Jane for a crowd-pleasing rendition of the classic track. ‘Who smokes weed?’ was a rhetorical question before the ode to the herb jumped straight into the simple but effective Brownie Song, giving a giggling audience with some comic relief somewhere in the middle of the set.

From light-hearted to deep and poignant, a varying set that captured the audience from start to finish hit a peak with Seasons from Southern Underground

From light-hearted to deep and poignant, a varying set that captured the audience from start to finish hit a peak with Seasons from Southern Underground. We were given just about enough of a chance to catch our breath as the goosebumps that the sound of the intro’s strings induce formed. Masta Ace wasn’t missed on the track and those few minutes will likely be remembered by many for years to come. During some of those more instrumentally focused numbers, it’s got to be said that the sound at The Fleece was on point.

Trizz made a brief appearance to perform his feature on Gone from brand new album Rose Azura Njano, before Natti and Deacon dabbled with some songs from their solo careers towards the end. Kno was the joker of the group, keeping a running joke going with the crowd by introducing himself as Mac Miller, Macklemore, Vanilla Ice… It probably won’t win him a call up from Edinburgh Fringe, but aided the bond with the fans with his likeability.

Enter the violins, enter nostalgic euphoria

Enter the violins, enter nostalgic euphoria: 2001 track Lynguistics ended the night on a predictable yet suitably brilliant note after a great night. Regardless of how well the new album goes on to be received by fans, there’s no doubt that CunninLynguists will remain on the playlists of hip hop fans for years to come, and they rewarded their followers with a brilliant night of live music.

Words by Callum Rees

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