It was a blistering cold January evening and I had tickets to a show—reluctant, but determined, I was prepped to attend a Kirk Knight concert that night at Rough Trade in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. My hesitance about the whole ordeal quickly faded as I stepped into the warmth of a familiar venue where, of course, another Pro Era member, Dessy Hinds, was playing. A young Brooklyn rapper known for his hit “Savior”, Dessy livened the audience perfectly for the man we all came to see, Kirk Knight.
Like most shows at Rough Trade, the setting was intimate insofar as Dessy and Kirk’s faces were clear to all the audience members in the back. The crowd appeared to be divided through degrees of fandom; ride or die fans moshed and sang along in a concentrated circle towards the front, and then scattered sets of people with varying degrees of interest stood around that circle. I was definitely on the front lines of the non-moshers, and I may have been the only girl up-front rapping to so many Kirk Knight songs. There was an obvious gender imbalance with far more men than women at this show, and they all seemed like variations of the same 23 to 27-year-old, bitter-yet-passionate, young man…. variations of Knight himself, maybe?
It was clear that Knight bonded with the fans as he would frequently engage with the vanguard of his audience between songs. At one point Kirk called out for a missing iPhone that one of his crew-members had lost. Justin, a young fan at the front lines turned it in—later that night, Justin would lead the mosh pit. Knight’s energy that night provided the glue for all the scattered sets of listeners; his pride, talent and passion for music shined in every single performance. Fans were particularly responsive to hits like “Leverage” off his new album Iiwii (It is what it is). Iiwii is Knight’s third studio-album which he dropped in Oct. 2018 through Pro Era.
Although it wasn’t a crowded show, it was the right number of people for a party. It was already 11:30pm, Knight may have gone overtime, but it didn’t matter when he jumped into a mass of people that carried and cheered for him. I’ll admit I didn’t partake in the crowd-surfing—I am not the type, let alone the height, to be a valuable member. With that said, it was a sight to see, that clump of acrimonious, young men resonated with Knight and each other on a level of which I was envious. At the end of the show, Knight jumped off the stage and yelled “To the merch booth!” with his whole crew behind him, and the audience quickly followed.
Rappers like Knight will always have a very specific following or fan base. Although his most recent album wasn’t received too well by critics, his ride or die fans haven’t wavered, that much was clear at this concert.