Kings, The Tuning Fork, 24 August 2019

“How’d you like me now?” chanted kiwi rapper Kings, cheered on by a loving crowd of fans that hung on to his every word.

The final act of Kings’ Flex Tour came to a close on Saturday at Auckland’s Tuning Fork and Kingdon Chapple-Wilson did not disappoint. The crowd at the sold-out show throbbed with anticipation during the long wait after opening acts the Katayanagi Twins and Unchained XL and roared when he finally took the stage.

The Auckland born rapper brought everything he had to this last show, jumping, dancing and hopping into the crowd towards the end of the show. Even though he told us his voice was struggling in the aftermath of previous shows, nothing slowed him down.

Kings performed with tracks, along-side an incredible drummer and a multi-instrumentalist, who played so tightly together that if you closed your eyes you could believe that it was all part of the recording. The entire show had been thought out so meticulously that the overall effect was stunning. Light triggers were synced to the rhythm so that they sparked with every beat, and this paired with the background visual (a mix of animated imagery and the artists own music videos) were completely on point. Every part of the performance was deliberate and choreographed, without coming across as rehearsed or forced.

Each song was animated, passionate and grooving. Even with his stripped back numbers where he picked up the electric guitar and sang to us, there was a toughness and a substance behind the phrasing. He wanted to make his point and portray his feelings to anyone who could hear him.

His song 6 Figures caused a big stir, as Kings encouraged audience participation, whilst his song with Aux, Sippin’ On Yak, was both enjoyable to sing along to and visually entertaining. Flex, the newly released single, was an awesome assortment of rhythm and flow that had everyone bouncing and swaying. His incredible ability to express his words through beat and personality takes this artist to the next level.

Kings was a complete character on stage, demanding the audience’s attention – expressive, humorous and cool. However, the genuine humbleness and obvious gratitude to his family and fans was heart-warming. He took the time to share his stories, the reasons for his songs and to thank his Nana (who was standing somewhere in the crowd) for encouraging him to pursue his musical passions.

Kings is something special. He brings substance to his craft that a lot of hip-hop artists here in New Zealand and overseas seem to have forgotten – a sense of pride for where he comes from, and a desire to express what should be important to his listeners and to himself.

Definitely someone to keep an eye on and if you get the chance to see him live – grab it!

~Kat Parsons

Click on any image to view a gallery of photos by Rachel Webb