CES CRU - The best hip-hop you aren't listening to.
CES CRU, a hip-hop group hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, performed a remarkable set at the Granada in support of Tech N9ne. Their sound is captivating, unique, and addictive. Until January 20th, I had never heard of them. I was there to review Tech. I must admit, I was instantly engaged by their beats and lyrical cadence. It was a hell of a show.
I take pride in the fact that most local music doesn’t get by me. Meaning, If I hadn’t heard the artist, I’ve heard OF them. Genre doesn’t apply. Independent and Local music of all styles tend to have a drive and passion that most headlining mainstream artists lack. That’s what makes them so enjoyable. They are as hungry to play for their audience as their audience is to see their show.
That’s what made CES Cru such a mystery for me. They are local, they are unique, they are hungry, and I had NEVER heard of them. When the set began, I turned to a young lady standing beside me, rapping and singing along with their songs, and asked who they were. She pointed at her hat, CES CRU. I noticed, at that moment, that most of the audience around me were wearing gear from the group. It was an even mix of CES gear and TECH N9NE merch.
From one song to the next CES CRU captivated their fans with their gritty, honest lyrics and audience interaction. At one point in the show the group threw themselves into the audience continuing their show, making their fans part of the experience as opposed to merely spectators. Not only was I impressed, I was somewhat star struck. I even found myself rapping along with the hook of the songs they performed. I forgot, for a moment, that I was reviewing the show as opposed to being another fan in the sea of onlookers.
When their set was over, I spoke to some fans about the group. One fan said they were KC hip-hops best kept secret. I would have to agree. It’s been quite a while since a hip-hop group wowed me. This one completed that task with ease.
If you have never seen them, remedy it. You will not be disappointed.