By Jimmy Ring | June 28, 2023
📸: shot by Gaby Garcia
The park was hot and the vibe was high as the sun set and the beat conductor warmed up. As Knxwledge took to the sticks in the cockpit of his DJ booth, the anticipation was high within the crowd, everyone eager for takeoff. A worthy pilot, the producer was calm, cool, and collected, and clearly ready to take us up to cruising altitude atop the giant lightboard where his station rested. The excitement reached a head as his co-pilot, Anderson .Paak, strutted onto the stage, decked out in a black suit and a giant fuzzy hat. The pre-flight speech was short and to the point. “Is Brooklyn in the house?” cried Paak. In response to a roaring response from the main cabin, Knxwledge prompted his passengers, “Y’all wanna hear some new shit?” And with that, the jets fired, the landing gear lifted, and NxWorries flight number 6/24 headed for the skies.
For over eight years, NxWorries has been safely transporting countless fans into the soft sunkissed skies of soulful hip hop music. Anderson .Paak shines like the setting sun, delivering seductive, luscious lyrics that complement Knxwledge’s masterfully sampled beats. Yes Lawd, the duo’s first and only album to date, showcases the balance between Paak’s suave showmanship and Knx’s intricately composed layers of sound. Both in the studio and on the live stage, NxWorries has proved itself more than capable of piloting a decadent glide through warm velvet soundscapes and tantalizing poetry.
True to their character, the pair seemed ecstatic to be performing on a hot summer night in front of a sold-out Brooklyn crowd. The captains braved the takeoff, boldly opening their set with an unreleased track. After a rapid ascent, the duo quickly leveled out the ship and dropped seamlessly into the familiar “Wngs,” which features delicate vocals strewn across heavy, reverberating bass and delicate melodic tones. Two-steps broke out, heads bobbed, and vocal cords rang as the night went on. Paak showed off his talents as a born showman, dancing and cracking jokes the whole time. After asking a member of the crowd what kind of car they drove and receiving “the subway” as a response, he tweaked the lyrics of “Kutless,” singing, “All this room on the Suuub-way.” While Paak looped and barreled, Knx remained steady on the ones and twos.
Paak then left the stage and Knxwledge steered the ship into the remix zone. Nostalgic verses from N.W.A, Jay-Z, and Lenny Kravitz were given new life against a backdrop of dense lo-fi beats in Knxwledge’s signature style. He displayed diligent craftsmanship, smoothly bouncing betweens tracks without a hint of turbulence. Paak returned to the stage to lay down a slow, sensual ride through some of NxWorries originals, including a blistering yet tender guitar sit-in by Jairus “J-Mo” Mozee on “Daydreaming.”
After another detour into the remix zone, Knxwledge dropped into “Link Up” and Paak led a soul train full of ladies out onto the stage. The parade stretched across the stage, and different women took their turns hopping into center stage to dance. Paak showed his expertise as a microphone conductor, letting the bolder members of the group strut their stuff before escorting the shyer ladies into the spotlight. The audience was delighted to see members of the crowd so intimately involved in the spectacle. At one point, Paak even tugged one of the cameraman’s sleeves and got him to boogie down. Knxwledge kept the party going with a remix of Whitney Houston’s“I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and several other classic disco tunes. They finally performed “Suede,” and the crowd drew a collective breath for the song that first brought the duo together in 2015. The track quickly cut off, however, as Anderson .Paak insisted that this song was “one of the ONES” and that the audience needed to get “a whole lot freakier.” When the song dropped in again, it was as if all pressure had left the cabin. All stresses melted away and the crowd sang along as the flight reached peak altitude. After a slow rendition of “Jodi” to calm things down, and a triumphant performance of “Scared Money” to cap things off, both performers came down to center stage to take a bow together. Anderson .Paak left, but Knxwledge wasn’t quite ready to stop. Continuing on with Latin beats, disco grooves, and funk remixes, the lead pilot played until the sound booth cut the jets and turned on the exit row lights. He expressed his gratitude over roaring applause and thanked us for choosing NxWorries for our Saturday night flight.