When: Saturday, Sept. 27, 9 p.m.
Admission: $15 in advance, $20 at the door
Known to friends, family and colleagues as Kevin Brereton,
hip hop fans are far more likely to recognize the name, K-OS.
Despite the somewhat negative implications of his stage
moniker, K-OS actually stands for “knowledge of self.”
“I think knowing yourself is more of a process than it is
something that you arrive at,” he said. “…It’s a constant undertaking to be
aware of what you’re thinking, feeling, intonating. So much so that some people
just decide they’re not going to do it.”
But K-OS contends that his music provides him with a unique
opportunity to reflect on how he has grown and evolved.
“The advantage is, with music, I can hear it in a very
exaggerated way, because a song is pretty much your emotions on tape,” he
explained. “…My knowledge of self doesn’t come from sitting around my house and
just thinking about what I do, it comes from, ‘let me go listen to those songs
I did when I was 18 and see the difference between what I’m kickin’ now and
what I was kickin’ then.’”
With soulful lyrics, melodies and messages, K-OS is
something of an open-minded poet, his three full-length albums, Exit, Joyful
Rebellion and Atlantis: Hymns for Disco, featuring elements of reggae, rap,
rock and funk, and collaborations with groups like Broken Social Scene and Sam
Embracing his reputation as something of a musical zealot,
K-OS is particularly passionate about artists having a strong understanding of
self before acting as a role model.
“It may be okay to be like that sometimes on stage or in
some songs, just to let yourself go, but for the most part I feel like it’s the
responsibility of a musical artist to be aware of what they feel so they can
make a statement on society that is responsible,” he said.
Well, K-OS certainly doesn’t shy away from making a
Lyrically, Exit and Joyful Rebellion were quite critical of
modern hip-hop and the industry as a whole.
“I gained success from criticizing the system. So now I
can’t talk about how fucked up the system is, so I just ended up talking about
how fucked up stardom is,” he said with a laugh, pointing out that that’s what
“Sunday Morning,” “Mirror in the Sky” and “Born to Run” are all about.