So let’s dispense with the formalities. KRS-One is one cocky bastard. The Bronx, New York rap giant, who once claimed that he was so far connected with the culture and artform of hip-hop that it was his dog, has never been one to shy away from grandiose, what-the-fuck statements. And at the moment, Lawrence Krisna Parker is in another one of those audacious zones. “I honestly now know that I’m the physical embodiment of hip-hop on earth,” KRS declares to VIBE with a knowing laugh. “That’s my only purpose here on earth is to keep the culture together long enough for it to remain everything that we thought it could be when I was coming up.”
But as seemingly lordly as the 46-year-old comes off, KRS-One is an earnest man. Within a span of 25 years, the founder and lead MC of Boogie Down Productions kicked off the gangsta rap movement with late DJ and partner Scott La Rock (1987’s indispensable Criminal Minded); recorded arguably the blueprint for all ruthless battle records (“The Bridge Is Over”); helped usher in conscious hip-hop (1988’s By All Means Necessary); rallied artists to take an activist stand on black-on-black violence (“Self Destruction”); preached the gospel of hip-hop not only as sheer party music, but as a life-saving religion (1990’s Edutainment); and made the second greatest comeback in hip-hop folklore after LL Cool J declared Mama Said Knock You Out (1993’s Return of the Boom Bap).
His latest release, The BDP Album, finds KRS returning to his vaunted South Bronx outfit after years of defiant solo statements. And he’s still thinking big. “When my time is up in hip-hop it’s going to remain what Afrika Bambaataa thought it was supposed to be,” he says of his legacy. “It’s going to remain what Kool Herc thought it was supposed to be; what Wu-Tang Clan sees it as; what Outkast sees it as; what Snoop Dogg sees it as. People are trying to forget that brand of hip-hop. You hear them say, ‘Oh, fuck that oldschool shit…we are not doing that.’ But these people are not doing it because they can’t. We are not going to allow our culture just to be thrown to the side and forgotten about because somebody’s record didn’t sell or some trend didn’t happen.” This is the remarkable recording history of KRS-One. This is Full Clip.—Keith Murphy
Click Below To Begin