KRS-One is being celebrated in a concrete way to align with the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop. Italian street artist Jorit painted a mural of the esteemed rapper in the Lower East Side, where the Bronx native was once homeless.
“Wow! Just wow!” KRS, 57, exclaimed to FOX 5 NY. “There is no award that is above this. I grew up here. KRS-One grew up in this neighborhood and was less than every single person here. I was homeless. I might have slept right there. [Hip Hop taught me] I can do anything.”
Jorit added, “KRS-One is aggressive, but he always looked to unite the aggressiveness and force of rap with positive messages.”
In July 2022, Chuck D, Kurtis Blow, and Doug E. Fresh founded the Hip-Hop Alliance—a first of its kind non-profit with a mission “to fight for fair wages, fair royalties, strong health and retirement benefits for artists in the Hip Hop and R&B community.” Chuck D and Blow serve as president and vice president, while KRS and Doug E. serve as chairman and vice chairman, respectively.
The alliance’s advisory board includes Slick Rick, Willie D, DJ Scratch, DJ Hollywood, DJ Cassidy, Davy DMX, and Alonzo Williams among others.
Just last month, they extended an invite to Bow Wow to join a conversation after he fired off on Twitter about “Hip Hop [needing] a board.” In full, the Mr. 106 & Park tweeted, “Hip hop needs a board! No different than the NBA w/ the players association. A committee. That can set rules and keep things in control and protect this thing we call hip hop! And have a retirement plan for the og rappers. I hate seeing my heros liquor’d out no money just washed.”
Rock The Bells reported that prior to the chat, the Alliance released a statement on the matter.
“Like every other aspect of society’s workforce, the artists and creators of Hip Hop need protection, support and advocacy,” the statement reads. “From label disputes to intellectual property retrieval and the need for an overall governing body, the Hip Hop Alliance was established.”
It continued, “Recent comments this weekend created a unique opportunity to bring forth a conversation that many in Hip Hop & R&B have been addressing for a long time. The need of a governing body of Hip Hop. The goal of HHA is to empower artists to make informed decisions about their career and ensure that their rights are respected and protected […] Now is the time for all of us to come together.”