Friday, April 26, 2019

KRS-One

Lawrence "Kris" Parker (born August 20, 1965), better known by his stage names KRS-One, and Teacha, is an American rapper and occasional producer from The Bronx, New York. KRS-One rose to prominence as part of the hip hop music group Boogie Down Productions, which he formed with DJ Scott La Rock in the mid-1980s. KRS-One is best known for his top hits, "Sound of da Police", "Love's gonna get'cha (material love)" and "My Philosophy". Boogie Down Productions are sometimes considered one of the first rap groups to inspire both gangsta rap and conscious rap. They received numerous awards and critical acclaim in their early years. Following the release of the group's debut album, Criminal Minded, La Rock was shot and killed, but KRS-One continued the group, effectively as a solo project. He began releasing records under his own name in 1993. KRS-One is politically active, having started the Stop the Violence Movement, after the death of Scott La Rock.

Lawrence Parker was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1965 and raised by a single Bajan mother. Parker left home at 16 to become an MC, coming to live at a homeless shelter in the South Bronx where he was dubbed "Krisna" by residents because of his interest in the Hare Krishna spirituality of some of the antipoverty workers. By the time he met youth counselor Scott Sterling, he was also writing graffiti as KRS-One (Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone). Together he and Sterling, a.k.a. DJ Scott La Rock, created Boogie Down Productions, releasing their debut album, Criminal Minded, in 1987.

KRS-One began his recording career as one third of the hip hop group Boogie Down Productions, or BDP, alongside DJ Scott La Rock and Derrick "D-Nice" Jones. After being rejected by radio DJs Mr. Magic and Marley Marl, KRS-One would go on to diss the two and those associated with them, sparking what would later be known as The Bridge Wars. Additionally, KRS-One had taken offense to "The Bridge", a song by Marley Marl's protege, MC Shan (later on, KRS-One produced an album with Marley Marl in 2007) The song could be interpreted as a claim that Queensbridge was the monument of hip-hop, though MC Shan has repeatedly denied this claim. Still, KRS-One "dissed" the song with the BDP record "South Bronx." Next, a second round of volleys would ensue with Shan's "Kill That Noise" and BDP's "The Bridge Is Over." KRS-One, demonstrating his nickname "The Blastmaster", gave a live performance against MC Shan, and many conceded he had won the battle. Many believe this live performance to be the first MC battle where rappers attack each other, instead of a battle between who can get the crowd more hyped.

Parker and Sterling decided to form a rap group together, initially calling themselves "Scott La Rock and the Celebrity Three". That was short-lived, however, as the two peripheral members quit, leaving Parker (now calling himself KRS-One) and Sterling. They then decided to call themselves "Boogie Down Productions". "Success is the Word", a 12-inch single produced by David Kenneth Eng and Kenny Beck, was released on indie Fresh/Sleeping Bag Records (under the group name "12:41") but did not enjoy commercial success. Boogie Down Productions released their debut album Criminal Minded in 1987. The album, whose cover pictured BDP draped in ammunition and brandishing guns, is often credited with setting the template for the burgeoning genres of hardcore and gangsta rap. Scott La Rock was killed in a shooting later that year, after attempting to mediate a dispute between teenager and BDP member D-Nice and local hoodlums.

During this time KRS-One also gained acclaim as one of the first MCs to incorporate Jamaican style into hip-hop, using the Zung gu zung melody, originally made famous by Yellowman in Jamaican dance halls earlier in the decade. While KRS-One used Zunguzung styles in a more powerful and controversial manner, especially in his song titled "Remix for P is Free", he can still be credited as one of the more influential figures to bridge the gap between Jamaican music and American Hip-Hop.

Following the fatal shooting of Scott La Rock in 1987, KRS was determined to continue Boogie Down Productions through the tragedy, releasing the album By All Means Necessary in 1988. He was joined by beatboxer D-Nice, rapper Ramona "Ms. Melodie" Parker (whose marriage to Kris would last from 1988 to 1992), and Kris's younger brother DJ Kenny Parker, among others. However, Boogie Down Productions would remain Kris's show, and their content would become increasingly political through its subsequent releases Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop, Edutainment, Live Hardcore Worldwide and Sex and Violence.

KRS-One was the primary initiator behind the H.E.A.L. compilation and the Stop the Violence Movement; for the latter he would attract many prominent emcees to appear on the 12-inch single "Self Destruction". As Parker adopted this "humanist", less defensive approach, he turned away from his "Blastmaster" persona and towards that of "The Teacha", although he has constantly used "Blastmaster" throughout his career.

After five largely solo albums under the name "Boogie Down Productions," KRS-One decided to set out on his own. On his first solo album, 1993's Return of the Boom Bap, Parker worked together with producers DJ Premier, Kid Capri and Showbiz, the latter providing the catchy-yet-hardcore track "Sound of da Police". His second album, 1995's KRS-One, featured Channel Live on "Free Mumia", a song in which they criticize Black Civil Rights Activist C. Delores Tucker among others. Other prominent guest stars on KRS-One included Mad Lion, Busta Rhymes, Das EFX and Fat Joe.

In 1991, KRS-One appeared on the alternative rock group R.E.M.'s single "Radio Song", which appeared on the band's album Out of Time, released the same year.

In 1992, Bradley Nowell from Sublime featured an acoustic song named "KRS-One" with his voice and DJ's samplers.

In 1995, KRS organized a group called Channel Live, whose album Station Identification he produced most of, along with Rheji Burrell and Salaam Remi.

In 1997, Parker surprised many with his release of the album I Got Next. The album's lead single "Step into a World (Rapture's Delight)", containing an interpolation of punk and new wave group Blondie, was accompanied by a remix featuring commercial rap icon Puff Daddy; another track was essentially a rock song. While the record would be his best-selling solo album (reaching #3 on the Billboard 200), such collaborations with notably mainstream artists and prominent, easily recognizable samples took many fans and observers of the vehemently anti-mainstream KRS-One by surprise.

In August 1997, an appearance on Tim Westwood's BBC Radio 1 KRS-One criticised BBC Radio 1 for not playing underground hip hop whilst also crediting Westwood for his promotion of hip hop over time. KRS-One continued to say that Jive Records and Radio 1 did not support him, but finished by saluting Westwood with "you know you're my man".

In 1999, there were tentative plans to release Maximum Strength; a lead single, "5 Boroughs", was released on The Corruptor movie soundtrack. However, Parker apparently decided to abort the album's planned release, just as he had secured a position as a Vice-President of A&R at Reprise Records. The shelved album was again scheduled to be released in 2008, but ultimately an unrelated album entitled "Maximum Strength 2008" was released in its place. He moved to southern California, and stayed there for two years, ending his relationship with Jive Records with A Retrospective in 2000.


Parker resigned from his A&R position at Reprise in 2001, and returned to recording with a string of albums, beginning with 2001's The Sneak Attack on Koch Records. In 2002, he released a gospel-rap album, Spiritual Minded, surprising many longtime fans; Parker had once denounced Christianity as a "slavemaster religion" which African-Americans should not follow. During this period, KRS founded the Temple of Hiphop, an organization to preserve and promote "Hiphop Kulture". Other releases have since included 2003's Kristyles and D.I.G.I.T.A.L., 2004's Keep Right, and 2006's Life.

The only latter-day KRS-One album to gain any significant attention has been Hip-Hop Lives, his 2007 collaboration with fellow hip hop veteran Marley Marl, due in large part to the pair's legendary beef, but also the title's apparent response to Nas' 2006 release Hip-Hop Is Dead. While many critics have commented they would have been a lot more excited had this collaboration occurred twenty years earlier, the album has been met with positive reviews. KRS-One has appeared on several songs with other artists, due to this he has received 9 Gold and 7 Platinum plaques.

KRS-One has collaborated with several artists including Canadian Rap group Hellafactz, Jay-Roc N' Jakebeatz and New York producer Domingo among other. He and Domingo publicly squashed their beef that started over financial issues and released a digital single to iTunes on November 25. The single titled "Radio" will also feature Utah up and comer Eneeone and is dedicated to underground MC's that don't get the radio airplay they deserve. In 2009 KRS-One guest starred on several albums including Arts & Entertainment on the song "Pass the Mic" by fellow Hip Hop veterans Masta Ace & Ed O.G and featured on the posse cut "Mega Fresh X" by Cormega (alongside DJ Red Alert, Parrish Smith, Grand Puba, & Big Daddy Kane) on his album Born and Raised.


KRS-One and Buckshot announced that they would be collaborating on an album set to be released in 2009. The first single, ROBOT, was released on May 5, 2009. The music video was directed by Todd Angkasuwan and debuted as the New Joint of the Day on 106 & Park on September 4, 2009. The album leaked on the Internet on September 9, 2009 and the album was officially released on September 15, 2009. It debuted at #62, making it on The Billboard 200 selling around 8,500 copies its first week and was met with generally positive reviews. Steve Juon of RapReviews.com gave the album a flawless 10 out of 10, claiming "Buckshot and KRS have achieved something rather remarkable here – an album I can't find a single fault with. There's not a bad beat, there's not a whack rhyme, there's not a collaborator on a track that missed the mark, and the disc itself is neither too short nor too long."

In 2010 KRS-One was honored along with Buckshot by artists Ruste Juxx, Torae & Skyzoo, Sha Stimuli, Promise, J.A.M.E.S. Watts and Team Facelift to name a few on their mixtape 'Survival Kit' which is an ode to the 2009 album Survival Skills by KRS-One and Buckshot. The mixtape was released for free download on DuckDown.com. The album features new version of KRS classics 'South Bronx', 'Sound of da Police' and 'MC's Act Like They Don't Know' as well as new versions of well known Buckshot songs and 'Past Present Future' from the Survival Skills album. The MC Fashawn stated in his verse on MC's Act Like They Don't Know that 'I did it to make Kris smile I figured he'd appreciate it' KRS-One influenced many artist of both the north and the south. The brother of the up and coming artist Ciera L. Smith follows much of his style of rapping.

KRS-One was featured as the voice of Chris Cringle in the new Nike Most Valuable Puppets commercials. KRS-One performed in May 2010 at SUNY New Paltz for their annual "Rock Against Racism" concert. KRS-One also narrated the 2011 film Rhyme and Punishment, a documentary about Hip-Hop artists who have done jail time. That same year, KRS-One was featured in the title song for the film You Got Served: Beat the World. The song is entitled "Hip Hop Nation," and features other performers K'naan and Lina. It was produced for the film by Frank Fitzpatrick.

In 2012 KRS-One toured Australia for the first time. He traveled to Australia by cruise boat, as he hates flying.

The Stop the Violence Movement was formed by KRS-One in 1988/1989 in response to violence in the hip hop and black communities.

During a concert by Boogie Down Productions and Public Enemy a young fan was killed in a fight. Coming soon after the shooting death of his friend and fellow BDP member Scott La Rock, KRS-One was galvanized into action and formed the Stop the Violence Movement. Composed of some of the biggest stars in contemporary East Coast hip hop, the movement released a single, "Self Destruction", in 1989, with all proceeds going to the National Urban League. A music video was created, and a VHS cassette entitled Overcoming Self-Destruction – The Making of the Self-Destruction Video was also released.

"Self-Destruction" was produced by KRS-One and D-Nice of Boogie Down Productions (Hank Shocklee of The Bomb Squad is credited as an associate producer).

The Temple of Hip Hop is a ministry, archive, School, and Society (M.A.S.S.) founded by KRS-One. Its goal is to maintain and promote Hiphop Culture. The Temple of Hip Hop maintains that Hip Hop is a genuine political movement, religion, and culture, as it has been accepted by the United Nations as a religion. The Temple of Hiphop calls on all Hip Hop fans to celebrate Hip Hop Appreciation Week. It encourages DJs and MCs to teach people about the culture of Hiphop, to write more socially conscious songs, and radio stations to play more socially conscious hip hop. Hip Hop Appreciation Week is celebrated on the third week of May each year. Hip Hop History Month (November), founded by the Universal Zulu Nation, is also recognized.

Albums

With Boogie Down Productions 

Criminal Minded (1987)
By All Means Necessary (1988)
Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop (1989)
Edutainment (1990)
Sex and Violence (1992)

Solo Albums

Return of the Boom Bap (1993)
KRS-One (1995)
I Got Next (1997)
The Sneak Attack (2001)
Spiritual Minded (2002)
Kristyles (2003)
Keep Right (2004)
Life (2006)
Adventures in Emceein (2008)
Maximum Strength (2008)
The BDP Album (2012)
Now Hear This (2015)
The World Is Mind (2017)

Videos


Self Destruction


My Philosophy


MC's Act Like They Don't Know


Step Into a World

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