Classic Review : KRS One in The Source (1995)

July 8, 2007

Review of an advance copy of KRS self-titled album, which was then titled Hip-Hop vs. Rap and was supposed to include “What I Know”.

KRS One : What I Know (DivShare)

Hip-Hop vs. Rap is like a greatest hits album from KRS and BDP, meaning that the best elements from his past albums are exhumed, brushed off, pumped up with new life and made FRESH for ’95, you suckers ! Armed with fierce, lyrical voracity, the king of self-hype and promotion truculently challenges any MC and aims to back up whatever he claims. So with “MCs Act Like They Don’t Know”, battle mode is pressed. Kris opens using the melody from Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks” to rock his flow. as DJ Premier provides the break beats. The beat is caressed with chiming bells, monotonous piano keys and cuts and scratches, all meshed over a slick bass line. Delivering for the hardcore. Kris proceeds to flip different styles, drop punchllnes, sing different melodies and challenge, harass, spank and punish all wick, wick, wack MCs. The gauntlet tossed. Kris is ready to go skills for skills, toe to toe, in a battle for worldwide rap supremacy.

This theme only builds and manifests further with tracks like “Build Your Skillz” (featuring Busta Rhymes), “Ah Yeah !” and “Rappers Are in Danger.” Droppin’ ill styles, flows and lyrics, Kris proceeds to “run shit like diarrhea” and volunteers to “get you open like a prostitute’s butt cheeks.“ “Ah Yeah !” offers classic BDP deep bass, marching drums, aggravated trebles and enough “Bo ! Bo ! Bo !”s that you’ll think he’s Riddick. A swinging beat and repetitive digital sound reminiscent of the classic “Jimmy” allow Kris to continue his barrage, enveloping you with his lyrical dexterity. In “Rappers Are in Danger.” a sampled O.C. informs MCs he’s takin’ respect while KRS explains that any MC can battle for glory, but to kick a dope rhyme to wake up your peoples is another story.

Interwoven with battle lyrics, there always looms knowledge. “Natural” speaks on God and Jesus, rearranging the popularly accepted God picture with pure KRS facts. A Diamond D supplied track brings “What I Know”, which speaks on the untaught history of brutality against Blacks from 1906 to the present. Kris rocks your knot and schools ya at the same lime. “Give Me Relief”” is “Stop The Violence” 1995 style, as it’s made clear that we shouldn’t be afraid to apologize. grant forgiveness, say you‘re sorry or be a neutral vegetarian‘; or quite simply to not indulge in beefs. A couple of tracks manage to slow down the pace and subtract from the full value of this offering, but not enough to hinder the overall tight production and lyrical intensity. Blessed with years of consistency, an MC‘s skills can be taken for granted and thus slept on. Caution : don’t sleep.

A.L. DRE


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