Urban Legend: KRS-One

Hip-hop icon KRS-One could rap about anything. The sound bomber from the boogie down Bronx is one of the most technically-gifted artists to ever touch a microphone. Ranked on numerous Top 10 best MCs lists, KRS-One’s boisterous, energetic delivery, unmistakable voice, and ability to write or freestyle unforgettable rhymes makes him one of the greatest recording artists of all time. For him, writing a simple rhyme about consuming alcoholic beverages, visiting gentlemen’s and/or night clubs with VIP access, and fishing for loose women with financial bait would be as easy as tying shoe laces. Instead, he builds titanium rocket boots with a Thinsulate lining, fueling them with educated queries and social consciousness.

KRS One_mugBorn Lawrence Parker, KRS-One is an acronym for Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone. After meeting Scott Sterling, aka DJ Scott La Rock, in South Bronx, they’d team with D-Nice (Derrick Jones) to form the legendary group Boogie Down Productions.

The blunt honesty and social and political commentary found on their debut LP, 1987’s Criminal Minded, was a groundbreaking eye opener. Today the album can be found on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time,” The Source’s “100 Best Rap Albums,” and Vibe’s “100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century.”

As a solo act, KRS-One’s appeal and voice grew stronger, evidenced on such hit songs as “You Must Learn” and “Outta Here.” After the shooting death of Scott La Rock and a fan at one his concerts, KRS-One launched the Stop The Violence Movement which birthed 1989’s “Self-Destruction,” the classic single featuring an all-star line-up of hip-hop artists. Following Tupac Shakur’s and Notorious B.I.G.’s deaths in the late ‘90s, KRS-One joined Dr. Dre’s Group Therapy for their collective call for coastal peace on 1996’s “East Coast/West Coast Killas.”

On any beat, any subject, KRS-One kills it. He’s slayed impressively over 12 critically acclaimed studio solo albums, this includes chart-toppers Return of the Boom Bap, I Got Next, and Keep Right. To this day, on record or in person, with or without music, he continues to speak out about social and political issues that simply will not die. Respected nationally and internationally for his rhyme skills and intellectual views, KRS-One is truly a legend in urban culture.

—Mr. Joe Walker

Mr. Joe Walker is an urban and pop culture enthusiast. Known as “The Word Heavyweight Champion”, the biographer, author, entertainment and celebrity journalist, and columnist is currently a senior writer for SoulTrain.com, staff writer for Muskegon Tribune Newspaper, and writer of weekly classic hip-hop reviews for Concrete Magazine’s Concrete615.com. Also co-creator of TheGrooveSpot.com, Walker’s acclaimed, award-winning work has been published thousands of times regionally, nationally, internationally, and online. He is also working on a book project with Liquid Arts & Entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @mrjoewalker, connect with him on Facebook, and also visit his blog MrJoeWalker.blogspot.com.

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