Artist: KRS OneTitle: The KRStyleRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Paine
For the last three KRS-One albums, there was a lot of hype but little
satisfaction. Even with Pete Rock remixes, mixtapes, and updated versions of
classics like South Bronx, the albums weren’t leaving the same impact as the Teacher’s
earlier work.. Listeners found his albums failing to deliver the blend of music and
message they had come to expect. Many wondered if Kris would ever regain his Blastmaster status. Just as some of the most dedicated purists were ready to count the Teacher out, Kris hits us with The Krstyle an album on par with the best solo work.
Ever since I Got Next! KRS-1 has really toned his albums down. No more
Jive Records, no more Preemo beats, no more Fat Joe or Redman cameos. After his first three solo projects, Kris made simpler hip-hop records in terms of production and presentation. For the
most part, the streets stopped listening. Without the radio or video love, KRS
resorted to pleasing his core audience of hip-hop purists. But Krstyle,
unlike the recent records, dares to pull the unlikely listeners back in.
Just Guru credits Gang Starr’s reign to updated formulas, KRS has followed suit. While maintaining the characteristics of previous works (read: that ol boom bap), KRS is starting to make tracks that stand apart from each other. More notable production is welcomes back with three Beatminerz cuts. On two tracks, DJ Revolution is added to bring
the DJ back into the Blastmaster’s sound. One of those tracks, “9 Elements”
will encourage the b-boy to roll out the mat and kick it to Kris once more. KRS
still delivers with his overzealous poise. Kris still spends most of the album
challenging the listener to treat hip-hop better. The albums sequencing is balanced, thus this album doesnt leave us with that bittersweet feeling of his recent efforts.
KRStyle is 2003 hip-hop made by an MC who’s been doing it since 1979.
You probably wont hear this on the radio as much as you should. Still, The
Only One, is a track that really took into consideration the way today’s
hip-hop sounds. Unlike a track relying heavily on flow, KRS crafts a song, arguably
a ballad. The beat layed down by Boston’s Inebriated Beats, is
the most melodic you’ll find on the record with a distorted vocal sample, and lyrics narrating KRS love for his wife. The other standout track is the title track, with its classic
Beatminerz beat stabs giving KRS room to rip and brag his way to the top. Boom Bap /
I am hip hop, they do rap / I heat seek and beat down these new jacks, may
look simple on paper, but KRS really puts that love back in the headphones.
This album is not a departure from the KRS catalog. Rather, KRS really
took the last year to listen to his criticism. He gave us the very thing that we
loved all along: an education. Hip-hop is still searching to prove that a
veteran can endure in terms of making good records late in their career. While verbally slap boxing with Nelly gave him media attention last year this album deserves equal attention. There is no filler and no unnecessary sermons on this LP; instead Kris delivers his finest work in a long time.