KRS-ONE & Marley Marl: Hip-Hop Lives

Ever since, and even before, Nas dropped his last disc it seems everybody and their mother had an opinion on the lifeline of our culture. Media outlets ate it up while rappers old and new addressed it to overkill. In a unique twist KRS-ONE and Marley Marl put their past differences aside in an effort to make it clear that Rap still has a pulse. Hip-Hop Lives (Koch) features both old-school legends still razor sharp at their respective crafts. The BDP and Juice Crew elders show the young boys that beef should never be that serious.On the title track KRS does an excellent job of breaking down the who’s, what’s and why’s of our way of life. Marley utilizes some dusty keys as the Teacher proceeds on with the Hip-Hop for dummies lecture. The history lesson continues on with “I Was There.” Kris checks off various key events and places such as the Cedar Park jams, Kool Moe Dee challenging LL, and the Rodney King riots. His thorough documentation is a huge testament to his time put in. On a more intellectual tip, the Blastmaster addresses the lack of badge follow through with Hip-Hop related murders on “Kill A Rapper.” Bars like “It seems like when a rapper dies it don’t matter/He simply becomes a poster, something to run after/A reason for these kids to pull their guns faster/Trying to emulate and be like dead rappers” makes his frustration clear.Production wise Marley holds down the entire disc. In what could be perceived as Marley pitting himself up against the beat making elite, he flips familiar sounds with his own style. On “All Skool” Marley uses the same sample and drums that RZA used on “Run.” He also takes it back even further with “Musika” by utilizing the same wildly searing horn line he used on Lords Of The Underground’s “Funky Child.”Granted both vets represent the golden age, at times they disconnect themselves from what’s current. “Over 30” is a proclamation about being seniors in the game, but it holds little weight since four songs before it address the same message. Additionally, the Old School type chants on the hook provided by Busy Bee kill any chances of finishing strong on the closer “House Of Hits.” Overall Hip-Hop Lives is a respectable effort. While Kris and Marley aren’t breaking any atoms, they show that they aren’t slouches. The Hip-Hop is dead controversy claim can be put to rest now. It is clearly walking and talking right in front of us.