KRS One: Politickin’ in BK With KRS

April 10, 2003, 7:04 pm The Day. A shady ass Thursday to some, but for me it was the ultimate jump off. It was the day KRS One and I would meet and greet. sh*t. I didn’t plan for the episode, its just that I attended his lecture “Hip-hop Declaration of Peace” at Northeastern University […]

April 10, 2003, 7:04 pm

The Day.

A shady ass Thursday to some, but for me it was the ultimate jump off.

It was the day KRS One and I would meet and greet.

sh*t. I didn’t plan for the episode, its just that I attended his lecture

“Hip-hop Declaration of Peace” at Northeastern University in Boston,

Mass and figured since he was in the building, what could I lose if I asked

for an interview? Nada!

Fast Forward>>

The Setting.

Sweet and sour. Actually that’s what I dipped my six-piece chicken nuggets

in as I prepped for the ‘view. KRS and I were situated in the ethnically

diverse city of Cambridge, a bridge over from the small and gritty city of Boston,

yes THAT city, big city cats are finally getting hip to.

Let’s Rewind<<.

After hearing KRS breakdown the 9 concrete elements

of the Hip-Hop culture, including, but not limited to; emceeing, breakin’,

fashion trendin’, and graffin’. I wondered how his petty beef with

Nelly could actually be the focus of other medias? I mean this stout man linked

to locks and stuffed with wisdom, is a f*cking capo in the original rap game.

Even still I wondered after his breakdown of

Hip-Hop’s dynamic culture in the university’s auditorium, how funky

ass politicians could think Hip-Hop’s presence is only attributed to gangster

rap, cats tapping at hoes, and ho’s shouted by crowds at concerts.

Really, how could these corny conservatives think

thirty plus years of branding our culture worldwide could be simplified to patchy

Akademic denims hanging, big hat’s dripping, and ice the clarity of fresh

waters in international seas?

How could they do that, and how we could we let

them? I guess they never sat at the roundtable with the Teacher, KRS One.

Pay attention to the lesson.

KRS gave me a couple doses on how I could make

a significant contribution to my community. And I would be dead wrong to take

our hot connection to this culture out of context. My statements are based on

recorded facts and if you doubt that, I’ll push you the CD, like a pusher

pushes dope to your doorstep. Get high off that. You Suckerssss!

So here we are, or better yet, there we were

in BK. Oh, if all along you were picturing BK, aka Brooklyn, the moment was

Burger King, between Hi-Fi sub shop and the Phoenix Bar on Massachusetts Avenue.

Initially we were gonna chat in the Middle East nightclub, an underground setting,

where he was scheduled to perform, but the scrambling of his clan doing sound

check was too disturbing. “Check one, two, check.”

KRS agreed without debate or bodyguards that

the King was it. And really could the scene have been more fit for the King

of the educated Hip-Hop culture? Nope. Sure Burger King wasn’t as luxurious

as restaurants at the Ritz, but I didn’t care, nor did the peeping toms

by the fountain machine pressing for autographs. As a matter of fact, the setting

was rather comfy, considering a legendary rapper was lurking in the set.

Significance Do you feel the Hip-Hop culture

will ever have a significant presence in the classroom? Do you ever feel academia

will just say you know what, this is it? This is the direction of where our

students are going. And this is what we need to embrace honestly and not because

we are trying to be, so called linking in the system and acting like we really

embrace this?

KRS ONE: Yes, Yes, Yes, I honestly feel, matter

of fact, it’s…it’s mathematics that it will. Those who are in power

today will not be tomorrow. That is a fact. A fact, I agree.

KRS ONE: That is a fact. Really we have to be

prepared to take their place. Will Hip-Hop as a curriculum be taught in an academic

environment? I mean take it as far as junior high, high school, and college

or middle school. Can it be taught? Yeah? Will it be taught? Yeah. Because you

and I are growing up and we’re becoming the teachers. We are the teachers.

We are the faculty. We are the board. We are the board of education. Do you

know that in another five years, the President of the United States would have

had a Public Enemy tape? There’s going to be a President after Bush. And

that next four-year term, say eight years from now, that President is gonna

have grown up with KRS, PE, and Queen Latifah. If Hip-Hop stopped today…we

would still go down in world history.They’ll have a picture of you. Here’s

an average Hip-Hoppa. They’ve flourished for the last thirty years. It’s


Teaching Hip-Hop Since Hip-Hop is such an expressive

culture do you feel the academic environment stunts the culture’s growth?

Overall, do you think that even from lower education, as far as fourth or third

grade, are they trying there hardest to deter us from expressing ourselves creatively?

KRS ONE: That leans to another question…

Which means what is it to teach? What is the curriculum to teach? What is it

to teach Hip-Hop? I would say in answering your question. To teach Hip-Hop in

today’s academic environment transforms the academic environment of today.

It’s impossible to teach Hip-Hop in the standards of today’s educational

curriculum.The idea of ‘I tell you something, you memorize it, and tell it back

to me’ is not how you teach Hip-Hop. That whole concept would have to breakdown.

The testing system and the grading system all of that would have to be out the

window. In my opinion, Hip-Hop is not about learning it’s about unlearning.

It’s about not getting new information, but questioning the information

you already got. Who am I? Why am I? Where am I? Who are you? Why are you? When

are you? Is this table a table? What use is this to me? What is my self worth,

what do I mean? Like people don’t ask themselves like on a weekly or monthly

basis what do I mean? What do I mean?

On Music, On Nas Do you feel the Hip-Hop culture

is being stripped? I know its mainstream. But how do you think we can teach

our culture to get back? I know I had to go through a growth process. I know

Nas had to do it. Everyone criticizes Nas for conflicting and you know…

hypocritical statements or whichever, but I look at Nas as though he’s

growing, whereas, a lot of people stay stagnant. What is your take on that?

KRS ONE: (smiling) You just answered it. You

answered the question right there. It’s growth. That’s exactly what

it is. It’s not contradiction. It’s life. And we’re supposed

to go from A to B to C to D. D is not A. You answered it, growth; development. Rock and Roll music has been stripped.

It has been around forever. But Elvis made it popular visually. Now that we

are being stripped because of the visuals. How can we possibly get it back to

the root?

KRS ONE: By existing. The fact that you exist

we’ve already won. The fact that I exist we’ve already won. The fact

that audience came out (Northeastern University lecture) to hear and stay to

the very end proves that we already have victory. What we have to do is recognize

ourselves. That to me is the biggest challenge with the Hip-Hop community. We

don’t know that we are a community. We don’t know that we are distinct

group of people.

On Creative Writing Would you say that all lyrics,

I don’t care if its 50 Cent, Nas, Mobb Deep; if their lyrics set up a story

it should be considered a form of creative writing?

KRS ONE: Yes. Regardless… if it’s



ONE: Yes, yes, yes, yes. All writing is good writing, all of it. We

need balance.The issue is the program director who gets, or music director,

or editor of a publication, or video programmer who gets a barrage of Hip-Hop

material, or should I say they get a barrage of rap music. Some is conscious,

some gangster, some comedy, some sex, some this that…they get all of it.

They pick out of a large variety of music to play, they pick the most thugged

out thing they can find and that’s what we hear all day on the radio. So

the issue is not really with Hip-Hop and its writers. We should write about

everything. But our children don’t need to hear certain thoughts at 9am

in the morning while they are trying to get ready to go to school, or at 9 at

night when you’re trying to wash them up to go bed. Hip-Hop should be more

family-orientated being that most Hip-Hoppas are family people. The nonsense

you see on television is a joke of course. The majority of people who say “yo!

I grew up in Hip-Hop, that’s my culture, that’s what I grew up in.”

We have children now, we’re married now, we have mortgages, car payments,

cell bills. We got things to do. We’re not standing on the corner like

the video depicts. So I say more of us have to speak up.