Happy born day beloved Blastmaster, KRS-One, the Teacha, the scholar the five mic philosophy jewel dropping legend. Born in Brooklyn, struggled and survived the Bronx of the 80s. He is a God to us Hip Hop children, not just for his lyrical prowess but for his tenacity and determination to get up out of a homeless shelter and on the scene as one of, if not the best. He is 50 years old today! 50 My God! Brothers don’t live that long, sisters neither. I mean he made it through the black biker gangs and crack cocaine era that was the 80s, the rise of street gangs and influx of West Coast gang culture 90s, and the decadent 00s (I get money era). Most of us are still trying to navigate our 30s and approach 40 without being broke and/or broken. I salute his ancestors that paved the way for him, whose shoulders and sacrifices he stands upon. I salute his family and friends, the cipher that has sustained him and the God himself.
I miss him tho. Where he at? With all these shenanigans and tomfoolery going on it is interesting to me that the Teacha is not around. However they say when the student is ready the teacher will appear. I guess we not ready.
I think very deeply. Some days I do, some days I do not. I am thankful to have been a child while a rapper of his caliber was poppin. You became smarter listening to KRS-One, even if you were barely listening. He got the KRS from his interest in the Hare Krishna spiritual movement (all I knew about that was they had bald heads and they would spin around downtown-I actually read about them because of him!). The One came from his graffiti days.
He made it clear that he came to teach (in about four seconds a teacher will begin….) in an edutaining way. As per my previous blog, no one wants to feel preached to at a rap concert. KRS made sure that your head was bobbing and your face was screwed as you got the message.
He made us proud and even in his absence he has not done anything to my knowledge to malign his reputation. His legacy is stellar. He does not curse, disrespect women, hawk alcohol or soda, never wore clothes that did not fit him, or espouse niggerish behavior in any form or fashion. Sad to say yet in the pantheon of Hip Hop artists that is rare. I mean even the the beloved Nas now slings Henny and Sprite (typical).
You get the feeling that he really wants all of us to win and not fall victim to bad health, thoughts, and ways. However contrary to many elders’ stance and actions he does not talk down to the younger rappers. He strives to counsel, he does the compliment sandwich that good teachers are taught to do. No one wants to hear that they are ONLY doing wrong! Son, is there anything I am doing well?!!!
Peep when he says at 1:28, “is 50, Snoop, or KRS any better?”, when discussing Nicki, The Pussy is Free but the Crack costs Money!!! Ohhhh No.
Hence why I am not down with this team conscious rap vs. team trap/ratchet rap; it is ALL us. There was a time when you did not know what you know now said the beloved El Hajj Malik Shabazz (bka Malcolm X). Too often we forget this piece of advice and we talk shit! We talk nuff shit! And guess what? The babies don’t want to hear that bull shit we talking. All the more reason why the good teacher is silent because he/she knows that learning is a process that is life long and they know that the greatest teaching is done through, with, and in love; in a lovely pursuit of peace, health, progress.
He kept his jewels surrounded in that 808 boom that transcends any words or imagery. It’s that knock in those early BDP days that we could not resist; that spoke to our souls. He then took his art and attempted to help our lives! Imagine that, an artist, a rapper trying to help our lives, by suggesting scholars, theories, using vocabulary words to expand our minds, espousing veganism and health as wealth, and creating a movement to try and Stop the Violence that still plagues our communities?! I mean the man created a Temple of Hip Hop with classes on how to teach Hip Hop Kulture (he spells it that way).
We were in 6th grade when Self Destruction came out and like 20 of us would walk home together and sing the whole damn thing! How dope was that for young children to be internalizing so many affirmations?!
“I never ever ran from the ku klux klan and I shouldn’t have to run from a black man or You aint guarding the door so what you got a gun for? America has a serious problem (Malcolm voice superimposed in the beginning). Man we urge to merge we live for the love of our people. The way we live is positive we don’t kill our relatives. Therefore we must ignore fighting, fussing, Heav (RIP) is at the door so they’ll be no bum rushing”.
As I matured from a fighting, confused, angry young girl to a more intellectually and spiritually grounded young lady a friend of mine who has known me through many phases and stages began to call me KRS as a joke. Yet also as a way of acknowledging that I was often trying to kick knowledge. I didn’t even mind the joke, because it was an honor to be called KRS even in jest. If I could teach and drop some jewels in a fraction of the way he has, I will return to the source a peaceful and thankful woman.
We could never thank him, Rakim, Kane, Poor Righteous Teachers, Bran Nubian, and Wu-Tang enough (so many others as well). They straight up made us smarter. Introduced many of us to concepts and people we had never heard of. I hope we seriously begin to think how we can help these artists that enriched our lives so much. They should not be just left to age, struggle, and die with no recourse.
KRS-One is never to be slept on (ask Queensbridge how damaged they were for years-as referenced by Nas in his documentary). He brought and still can bring heat to any function. We love him and salute him on his born day. May he live to be 110 so that our babies, babies can know the glory that is the Teacha. They dont know who he is now, I ask them, they look at me like Im crazy and that is a travesty. Honor him today by schooling your babies, nieces, nephews etc. Let them watch the videos on this blog and read the declarations. God is good, look at all that hip hop taught me!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUqRxSpaw2I (Im number 1)
Temple of Hip Hop: Declaration of Peace (Share with the babies-Lola is for the children!)
Peace from Soul Force Worker #1 Lola Fulani