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KRS-One is an all-time favourite for many of us.  Of course, with this album cover, invoking the legendary imagery of Malcolm X in the throes of an evil society caving in on him, whilst his comrades increasingly betrayed him.  When I first heard this, now, classic recording by Boogie Down Productions, particularly “My Philosophy”, it blew my mind.  And it’s safe to say it changed my life.  Here, KRS raps:

Rap is like a set-up, a lot of games
A lot of suckas with colorful names
I’m so-and-so, I’m this, I’m that
Huh, but they all just wick-wick-wack
I’m not white or red or black
I’m brown from the Boogie Down
Productions, of course our music be thumpin’
Others say they’re bad, but they’re buggin’Malcolmxm1carbine3gr

This music encouraged many of us toward academia.


My Philosophy” by Boogie Down Productions

So, you’re a philosopher?
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes
I think very deeply, I think very deeply, I think very deeply
I think, I think, I think very deeply, I think, I think very deeply

Let’s begin: what, where, why, or when
Will all be explained like instructions to a game
See I’m not insane; in fact, I’m kind of rational
When I be askin’ you, “Who is more dramatical?”
This one or that one, the white one or the black one?
Pick the punk; and I’ll jump up to attack one
KRS-One is just the guy to lead a crew
Right up to your face and dis you

Everyone saw me on the last album cover
Holding a pistol, something far from a lover
Beside my brother, S C O T T
I just laughed ‘cos no one can defeat me
This is lecture number two, ‘My Philosophy’
Number one, was ‘Poetry’; you know it’s me
This is my philosophy; many artists got to learn
I’m not flammable; I don’t burn

So, please stop burnin’, and learn to earn respect
‘Cos that’s just what KR collects
See, what do you expect when you rhyme like a soft punk?
You walk down the street and get jumped
You got to have style and learn to be original
And everybody’s gonna wanna dis you
Like me, we stood up for the South Bronx
And every sucka MC had a response

You think we care? I know that they are on the tip
My posse from the Bronx is thick and we’re real live, we walk correctly
A lot of suckas would like to forget me, but they can’t
‘Cos like a champ, I have got a record of knocking out
The frauds in a second; on the mic, I believe that you should get loose
I haven’t come to tell you I got juice
I just produce, create, innovate on a higher level
I’ll be back, but for now just seckle

I’ll play the nine and you play the target
You all know my name, so I guess I’ll just start it
Or should I say, start this?  I am an artist
Of new concepts at their hardest
Yo, ‘cos I’m a teacher and Scott is a scholar
It ain’t about money ‘cos we all make dollars
That’s why I walk with my head up
When I hear wack rhymes I get fed up

Rap is like a set-up, a lot of games
A lot of suckas with colourful names
I’m so-and-so, I’m this, I’m that
Huh, but they all just wick-wick-wack
I’m not white or red or black
I’m brown from the Boogie Down
Productions, of course our music be thumpin’
Others say they’re bad, but they’re buggin’

Let me tell you somethin’ now about hip hop
About D-Nice, Melodie, and Scott La Rock
I’ll get a pen, a pencil, a marker
Mainly, what I write is for the average New Yorker
Some MCs be talkin’ and talkin’
Tryin’ to show how black people are walkin’
But I don’t walk this way to portray
Or reinforce stereotypes of today

Like all my brothas eat chicken and watermelon
Talk broken English and drug sellin’
See, I’m tellin’ and teachin’ real facts
The way some act in rap is kind of wack
And it lacks creativity and intelligence
But they don’t care ‘cos their company is sellin’ it
It’s my philosophy on the industry
Don’t bother dissin’ me, or even wish that we’d

Soften, dilute, or commercialize all the lyrics
‘Cos it’s about time one of y’all hear it
And hear it first-hand from the intelligent brown man
A vegetarian, no goat or ham
Or chicken or turkey or hamburger
‘Cos to me that’s suicide, self-murder
Let us get back to what we call hip hop
And what it meant to DJ Scott La Rock

How many MCs must get dissed
Before somebody says, don’t fu*# with Kris
This is just one style, out of many
Like a piggy bank, this is one penny
My brother’s name is Kenny, that’s Kenny Parker
My other brother I.C.U. is much darker
Boogie Down Productions is made up of teachers
The lecture is conducted from the mic into the speaker

Who gets weaker? The king or the teacher?
It’s not about a salary; it’s all about reality
Teachers teach and do the world good
Kings just rule and most are never understood
If you were to rule or govern a certain industry
All inside this room right now would be in misery
No one would get along nor sing a song
‘Cos everyone’d be singing for the king; am I wrong?

So yo, what’s up? It’s me, again
Scott La Rock, KRS, BDP, again
Many people had the nerve
To think that we would end the trend
We’re criminal minded, an album which is only ten
Funky, funky, funky, funky, funky hit records
No more than four minutes and some seconds

The competition checks and checks and keeps checkin’
They take the album, take it home, and start sweatin’
Why? Well, it’s simple, to them it’s kind of vital
To take KRS-One’s title
To them I’m like an idol, some type of entity
In everybody’s rhyme, they wanna mention me?
Or, rather, mention us, me and Scott La Rock
But they can get bust, get robbed, get dropped

I don’t play around, nor do I eff around
And you can tell by the bodies, that are left around
When some clown jumps up to get beat down
Broken down to his very last compound
See how it sounds? A little unrational
A lot of MCs like to use the word dramatical
Fresh for ’88, you suckas


[17 SEP 2015  11:55 PST]

[Last modified 18 SEP 2015  11:01 PST]