Thirty years ago this week (March 3, 1987), the direction and style of Hip-Hop forever changed thanks to Boogie Down Productionsâ€™ debut album, Criminal Minded. With only â€śSouth Bronxâ€ť in wide circulation prior to the release of the B-Boy Records album, KRS-One and DJ Scott La Rock made a jaw-dropping first impression that set the standard for hardcore Hip-Hop from the underground. The two Bronx representatives were perceived as underdogs who had bark, bite, and a strong alpha complex to music-making.
â€śI left home at a very young age. I was 13, going on 14, and I was already out, alreadyâ€¦surviving,â€ť says the MC who has enjoyed a nonstop, highly decorated career for the 30 years since. The squad, including the aforementioned Just-Ice, D-Nice were militarily strategic about where they wanted to go. All the road-blocks, including radio DJs, peers, and infrastructures that tried to block B.D.P. were bum-rushed. With that martial mind-state, KRS-One explains why Boogie Down kept the mission moving, even through the shooting death of Scott. â€śWe donâ€™t mourn; we had our chance for mourning. You have that one day: you cry it out, and thatâ€™s it.â€ť He continues, â€śYou celebrate, if anything. Because weâ€™re advancing, constantly. If we had flopped, then Iâ€™d be sad that Scottâ€™s gone and my career went down the drain.â€ť In that â€™87 interview, â€śThe Teachaâ€ť also vows to leave Scott Sterling, Jr., who was young at the time of his fatherâ€™s passing, â€śstraightâ€ť financially. In the 30 years that have followed, Kris has maintained that same tenacity through several losses, tragedies, and setbacks.
â€śDope Beat,â€ť where Scott, Kris, Ultramagnetic MCâ€™s member Ced Gee, and Partner Lee Smith looped AC/DCâ€™s â€śBack In Blackâ€ť guitar-and-drum riff may have more in common with 2017â€™s Hip-Hop than any â€™87 record of its kind. Here, KRS raps about the inferiority of his peers (â€śâ€¦others claim to be fresh / But theyâ€™re not KRSâ€ś), the ills of his streets, stylish and careful fashion choices, healthy eating, and no fear â€śpulling filesâ€ť on anybody that gets in their way. The record hops into the Rick Rubin/Def Jam/Run-D.M.C. style, and puts its own message and spin on it. B.D.P. talks about gangs, crack, and radio payola, but they still get down, first and foremost.