Taken from The Orange County Register (Dec 31, 2014)
KRS-One still makes his voice heard
by RAMON GONZALES / CONTRIBUTING WRITER
COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
“Now this is a very important question,” KRS-One noted during our interview, before the hip-hop star headlines a special $5 show at the Observatory in Santa Ana on Wednesday. “Ask any rapper or singer what artist they are an expert on. What artist are they looking to emulate and really, what artist is the one person they are an expert on? You see, if you want any kind of longevity, if you want any kind of legacy, you need to know what ancestral line you are from.”
As for KRS-One, a career spanning nearly three decades and a reputation as hip-hop’s perennial voice of reason would normally afford a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. For anyone even vaguely familiar with The “Teacha” however, normal just isn’t in the man’s wheelhouse, evident when he’s asked who he looks to channel. His answer: “Harriet Tubman.”
First introduced to the world in 1987 as one half of Boogie Down Productions, KRS-One and DJ Scott La Rock would transform music with generational anthems like “South Bronx”, “9mm Goes Bang”, and “The Bridge Is Over” on the album widely regarded as the framework for modern hip-hop, “Criminal Minded.” KRS-One has endured as both a cultural ambassador and hip-hop’s active documentarian.
“People talk about DJ Kool Herc and August 11, 1973,” he said of an event that has been cited as the earliest known rap performance. “I was there. These are people that I grew up with.”
Rather than allowing his testimonials on wax to become artifacts however, KRS speaks in the present tense of his passion with a continued output that is uncommon among most artists with his credentials. Continued touring and recording will now share time with his latest endeavor that still involves the broadcast airwaves, only now as curator.
“Radio has always been just disgusting,” he said. “So we set out to get involved and create something that appealed to a more educated listenership.”
KRS-One, along with son and touring DJ, Predator Prime, will helm a weekly show 8-10 p.m. every Friday, starting Jan. 9, on L.A.’s KPFK/90.7 FM.
“This really could create a new hip-hop audience that is looking for some stimulating content and still appreciates the music,” he said.
Just shy of his 50th birthday, KRS-One commands an influence enjoyed by few artists. The man who helped draft hip-hop’s Declaration of Peace and led the effort to have hip-hop officially recognized globally on the floor of the United Nations, is the same man whocontinues to barrel common sense into a microphone to a backing kick and snare. The same man that penned an 800-page opus outlining the philosophical principles of the art with “The Gospel of Hip Hop” continues to make the stage his pulpit.
“The ones that sell the most aren’t the ones that are remembered,” he says. “I’m hoping to make the kind of difference in my lifetime that allows me to be remembered positively. That’s my work.”