Knowledge is power and in hip-hop, it reigns supreme.
Many rappers have dropped informative gems in their rhymes, but few can match the lyrical teachings of KRS-One. A founding member of the rap collective, Boogie Down Productions, KRS, the late DJ Scott La Rock and producer Lee Smith would play a huge part in shifting the course of rap history and putting the Bronx, N.Y. back at the forefront.
BDP even initiated a war with the Juice Crew and would emerge victorious off the strength of the timeless singles “South Bronx” and “The Bridge Is Over.” They went on to release their debut album, Criminal Minded, in 1987.
Riding high off of their newfound success, Boogie Down Productions suffered a crushing blow when DJ Scott La Rock was murdered in the Bronx only five months after the release of Criminal Minded, putting the group’s future into question. But KRS-One would find the resolve to continue recording, releasing the 1988 seminal album, By All Means Necessary, which was a stark contrast from the first album in terms of content. KRS took a more socially conscious approach with his music here. The album would cement KRS as one of rap’s premier solo artists and stands as one of the most influential LP’s in rap history, proving that BDP were definitely no flash in the pan.
After the release of Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip-Hop in 1989, the group earned their third gold-certified album as well as acclaim from fans and critics alike. The Blueprint of Hip-Hop may have been a solid effort, but KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions returned in a big way on July 17, 1990, with their fourth LP, aptly titled Edutainment. The album would be certified gold by the end of that year and spawned various classic records that would only enhance the legacy of BDP.
Twenty-five years after its release, we take a trip down memory lane and highlight the dopest tracks from the effort. Check out five best songs from Boogie Down Production’s Edutainment album below.
KRS-One lets his Boogie Down Productions roster catch a little wreck on the Edutainment free-for-all "7 Dee Jays." "I love to diss whores, I love to do tours / Making young ladies just drop their draws" raps D-Nice, who is up first before handing the mic to Heather B, who levitates with fly lines, like "Gimme back my land, ya sucker / You beat down my father and rape my mother / Africa and now you wanna laugh at her / I feel like picking up a slashing ya." Jamal-Ski, Ms. Melodie, Harmony and D-Square also get their share of time on the mic and make it known that BDP is far from a one-man army. This is a team replete with musical talent. Running north of nine minutes long, "7 Dee Jays" serves as one of the original lyrical marathons and manages to keep your attention throughout its duration with its bevy of rhyme schemes, deliveries and flows, making for a delightfully unified effort.
Uncle Toms get the gas face on the Edutainment cut, "House N----'s," a bruising number that finds KRS-One going on a rampage against black apologists. "Lemme see, lemme see, how should I start / If I say 'Stop the violence,' I won't chart," he begins before getting into the thick of things. "Some people say I am a rap missionary / Some people say I am walking dictionary / Some people say I am truly legendary / But what I am is simply a black revolutionary," the Bronx rhymer spits, making his purpose clear. Lines like "It's the concept of the house n----, field n---- / The house n---- will sell you up the river" are brash enough that even pundits like Don Lemon may have a look of shame after listening to this cut.
The Blast Master embarks on a road trip back to New York on "100 Guns," but the excursion is anything but a joyride. Heading back to the Big Apple after illegally purchasing artillery elsewhere, KRS-One is armed, dangerous and determined to get his shipment home to the five boroughs and by any means necessary. "I'm driving my car cross country / With 100 guns and about 6Gs / We driving through a town, we see two cops / They looking at me funny like they really wan' stop," he raps. The vacation suddenly evolves into a shooting spree and the eventual takedown of our rapping transporter.
"30 Cops or More"
Police departments across the U.S. catch the wrath of KRS-One on the Edutainment closer, "30 Cops or More." "When they arrest a black man, they need 30 cops or more," KRS laments on the hook, before noting the tactics of the boys in blue. "If you a black herb smuggler, they will watch you by the hour / It only means that if you have more money then you have more power / They will come in the night / And they will read you your rights / There is no need to fight / If you're black, there is no need to fight." KRS adopts a sing-songy flow that is much the rage 25 years later. "30 Cops or More" is another example of the rapper's penchant for social commentary and serves as quite the finale.
"Love's Gonna Get'cha"
"Loves Gonna Get Cha" serves as a chilling cautionary tale of how life in the fast lane can bring dire results. Centering on the topic of materialism, KRS-One puts his storytelling skills on display and proves why he's regarded as one of the preeminent MCs in the history of rap. KRS introduces us to Rob, the neighborhood drug dealer who turns from friend to foe, as well as his younger brother and his four-man crew. Produced by Pal Joey, the track contains a sample of Pat Metheny Group's "Spring Ain't Here" and is a chilling affair that is equally riveting and vivid. The title may bring to mind a more saccharine offering, but "Love's Gonna Get'cha" is the polar opposite and is instead a potent selection that stands as the album's crown jewel.