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Song Name: Slavery
Release Date: 03.02.2017
KRS-One has always been vocal about racial issues and struggles of people of color in America. But the recent happenings in the country have prompted even more artists and musicians to express their voice.
In honor of Black History Month, the Teacha has announced that he will be dropping a new song every Friday of this month. He kick starts the run with the first one, ‘Slavery’ where he expresses his thoughts about the subject over a grimey instrumental.
‘Blastmaster KRS-One’ was born (eldest son) as Lawrence Brown in Brooklyn’s Park Slope area in 1965 to Sheffiend Brown, a Bardabian-born father (an illegal alien, soon deported) and mother Jacqueline Jones a real estate secretary who remarried in 1969 to John Parker, a United Nations security guard who moved the family out to Harlem but only became an abusive force in the family’s life and by 1972, Parker had left the scene. The family later relocated back to Brooklyn where they lived in abject poverty.
Young Lawrence dreamed of becoming a graffiti artist and MC. His mother preached African history and spiritualism pushing them to excel in school. Continuing differences of opinion, at 16 KRS left home to live on the streets, this was in 1981. He did not see his mother again until 1988. He slept in Wingate, Prospect and Central parks and on the F-Train, he took odd jobs and read a lot of books in the Brooklyn Public Library.
He was nicknamed Kris from his relationship with the Hare Krishna religious faith who evangelized in the shelter he was housed at. He would use the moniker KRS ONE for ‘Kris Number One’ when marking with aerosol cans. Through the United Artists he met the local Bronx gang Casanovas, a spin-off of the Black Spades. With their connections KRS had begun to courier drugs to various drop spots around town. Using a bread delivery truck as a cover, Parker and his partner had garbage bags full of the product ready for delivery. One day, a police car pulled up behind them and started flashing their lights. KRS’s associate panicked and lead them on a several mile long chase, after which the truck was finally crashed, and the pair were apprehended. At the trial, the judge made the ironic commentary that the only reason the cops initially tried to pull them over was because they had private plates on a commercial vehicle—they initially had no intention of searching for drugs. KRS was a minor and claimed he was a ward of the state, therefore was sent to a juvenile home for his sentencing, after which he was re-located to a Covenant House youth homeless shelter. At 20 years old he was moved into the Bronx’s Franklin Armory Men’s Shelter. It was in here he developed his skills as an MC from routine verbal sparring with other residents in the shelters. His social case worker was college graduate Scott Sterling, 22 who was affiliated of the La Rock gang hailing from the same project (Coke La Rock, T La Rock and Scott La Rock) Scott was part-time weekend DJ at a club, Broadway International. KRS hooked up with Scott along with two other MCs and formed the group Scott La Rock and the Celebrity Three.
They dropped their first single in 1984 called ‘Advance’ had KRS’s alarming and unique rhyming vocals over a dark spasmodic beat. The group soon broke up and KRS and Scott formed the duo 12:41 which spawned the release of ‘Success is the Word’ through Sleeping Bag Records that received radio play on WBLS’s Mr. Magic’s Rap Attack with resident DJ Marley Marl. After obtaining a demo tape, Magic brushed off the duo (not yet known as Boogie Down Productions.) It was at the time KRS went back to the shelter to write up the legendary throwdown cult anthem ‘South Bronx’ released under the name of Boogie Down Productions that answered Queens’ ‘The Bridge’ produced by Marley Marl and played regularly by Mr. Magic. After a few 12” single releases, the Criminal Minded album finally surfaced.
At the height of his career, 1987-1990 KRS-One held a defined reputation for his furiously politically-driven consciousness. Dubbed ‘The Teacher’ because of the strong political overtones in his lyrics, KRS thought himself to be Hip Hop’s self-educated Malcolm X figure. KRS created a foundation for public awareness called ‘Stop the Violence Movement’. KRS continued spreading his social commentary views on later BDP albums. However this precedence left the substance of backing music to be suffered. With the fan base turning to fresher artists emerging, the mainstream media acknowledged KRS-One’s philosophy.
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