KRS-One may be hip-hop’s busiest living legend. Since going the independent route with the release of The Sneak Attack earlier this year, his career has taken on a renewed energy and consistency. For the Blastmaster, a man as concerned with hip-hop’s responsibility to youth as anyone, these indie projects bring increased creative freedom, at the cost of decreased visibility.
The result also is increased productivity. Strictly for Da Breakdancers and Emceez snuck onto shelves with no promotion. It’s the tan CD that mimics the cover art from Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star. On this, his first instrumental CD — a two-disc set — KRS offers almost two hours of the trademark kick-heavy low instrumentation that made Return of the Boom Bap an underground classic. With tracks on each CD named after a host of ancient deities, the listener is offered a smorgasbord of raw, basement flavor a la the BDP (Boogie Down Productions, KRS-One’s former group) era.
Strictly is appropriately titled. It’s not the CD for your girl (the Maxwell fan), or your home boy (the Snoop fan club president who thinks Bones is “Masterpiece Theater”). This CD is, on the other hand, quite interactive. When it’s time for your next rhyme battle, throw it on and see if you can last 12 rounds. When the opportunity for your next b-boy (breakdance) session comes, that when it’s Strictly time.
KRS-One is earning his title of “The Teacha” now more than ever. With music that focuses on hip-hop’s sense of spirituality, as well as its roots, he is truly ushering in the return of the boom bap. Body rock, y’all!
Khary Kimani Turner writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].