Published on December 27th, 2019

Hip-hop, at its core, is a boisterous release of etheric enlightenment. The genre was born from forefathers who, in an instant, altered the entire landscape of music as we were once conditioned to know it. KRS-One was at the forefront of it all with a beautiful authenticity, seldom approached and never since duplicated. He doesn’t just rap, he is rap. He doesn’t just move, he is a movement. He doesn’t just do hip-hop, he is hip hop. Attending a KRS-One show is a lot of different things. Certainly it’s a party, but at its root it’s an education. 

Known fondly by hip-hop enthusiasts as “the Teacha,” KRS-One puts on a show that’s like an expedition whose crew comes home with rare finds. Strewn across his tour merch table you’ll find CD’s and a shirt or two But the most impressive pieces of merchandise you’ll find are books… lots of books… all of which are written by KRS-One himself. The author of The Science of Rap, Ruminations and The Gospel of Hip Hop has announced a series of seven volumes for an upcoming course he will be teaching at UCLA, entitled “Black Oustory: A Philosophical Look At ‘Black’ and ‘History’ with KRS-One.”

Lawrence “Kris” Parker is a long way today from the fraught New York City childhood he spent in the grip of homelessness, but there’s still a hunger to his lyrics and delivery that tells you those experiences never completely left him. In an interview in season 2, Episode 3 of the HBO series “Evolution of Hip Hop,” he ruminated on a formative rap battle that sent him on his way.

“…Y’all look like y’all ate today… You had breakfast, I didn’t. The dude you’re battling, he slept on the 2-Train, and if he wins, he don’t have to sleep on the 2-Train no more. …It’s the hunger that’s writing my rhyme!’ it was less than five minutes; we destroyed these dudes.” 

Simply by existing and doing what he does, KRS-One changes and improves the way people who hear him see and think about the world.

KRS-One performs Sunday, January 12 at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach ~ Freddie Zandt