Review Summary: Hard Rhymes For Hard Times
KRS-One takes Hip Hop more seriously than any other rapper. Releasing rap LPs nearly every year since 1987, he now directs much of his focus to reminding the youngsters about the forgotten roots of Hip Hop. He went to the United Nations and got “Hip Hop” officially recognized as a culture, attempted to make Hip Hop a type of spirituality forming the Temple of Hip Hop, and recently wrote the 600+ page “Gospel of Hip Hop”. This type of seriousness is why he is upset at the lack of focus in rap today, and why he is constantly distinguishing his music by calling it real Hip Hop and making battle songs.
On the song “Times Up”, KRS-One disses all DJ’s that use hard drives instead of turntables. His preference for low tech production makes this CD something that most casual fans of rap won’t enjoy. The beats are repetitive, but KRS-One is a master at timing the change in his topics and flow with the drops in the beat, giving every beat drop a dramatic suspense where the listener knows a dramatic or hilarious punchline is coming up. So while this is one of KRS-One’s least catchy albums, it still includes the usual: a complete KRS album with not a single wack verse. When the production works out it is nothing less than an extraordinary nostalgic blast from the past. On the Track “Cypher Remix” KRS-One takes aim at the new school of rap for an entire song over a beat that gives a flying in outer space feel, as if he’s that far over their head. Then on “The Solution” the always outspoken KRS-One gives his view on the state of the world and how forming a Hip Hop nation is imminent. On tracks like “Do It”, a break dancing song, the bass kicks in louder than any other track in the last twenty years; boom bap at its best. The problems only come occasionally with the irritating production/choruses on the songs “Tote Guns”, “Comin’ In”, and “All Day”.
This is much angrier and negative than most of KRS-One albums. The key to appreciating KRS-ONE’s music is understanding him, and this, his most recent LP, is not at all a good place to get any idea of the career of KRS-One. This album is mostly a dedication to the culture he has been representing for the majority of his life; it has its very high and low points musically. Yet for those who are frustrated with the imitativeness and childishness of much of modern day rap, this album is another breath of fresh air from KRS.
Best Track (In Order)
Forever (Featuring Channel Live)
I Do This for You