Review Summary: The teacher is in effect
Boogie Down Productions is kind of a misleading name for this artist, mainly because the word 'productions' is plural and indicates that there is more than one person on this album. Make no mistake: this album is 100% KRS; the other members are simply involved in production.
Before you play the first track on this album, it's important to know a bit about the people behind it. Boogie Down Productions first started as a collaboration between Lawrence Krisna Parker(KRS) and Scott Sterling(la Rock). The duo first gained notoriety for their vivid and honest portrayals of life on the streets in the album Criminal Minded, an album which also became noted for Scott la Rock's minimal production. Unfortunately, Scott La Rock was killed shortly after the release of CM. The next 2 albums were getting increasingly political, as KRS was going more and more into tearing into modern society, and pretty soon his views would reach a point of intolerable for some of his fans. And that climax is Edutainment. When this album was first released, a chunk of his fans found it far too preachy, and in a way, they're right. Edutainment is exactly what the title describes it as, educational music that still remains entertaining. From the first song to the end listeners who aren't used to much KRS are in for a gigantic seminar taught by Kris Parker himself.
A big plus for this album is its content, usual rap albums will be collections of battle raps, anecdotes detailing how they became the badasses they are now, and the occasional sex-rap. KRS, is doing almost none of that (there's a couple shots at Juice Crew here and there). This album, is about opening the listeners mind to new ideas and making him/her ask questions and learn some things in the process, such an example would be 'Beef' a tirade exploring the practices of the meat industry, in it, KRS discusses the drugs inserted into animals, and concludes with the idea that meat is, in itself, a drug, which could itself explain the large desire of meat consumption in the US. While KRS's conclusions are sometimes debatable, like with Beef, they still let the reader question whether beef, or processed meat in general, is all that suitable for consumption.
Edutainment's Highlight would have to be Love's Gonna Getcha, the most well known off the album, as it allows KRS to flex his storytelling muscle. In the song, KRS tells a story of a young boy in the ghetto, his mother is often working long hours for little money, so he takes a job for Rob, his neighborhood drug dealer, only to end up losing 2 of his friends up in a gang war with Rob himself.
Even with the positives mentioned above, the album has several issues. The first and foremost is its length, 20 tracks can really make this a chore for a casual listener, no matter how good the album in question is. Another problem, as was mentioned earlier, is that KRS can end up sounding preachy after a while, this was a major issue at the time of its release as this album in particular lost KRS a small chunk of his fanbase what with its near constant stream of messages for the listener. And finally, there are some factual innacuracies, one that particularly comes to note is in the first actual song of the album, 'The Blackmans in Effect', where KRS describes the Egyptians as the first civilization on earth, when in fact the first one was in Mesopotamia,(granted Mesopotamia wasn't really that far advanced). It might seem like nitpicking, but given the purpose if this album, it's especially important that KRS have double checked his research.
All in all, this is a really good yet overlooked album that deserves at least one spin.