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Hip-Hop News: KRS-One His Take on History & Tradition
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Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
4/20/2004 8:30:32 AM

Tags and topics realted to this article include KRS-One.

KRS-One is like the Socrates of hip-hop.

"Hip-hop has no inventor. Hip-hop has no beginning. Hip-hop has no end. It is here now and will always be here," he told nearly 150 students yesterday in the Stamp Student Union Colony Ballroom and as the keynote speaker for the Black Student Union's Hip-Hop Conference.

KRS-One, which stands for "Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone," discussed the history of hip-hop, its distinction from rap and its many philosophical interactions with our lives.

"Hip-hop is sovereign and self-evident," he said. "I educate myself. Tell a different story. Don't go along with the regular story."

KRS-One distinguished rap from hip-hop and criticized the industry's latest stars.

"Rap is something we do," he said. "Hip-hop is something we live. The living of hip-hop produces rap. [Current rappers] are imitating what they see. They aren't creating."

KRS-One is considered one of the most authoritative figures on hip-hop culture. In the mid-1980s, he was part of Boogie Down Productions with DJ Scott La Rock and stood out for addressing political and social issues as others rapped about girls and partying.

KRS-One told the story of his rise to stardom in the music world, beginning with his work as an "apprentice" with hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa.

He named the four pillars of hip-hop - peace, love, unity and having fun - which he credited Bambaataa with inventing.

In the late 1980s as rap gained popularity, New York dominated the market. Its break into the mainstream was incredible, he said.

"When [Bambaataa] put tap on the radio, everything blew up," he said. "Boom."

Despite naming dozens of old-school hip-hop artists, KRS-One said hip-hop has no real beginning; its history can be traced back hundreds of years and to the Neanderthals, and American values are misdirected.

"Western culture does not try to understand any culture except itself," he said. "Ain't nobody learning nothing."

KRS-One criticized today's rappers, calling rap an invention of corporate America and that while a good MC almost always becomes a rapper, a rapper can "almost never" become an MC.

"Everybody ain't with it," he said. "This conversation is more for the beat boxers, the DJs, the artists, the attorney who likes hip-hop, the doctor who likes hip-hop."

The audience applauded when he called a college diploma a "receipt" and college "not knowledge; it's a business."

He brushed aside individuals who say the hip-hop industry is run by white people, assuring the audience things are different.

"I'm about as inside as you get. Black people run the culture," he said.

"He's been involved since the beginning and seen the evolution of hip-hop," sophomore history and journalism major Ele Izadi said.

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