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Watch 100-Minute Video Dissertation – ’40 Years of Hip Hop by KRS-One’

Watch 100-Minute Video Dissertation - '40 Years of Hip Hop by KRS-One'

This is actually about a year old, but I learned of its existence just last night. So I assume some of you have seen it, while others, like myself, have not.

The title speaks for itself, I think. And those “old school” hip hop heads – especially if you grew up, as I did, during the years when Boogie Down Productions reigned supreme (for me, it was in the late 1980’s into the early 1990’s) – will probably appreciate this even more.

In my opinion, those were some of THE best years for rap music – 1989 was especially a great year – and I still, with the same gusto, listen to the music I grew up on, today, 25 years later, older, more discerning, etc, and it all still feels quite fresh, timeless.

KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions as a group were a definite favorite of mine. “My Philosophy” was probably my intro, and what an intro it was, from, not only a landmark political hip hop album, but a landmark hip hop album, “By All Means Necessary,” released in 1988. 

I know the lyrics to just about every single track on the album. I was that committed back then. It was my escape, you could say, from the challenges of being something of an “outsider” in high school (a stranger in a strange land, having only recently – at the time – arrived in the USA (I was born and spent the first decade+ of my life in Nigeria and Cameroon primarily).

And following those years, I bought just about every BDP album, ending with 1992’s “Sex and Violence.” KRS-One, aka Lawrence Parker, aka Teacha, would then go on to record solo albums. 

But his is a politically-active voice I’ve always listened to and appreciated, even though I don’t always agree. His enthusiasm is affecting and infectious, helped by his sonorous voice. You can’t help but stop and listen, even if just for a little bit.

In the 100-minute dissertation below, Mr Parker shares his thoughts on the history, meaning and philosophy of hip hop music, incorporating discussions on slavery, the education system, spirituality, war, the economy, and much more, into an insightful, if contentious medley. You’ll nod your head in understanding or agreement in some instances, while wanting to challenge what he says in others. 

Put together by Karim Khamis, the video includes a speech Parker gave during Hip Hop appreciation week in Amsterdam.


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