To continue this little mini-series on the not-so-socially-conscious beginnings of some of the so-called “Golden Age” rappers mentioned by Minister Farrakhan recently, we turn our attention to KRS-One. We’ll ignore for the moment that his group Boogie Down Productions’ first album shows KRS and fellow BDP member Scott La Rock wearing gold chains and brandishing firearms, and go even farther back to a single they did as a one-off group called 12:41 with David Kenneth Eng and Kenny Beck.
12:41 – $ucce$$ I$ The Word
I don’t see any reasonable way to draw a meaningful distinction between this song and, say, “Racks“. Sure, KRS went on to be one of the most blatantly social and political-oriented rappers ever, and that’s cool, but if you look at the whole story, it mirrors the story of hip-hop as a whole. Fun-party vibe beats with clever rhymes eventually growing into a form where more conceptual content can be featured. But that conceptual content can take on many forms, and that diversity is one of the most beautiful things in rap.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the final installment featuring Big Daddy Kane.