Back To Reviews Archive The Hip-Hop Headrush

Artist: KRS-One
Album: A Retrospective
Label: Jive Records
Production: KRS-One, Scott LaRock, Showbiz, Pal Joey, Jesse West, DJ Premier
Guests: None
Stats: 2000,16 Tracks at 74mins39secs
Reviewed by: Eitan Prince aka Supafly

You can't front on KRS-One (aka Kris Parker aka the Blastmaster). Entering the music industry in 1986, he's been around ever since and has rarely shown signs of slipping. In fact, you could say that KRS is the Bruce Springsteen of Hip-Hop, but Kris never proclaimed to be the boss, just the best.

With a catalogue that spans five albums with Boogie Down Productions (his crew until 1992, as if you didn't know) and three solo efforts, you can imagine how difficult a task it must be to cram KRS-One's career highlights into one album. Quite simply, you can't. But, Jive (home of BDP and KRS since 1988) have tried and they'll probably get away with it without pissing too many folks off.

This 16-track album kicks off with 'My Philosophy' ironically enough, because that song happened to be this reviewer's first taste of the T'cha more than a decade ago. 'Philosophy' is still a mind-blowing aural experience, with its thumping drums, funky horns and Kris' trademark combination of egotistical battle lyrics - "KRS-One is just the type to lead a crew/right up to your face and diss you" - and social awareness - "All my brothers eat chicken and watermelon/talk broken English and drug sellin'". Naturally, the expected classics make their appearance. Who can forget 'South Bronx' and 'The Bridge Is Over', two diss tracks that define rap's golden age (late 80s, early 90s). There's also Kris at his science-dropping best on 'You Must Learn' and 'Why Is That?' And if you thought they'd front on the beats, 'Sound Of Da Police' (93), 'MCs Act Like They Don't Know' (95) and 'Step Into A World' (97) show just how hard the Blastmaster ripped it in the last decade.

Of course there are some puzzling omissions, for example BDP's monster hit 'Stop The Violence', while 'Love's Gonna Getcha' is the only piece of evidence from BDP's work in the 90s. Admittedly, this is a tribute that only starts to scratch the surface of KRS-One's contribution to Hip Hop, but it is a good showcase of his skills as an MC, producer and, most of all, as a teacher. Fresh for 2000, you suckers! [8.5/10]

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