Friday, May 18th, 2007

Is KRS-One Dissing You?

I’ve been getting a steady stream of emails from fam this past week over this new song by KRS and Marley Marl called “I Was There” in which he knocks “so-called objective rap historians”. They’re concerned KRS-One is dissing me.

Nah, don’t worry! Even if he was, I got a strong ego to try to step on anyway.

I really do think that the event at Stanford that gathered hip-hop scholars, journalists, and at least one agitated rapper last year has something to do with him doing this track. (I wasn’t there. Had a niece’s first birthday to go to back home.)

The beef that opened up there has been squashed so there is no need to go over that again. But apparently Kris is still mad about the ways rap history is being written. Note that he didn’t say “hip-hop history” or “hip-hop generation history”.

Anyway, given that history, it’s amazing that he’s teamed up with his former nemesis Marley Marl, and although I don’t think “I Was There” is that great, I think “Hip-Hop Lives” could be the best work both have done in years.

Honestly, I’m a little jealous of this video. It’s just really well done, and might save you the work of having to read 800+ pages (even though it shouldn’t!)

So no fam, it’s all love out here in the Yay…

posted by @ 8:01 am | 5 Comments



5 Responses to “Is KRS-One Dissing You?”

  1. Dumi says:

    glad you addressed that. the vid is ill. your work is and will remain a cornerstone of hip hop studies. nuff respect.

  2. ToddA says:

    Okay, now for some irony.

    I directed this video…and you know what? Your book was among some of the things that inspired me to take this visual approach.

    I thought to myself, I can’t just have the Blastmasta stand in front of the camera and spit verses about why “Hip Hop Lives”. If it indeed, “lives”, then naturally there should be some sort of lineage, right?

    CSWS was what actually made me think…”Hmmm..how about having KRS walk a timeline of sorts, exploring some of that lineage?”

    I felt confident enough to take this approach because…well, for lack of a better phrase…I was there :). “There” meaning, I was around to actually purchase Criminal Minded with saved allowances….to see Run-DMC hit the mainstream with a performance on American Bandstand…to breakdance (or think I was breakdancing) to “Electric Kingdom”.

    Now that I’ve dated myself, let me go on to say that I’m not on any particular side of the matter, but the Stanford incident was pretty peculiar. Having known of the incident prior to the video shoot, I wondered what kind of guy is Kris going to be? Is he going to be difficult to work with???

    To his credit, he turned out to be one of the best artists I’ve worked with on a video. He was open-minded, took direction well (which was my biggest concern prior to the shoot), and was one of the most personable people I’ve ever met. He was genuinely interested in the conversations he had with random people at the shoot. It didn’t matter who they were…a PA, a young actress’ mom, a friend of a friend who was there just to hang out. He made that experience…well…an EXPERIENCE. In fact, I’d love to do it again.

    Unfortunately, this adversarial relationship he seems to have with Hip Hop academia exists, but for what it’s worth, I gather that he possesses the disposition to possibly get over it one day.

    So…I guess what I’m trying to say is that in all of this…EVERYONE wins. Chang’s CSWS influences KRS’s video and KRS turns out to be a good guy.

    Haha, I know it sounds real “kumbaya-ish” of me, but hey, the cosmos is crazy like that! :)

    Todd Angkasuwan
    Director, “Hip Hop Lives”

  3. Zentronix says:

    todd, oh snap i didn’t know that was you! today it all makes sense…

    plus you’re too modest. folks should know that you also directed kool herc in jin’s ‘top 5′ video and they should know about your movie:

    fam, check here and here

  4. Anonymous says:

    Yeah KRS could be talking about almost anybody. However, I think he might be talking about Adisa Banjoko (who challenged KRS to a debate). It got ugly and Bam created the peace.

    On the other hand, I was in Florida when KRS criticized Cant Stop Wont Stop hard. KRS is the cultural critic who hates critics! So, its all about where was the head of KRS ONE when he wrote the track? Was he still mad at the guy he ducked in a debate? OR, was he bitter at Jeff for minute issues no one else cares about? I guess the world will never know.

  5. Terry says:

    I’ve only had a chance to listen to the album once, but it seems to me KRS is offering his own, lyrical version of the history of hip hop…all of his tracks have a bent towards where hip hop has been and where it has to go…on the itunes download, there is a “making of” video, and he begins discussing some theories on history and how it is made…seems like he’s trying to pull the historians who he says are from the “outside” into the cipha…

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