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What makes a rap song outstanding?
What makes an album a masterpiece?
What’s more important—lyrics or production?
There are no right answers, but dammit three rap nerds are gonna try to find them in this podcast.
Original music by Red Walrus.
The Rap Lizards are: Ben, Dion and Gary.
What makes a rap song outstanding?
What makes an album a masterpiece?
What’s more important—lyrics or production?
There are no right answers, but dammit three rap nerds are gonna try to find them in this podcast.
Original music by Red Walrus.
The Rap Lizards are: Ben, Dion and Gary.
All right, you're listening to Do It Yourself Music Appreciation, the show where three old buddies, myself, Benny, my boy Dion, and my boy, Gary, we reconvene each week, we analyze we deep dive and we appreciate a different album each week. So far we've really run the gamut of hip hop. We've gone from, you know, pretty old school to pretty underground to somewhat more recent, very commercial but you know, very underground and now we're going to the essence... the one of the great granddaddies of hip hop, we're going to talk about Boogie Down Productions, Criminal Minded. Gary, love the pic this week, man. Really. It was a fun week of listening for me.
I'm glad you liked it..
My hip hop, my nerd. You know, brain started really.... taking some some some lessons on this one.
I need to know. I need to know. What did you learn? What did Benny learn? Who knows everything about music...
I mean, it's interesting, man. This is a great. This was again, I was floored by the pick last week, because it's an album that I mean, have I heard it before this? Of course I have, you know, as someone who needs to know everything about the thing that I love, right? Like I always have to know where it started. So I've definitely heard this album before.
But, you know, probably the last time I gave it a listen was you know, in my early 20s and I am no longer in my early 20s you know, like it was a long time ago, like over a decade ago was the last time I really listened to this one. So production credit, I always you know, for those who don't know Boogie Down Productions is a rap group, where really the MC is the great, almighty KRS-One. A guy who revolutionized rap music.
Living living legend. Living legend....and and that's not tossed around lately and that's like, the man is a living legend.
A guy who birthed..... and we'll get into more when we talk about the songs on this album but he really showed the way and birth the proper battle rap that you know a rap where you're going at someone personally, you know, he made it you know the competitive nature that rap always really.... it started as that. As like, no, I'm better than you know, you know, you're wack I'm not wack. You know what I mean? And it was his... rap has always been competitive. But he really was.... he designed the battle track you know, on.. on this album you see, just the two perfect examples of how to make a song that goes at someone else a diss track so to speak.
If you go to the Wikipedia entry for diss track, the very first one the the one that credited as having the first distract ever is on this album. Like that goes that goes to tell you all you need to know about that.
And again, people were making jabs at each other there was battles going on in clubs, you know what I mean? But really before, you know, before KRS did it with these two songs, which is South Bronx and The Bridge is Over, it was more about, you know, no, I'm going to do my routine better than you could do a routine, I might throw a jab at you, you know, in a battle, but it's really about who could do their routine better. Whereas he went, he took it personal, you know what I mean? And he made these isolated tracks going directly at a certain, you know, part of another borough, and we'll get into it again.
But just so this is this, this is credit is as the first street album and the first album in hip hop, which I mean, it's not it's not like a shining moment, but it's the first album to show the musicians with guns on the cover. And it is you know, this.... you if you want to talk Biggie, if you want to talk Wu Tang, if you want to talk NWA Well, actually, I think NWA might have already....... So let's talk I don't know, I don't know when....
around the same time....
Let's talk New York street hip hop. It can all be traced back to this album. And so it's KRS-One and DJ Scott La Rock who tragically only appeared on this album, because he was murdered shortly after this album..
five months, five months after that.
So So Boogie Down Productions was Dj Scott La Rock and KRS-One which stands for Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone. And, you know, so this was the birth of that, you know, street you know, somewhat violent rap in New York and..... what what happened is after Scott La Rock passed away, several other albums were released under Boogie Down Productions, but the one common thread was KRS-One.
So that's the intro. He changed a lot over the years. This was actually his, by far most violent, raw and, you know, aggressive album, as the years went on KRS assumed the role of the teacher and the spiritual advisor, funnily enough....
and that starts here.
Totally. He gets away from the more vulgarity and, you know, he, as time went on, he evolved into this wanting to bring people together, not tear him apart, as you know what I mean, and he actually has an album funnily enough called Spiritual Minded .... I don't know if you knew that.
but that was way out.
He made a lot of things . He made a lot of things, he kept making music. I think he's continuing to make music.
And you know, to without a doubt, I don't know if we're going to mention this when we really get into the album. I have to say, I witnessed him rock live me and you Dion, we were at Rock The Bells one year, and Rock the Bells, I have mixed feelings about hip hop festivals. Because quite frankly, as much as I love hip hop music, I think it's best heard on record. There's only maybe one or two artists I've seen where I'm like, this is as good as the record. And that's The Rroots and Royce da 5'9. I've never been to a hip hop show besides those two where I'm like, this is they're doing it as good as I hear it on the record. I've just never experienced that at the hip hop show.
My ears aren't as snobby.
So I when we go to Rock the Bells, it's great to see these artists, but a lot of them are yelling. A lot of them you can't really hear the, you know, articulate nuances in their songs. And it's more about how, how much are they moving? And how much are they shouting, rather than how well are they doing these rap songs? Right, it takes a backseat.
Now we saw a KRS and it was like the king holding court. It was like, it was like a master at work. Every.... it was he had the mainstage and it was like a tribal movement. Everyone in that crowd was dancing and locked into where he was going, what he was doing. He controlled the crowd. You know, they say, you know, emcee Master of Ceremonies mover of crowds. He mastered that ceremony and moved the fucking crowd. It was a sight to behold. I don't know if you remember Dion, some chick passed out right in front of us.
It's like... just like all of a sudden crack [slaps hands together] hits the floor.
it was dirt.
Was she overcome by the music or was she....
dehydrated and drunk.... most likely.
Governors Island in the middle of like August. It was....yea....
It was a weird experience. But But again, watching him do his thing. And he even again, he, he never lost that battle mentality that we just spoke about. He was going at people on the other stage. He's going, man, some people over there, they're talking about being aggressive. But that's not what this is about, you know what I mean? Like he was going at people for promoting the wrong thing in hip hop at the same fucking festival. That is balls and that is knowing that you are royalty. And that it's, you know, it's your authority, it's on your authority that you could say something like that, you know what I mean?
So at any rate, that's who we're talking about one of the gods of rap one of the great granddaddies of rap. Someone who reinvented the whole genre, or helped reinvent it at least so that's, and this is his first album, and what a pick it was.
So Gary, you know, the pick was... it kind of caught me off guard, because we were really, you know, we just came from Kanye West, the almost the pinnacle of commercialized, successful, you know, wealthy on the radio, top of the newspaper, you know, I mean, in the news rapper. I'm sorry, you know, in the news. Like, but you know, someone who made headlines in the 2000s, someone who has amassed a tremendous amount of wealth from making music to Boogie Down Productions, Criminal Minded, which is, it's a classic by no... you know, absolutely a classic and you can't deny that but it's a completely like, it's a left turn from where we just were, which, to our credit, we really taken many left turns. Eventually it brings you around in a circle by the way. We zipped and we zagged, between, you know, different areas of hip hop, so what made you decide to bring up Criminal Minded as our show this week?
Yeah, right on. Well, it's so it started with that documentary with the hip hop. Gosh, what was called again?
Hip Hop Evolution?
Yeah, hip hop evolution, which was excellent. And, you know, it was the first time I have ever seen and heard KRS-One speak just casually, right? He's interviewed in this. And I thought the dude was so just, I don't know. I mean, I didn't know he was still like, you hear KRS-One mentioned in all this rap is kind of like a, you know, a deity or somebody who's like, you know, reveared, you know, that there's a lot of reverence for him.
And I just haven't heard his music for a long time. I didn't realize I had heard his music, Then I you know, like, this guy's alive still? Okay, so you hear him speak. And he's just so funny. And like, he's so eloquent. And so..... he just knows how to tell a story that was so... that captured me, right? He, the way he started talking about one of the beats for songs and just kind of intro'd to it with this with a voice.
[Ben sings the beat]
Yeah. Right. And I thought that was awesome. Like, I got to listen to this guy's music. This guy is awesome. This guy is a kind of wizard that I didn't know existed. So and then, you know, I listened to the album. This was about a year ago, I listened to it in full for the first time and loved it. But the underlying theme in this album that was... I've never seen anywhere else in music, that's similar to like, our friendship, right? Is his genuine friendship with with his, with his DJ that he partnered with for this album Scott La Rock. They have a genuine friendship, these guys are friends. They have songs kind of building each other up, or he builds up his his, the character of his DJ in like a superhero like way, just in the kind of silly like half serious way that we build each other up, right?
Or like total this kind of special, you know, kind of friendship that withstands time etc. Right? Like, you could see that it was hilarious. It was sarcastic. It was like, you know, a bit of..... I don't know, he went far out there and it was it was it was just to be funny, and that's how I found that touching. I love the album, especially because of that, and it carries a special charm.
You know, it's funny, we don't......this album gets talked about a lot, um, for what it did, and its moment in time in hip hop, but it doesn't really get considered for the humor. I mean, I'm sure it's mentioned, but like, I don't know, this album well enough to just spit lyrics off the top of my head. But you know, he's very funny. You know, on certain parts of this album,
I'm talking about the.... there's a couple, you know, there's some really good storytelling throughout. Like the nine millimeter goes bang.
Nine Millimeter is dope...
It's hilarious, and it's... you know, it has an element of that, where he talks about how his his DJ, Scott La Rock is just, you know, he's either got a knack for trouble, or he happened to be, you know, in the spot, but he just showed up in a tinted out, you know, BMW, like some kind of, you know, bad guy type car, apparently just cruising the streets in this car, this dude, just looking for trouble, like, you know.
I'm not sure what his character was actually like, except that, you know, he was a social worker, and it was clearly, you know, not like a criminal type dude cruisin for trouble on the streets. But that was baked into the story, right? And the thing about him being a superhoe is also just baked into the story of the charactor, that I don't know how likely it was that this was anywhere near true, but it was so funny.
And how about, I mean, you just mentioned superhoe. I mean, how many of... when you listen to this song, Dion I'm gonna ask you too because you're gonna knack for this. How many different samples from this album have you heard in other people's albums?
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, that..... but what I thought you were gonna go with was.....
[sings MF Doom, Dead Bent]
it on a Super Sperm.
That's that's what I was gonna say a lot sampling super sperm.
Yes. So Scott La Rock chopped that up from uh... Rapper's Delight. "With my super sperm"....that's been chopped up a lot. But on this album, including "he is a super" that is a sample..... that is used as a sample on Dead Bent by MF DOOM on the first DOOM album. And you hear different elements. One thing I love....
I know what you're talking about. Yea..... And then Ghostface uses that in a on Supreme Clientele, doesn't he? "Chain swing down to my torn meniscus". Doesn't that beat?
I'm not sure.....I love.....That's Apollo. Oh, no, no, no, that that's from the album Apollo Kids. I Yeah, that's a song with Busta Rhymes. But
yeah, I think I think it might be the sample. Well, we'll explore that later. But yeah.
So yeah, there's a tremendous amount of like, A - like people sample this album a lot. So a lot of people have taken, like phrasings and like certain sentences that he says like most stuff, there's a few things.... Mos Def songs where he's just literally saying what KRS has said already on this album, and it's totally like, out of respect. But you know, as someone like me, I didn't you know, until I sat down and paid attention, I didn't know they originated here. You know what I mean?
What's the one song that Blackstar.... that Definition, that the song that they heavily sample is on this, this album and a lot of lines, just like you said, a lot of lines are just like just homage.
I believe it is....um, Super Hoe. I should have taken notes I apologize. But uh, we might have to chop this part up too. But I would love to find out, because there is the song Definition by Blackstar is literally that song but chopped up into a newer, so..... you know the song "One, Two, Three....Mos Def and Talib Kweli....." You know what I'm talking about?
Dude, that is just that is a surprise.....
Check this out. Check this out. It is Remix For P Is Free.
Oh, there you go. So the song Remix for P is Free, Blackstar actually took that essence of that song, and I believe most of that beat and made it into Definition, which is a completely different track, but you could hear its elements in this song.
The the ground, you know, it was built from this the bones of this song. So there's so many things. So many influences came from this album, and it just...
..it expanded far and wide. There's an interview with MC Ren from from... NWA
Where he says, this was his album, this was the album that really, like opened his eyes to like how, how street you could get and like, so like, all the way on the other side of America, this was influencing, and this is at a time this dropped. You know, hip hop was coming alive. But there was no hip hop radio stations. It was you know, you had a few hours in the middle of the night you had you know, Mr. Magic and you had a few other hip hop radio shows. But there was no Hot 97 there was no
at least not for like five years or something like that....
Exactly. And so like hip hop wasn't main stream just yet you had Run DMC breakout and make waves and they were, it was becoming mainstream.
It was on the come up, it was definitely on the come up. Run DMC would have just signed with Adidas, like, things like that were already starting to happen, but people weren't quite ready for or not that they weren't quite yet ready They just hadn't seen anything like KRS just yet..
And so that's what I mean, like this. This is like, you could follow the roots. Like if like, hip hop is a tree and you follow it down to the roots under the ground, one of its big motherfucking roots that breaks the sidewalk, and it won't, it will not be removed from the earth is this album.
Gary, when you suggested this one, and I went back and listened to it, I remember having the same thought when I first discovered it, although, it was the same thought but from a from a different pair of glasses, let's say because I've grown up a lot. And I appreciate.... I don't know about you guys, but as I aged, my, you know, the road that I walk is much wider in terms of like, accepting different genres and styles of music.
I was, you know, when I first started like, yeah, I get it. It's important, but I'm not gonna listen to this. Because it's a very sparse production.
It's drums. It's baselines and maybe a keyboard sample, but it's so sparse and so um
and the word is not rudimentary but
Are you surprised by how much fun you had with it though?
Yes. It breaks hip hop down to its bare bones essences drums, bass.
And and cleverness as ingredient
it's it's almost tribal in the you know the four four beat reign supreme and it's just you know, it's very.... it doesn't have melody we'll put it that way.
You know what it is when.... when..... I when I listen to this I'm when I when I hear it like this is the thing that like kept permeating in my brain every time I heard it. This, like half of the songs on this on this album when you, when you first hear the first few seconds of them. Like the first thing you hit you think of is hip hop. Like, I know it sounds it sounds kind of like you know vague or whatever but like, I don't know how else to describe it.
Like when when Poetry the first track, well when like those first few seconds pop on the first thing I think it's like oh, this is classic hip hop like I there's no doubt in my mind. And, this whachya call it.....um the The Bridge Is Over, that beat that's one of the beats that I think.... like when I when I think of hip hop as a thing. Like you know, you have a few a few things that always like come to the front of your mind. I feel like the beat for The Bridge Is Over is one of those things I just since I was a kid likem you think hip hop you You hear that.... [sings] Boom, boom, bah bah bah bah bah bah, bah, bah, bah bah. Like, that's just like, you know, ingraned in your skull. Like, that's what it is just like this album, just, it's just pure pure hip hop, like that's.... I don't know how else to describe it.
And you know, it's such an overused statement, and people don't do it much anymore. But when we were really, when we were in high school, MCs used to say I am hip hop, right? That was like a, you know what I mean? Like that, that's a declaration that what you do is hip hop in the purest form, right? How many times have you heard that I am hip, I just have a shirt that said, I am hip hop. Do you remember that?
I think so.
I would wear it proudly. But like, you know what I mean? He's one of the people, KRS when he says, and he said it before. I'm sure, I don't I don't know. But if he said, I am hip hop, you go. Yeah, yeah, you're right, motherfucker, your hip hop. You know what I mean? Like, you are like, there's no doubt.
So this the sparse production, right, I want to take a moment to talk about that.
Because it's, so if you've never heard this before, if you're if you're into hip hop music, you know, from the 2000s. And even as far back as the 90s, if you're, you know, but you haven't gone to the, to the Golden Age, which is, you know, the late 80s is considered the golden age of hip hop. If you haven't gone that far back. You might be startled, quite frankly, if you've never heard something like this, you might be like, Man, this is some bare bones shit. You know what I mean?
It's like, it's like someone like watching a Casablanca for the first time. It's like, Whoa,
Black and white. Right?
Yeah. Right. Like, why am I gonna be interested in this?
And just a few years later, literally, just just maybe 2, 3, 4 years later, the art of sampling had had the skill and the art and like what you could do with sampling, which is, you know, again, sampling is the taking elements from records, recording them, and then repeating them and making your own music from it, which is really, that's how that's the origin of hip hop is. You know, inner city schools lost the ability to, there was no more music programs and inner city schools, they took instruments away from the youth. So that the, you know, kids from the Bronx and from New York, wanted to make their own music. And they learned how to take records, record, break beats, and add other samples to it and make their own music from pre existing records. And that is the birth of hip hop, right? In a degree to a degree. That is really, when you trace hip hop back to his roots in the 70s. It was Kool Herc taking two records, and chopping up two records to make his own music live for you to witness and that's really the very origins.
Yeah, that was the single celled organism right started at all,
The Amoeba, for you know, so. So, you know, that was in 19, let's say 1977. I don't know for sure. But that's around when when Kool Herc started doing something like that. It's you know, two years later, you had the first ever single pressed and heard by the masses, which is Rapper's Delight. And if you think about it Rapper's Delight, that's not even a sample. It's an instrumental track, that was once a Disco song. And they just removed, and disco, right that you saw, like, you know, people don't really... a lot of people don't know that that hip hop was birthed from disco.
Heavily, heavily linked to disco heavily, especially early hip hop, look at the outfits and shit that these people are wearing. Yeah, like they look like the village people and that shit was cool. Like that shit was cool back then, like that sequence going on down the arms. And like eye patches and like yo.
I can't wait for that shit to come back.
Yeah, but it's basically already here. But....
So real quick. So, you know. So you know, in 1979 Rapper's Delight, it's just a disco instrumental, right? And then over the course of the 80s until this point, sampling became, you know, it started with just drums like chopping up a drum break beat, then adding a baseline. And this was literally shortly after sampling became the prime you know, again a few years.... I don't I'm not gonna, there's no way this is not the first ever sample, you know, sampled music and hip hop, but it broke, it broke free from the disco. This is so far removed from the disco elements that he set, late 70s, early 80s hip hop was birthed out of and it really helped shape the street sound. Right?
Drums, hard hitting bass. Simple. And then a few years later you hit you have A Tribe Called Quest album that literally infuses all this jazz and all of this other, these other sonic elements that were not in hip hop and like so like again, this was like right in the middle of that right far away from just disco instrumentals really starting to like make your own music with your own samples, your own drum, you know, machine, loops and here's what you get. Right? So that's what I wanted to talk about. It's just, if you're looking for something that's going to sound super polished, this ain't. Even the DJ cuts or like off sequence, right? Like when he scratches on certain... What's the song? It's one of the first songs.
I have it right here, I believe Word From Our Sponsor, possibly, or Elementary somewhere around there where it's every time Sott La Rock scratches and comes back in. It doesn't even hit the 4-4, 1. It's like offbeat. You know what I mean? And the whole thing sounds like it was thrown together in some guy's bedroom. It really does.
But that's what gives it that like sort of real like rawness, like that, you know, it's the same shit that....
Hungry people making trying to make a name for themselves.
It's the same exact thing that happened six years later in Staten Island with Wu Tang. Similar, you get that like raw sound? It's like, yeah, your shit ain't perfect, but that's what I love about it, is that it's not perfect.
It sounds totally, it feels unpolished. And that's, that's part of what makes it good. Yeah. Can we talk about storytelling for a second?
Because that's the thread that is coming through from before this music to very much in this album and some of the best storytelling that I heard. And also in Future Stuff, right? Like, like, Left My Wallet in El Segundo. Right? A little while after this, right?
But like you hear it all the songs that we love. And the storytelling that this like, let's say that that song Nine Millimeter Goes Bang......
Before we go on with that, that is going back to somewhere just about 10 minutes ago. That's that kind of style that like, like we were saying, like if something like you know, 17 year old kid who just got into hip hop three years ago, started listening to that, that flow is gonna shock the shit out of that person. Or that kid, like, Where as for us, we're like, oh, that brings us back to like, you know, even this, like, pre-dates us. Like, this shit came out were, you know, but like, two years old, but like, we still have appreciation for this, but like that, like kind of like slow... like, kind of like very deliberate, you know, on the beat. Like every word like is, you know, I love that shit. But like, that's the kind of stuff that's like so far removed from this uhh... from this generation, but that's a whole nother....
Yeah, man. I mean, yeah,
...we do get it. We do get it once in a while. Yeah, what's up Benny?
Sorry. So I want it I want to hear like so like, we just heard it, right? He's telling a story. He's, he's taking us through this. This experience, right? So like, like, what, what is your like, you know, what do you have to say about storytelling here?
Yeah. Well, here's an example. And this song when he's talking about the knocking. He's like heard, heard a knock it goes [sing] wah, wah, wah..... but it the way it sounded does not sound like any cop. And if it were a fiend, they'd asked me for a nick. But you know, it's actually you just kind of it's it's work. It's in the music, right? It's his voice really adds to it. And it adds to the story, the impact of the story. You... for me, I picture it and I'm right there in the apartment. I'm seeing him duck.
because he's about to fire through the door. And like he's got..... It's just like a typical scene from like an 80s, crime movie kind of thing. You could picture it. And it just, it's, it's great, the way he tells the story. And it it just, I think this kind of storytelling where he puts you right there, carries through in a lot of his music, you know, even after this. I mean, especially after this album, he gets into some really just I mean, humorous and detailed storytelling that reminds me of some of the, my favorite music from you know, Notorious BIG, right, and anybody who tells a story about criminal activity that really puts you in, you know, right behind the eyes of the protagonist. That's cool.
And that's another thing this album is credited for doing which I'm sure this is not the first rap. These are not the first rap songs to tell a story, right? Like, The Message came out in what 1982 by Grandmaster Flash. And you know, that '81, '82... and that, you know, that that was an essay on the condition of New York City at the time, you know what I mean? So like, wasn't the first topical rap music, but
.... and even in Rapper's Delight, it was you know, they're just, there were anecdotes in there
the whole dinner of the dinner party of Rapper's Delight is one of my favorite things...
and the extended version, "have you ever went over to a friend's house to eat and the food just ain't no good."
Say what?! Kaopectate? Kaopectate in a rhyme? And it was successful? In 1978?
So you know, this but what this album and KRS's impact was, he showed you how well and how descriptive and how you know, when you listen to to KRS tell a story you are at attention, you don't get lost, and you know, you know, it's almost like he has a beginning, a middle, and a resolution. He and and...uhh.... Did you hear that siren in the background?
Anyway, um, you know that there's, you know, you could you could that's what I mean where you could trace the roots back. So if you follow the roots up the tree and storytelling, you know, a few years later, this is '87 so you know, by '95 you're going to hear Biggie, tell some of the greatest tales ever told in hip hop,
I Got a Story to Tell
Yo, same year you're going to hear Raekwon tell some incredible freaking stories for you know, and then move on, and his career is one of the greatest stories ever...
When did Rewind come up?
Rewind was 2001.
that was, okay.
And but again, NAS one of the
best stories, the greatest storytellers,
If you want to trace the roots back, they're not gonna I mean, they could you could trace them back to to again the Amoeba of rappers delight. But really, it's rooted in this album that storytelling a gangster street tales started right here.
An you know, what a voice. What a voice to tell that story. Man, I think I always I always thought of KRS, especially after you know, listening to this album a bunch. I think of him as the original dragon. You know, like, there's some, like, just a big voice right?
that voice that uses humor that like uses that, you know, makes uses onamonapia and uses all these literary techniques to keep somebody plugged into the music.
You know what it is like, I feel it.... every time I hear KRS rhyme. I almost feel as if he's like, he putting his arm around me. And it's like, just like just spitting knowledge to me. I mean, like, that's like the vibe I get every time I hear. It's like, just like, cuz he's like, he's a big, he's a he's a big burly dude. Like, I just I imagined just like, you know, like, metaphorically, you know, whatever, like, you know, like your brother, let me teach you something puts an arm around me and then he starts spitting, you know, remix P is Free or Criminal like they're just and especially the the that going back to that flowing on a Nine Millimeter. Like it's so like, you know, it's just a matter of fact, it's no bullshit. It's like, here's the story. I'm not trying to put any frills whatever, yea.... we were on the floor, I started shooting. So what...
His voice is also like a wave of energy, right? It carries... in addition to the simple backdrop, right, especially back then, his voice really is an instrument in the song and it carries the song like a wave.
Co much confidence. This is his first....
This is his first like album, his first single, he probably recorded maybe, let's say two years before that. You know, hip hop moved a lot slower back then. You know what I mean? You didn't have SoundCloud and Instagram. You didn't have his overnight famous you had to grind. You know what I mean? So like, like, and you could honestly what I love about this album, you could also like when I listened to the songs I hear, I'm like, Oh, I think he recorded this like, probably two years before he recorded that. Because of like, how he evolved on this album. You know what I mean?
And I don't know, I you know, I could be wrong. Maybe the ones that sound more evolved or older. I don't really know. But if you could, one thing KRS, I got to give it to him. This is 1980 motherfucking seven. Okay. People didn't have these wide variations of styles, clothes, and rhyme schemes. Okay. He's rapping in a time where, you know, not long ago [sings] hip hop regatta boo. You know what I mean? Like, it was just like, just nonsensical words at one point a few years before.
use this kind of style when I choose it.....
Exactly. He, he does rhyme schemes that are not landing on the back. I don't know what the beat is because I'm not a musician. But it's, you know, it used to be at the end of every sentence in every sentence is the rhyme word. And then you're going to run the next sentence with that last line where he's going a ...
He's doing A-A B-B rhymes where he'll rhyme. Like, uh.... he'll do like two things that rhyme. And then two things that rhyme next to each other, but they're not necessarily landing on the 1-2-3-4 beat, he will rhyme one sentence then say another sentence, then rhyme the next sentence with the first sentence and then the next sentence with the with the second, the fourth.....
That complexity was just not around
Not around at all, just wasn't.... and I think it's important to recognize that because '87 That's why when you start when you mentioned Criminal Minded, all I thought was '87 right? Because it's such a monumental year in the evolution of MCing right also DJing and sampling as you listen to the years go on, soon after this you had Ultra Magnetic MCs with their first album Citical Beat Down which while they never had a truly successful career after that, that album still, I think it got five mics in the source not mistaken. It's a monumental album in Hip Hop and it's so much more advanced than this in terms of its production and offbeat raps. So much more advanced.
But '87 you had Run DMC you had you know, you know, you had people, you know the popular MCs right before this. Who am I thinking of the brakes? Kurtis Blow [singing] "Clap your hands everybody, if you've got what it takes" you know, it's just about having a good time getting the party going. Not really saying much.
Also storytelling, right? It was good storytelling rap. Still, that was the common thread. That that was the part of the tradition that absolutely stayed intact.
because it was still in the era coming off of what original like, originally, hip hop, like in terms of like, back to the rapping of hip hop was a was meant for ummm, to keep the crowd going. It was forparties, you know. So like, yeah, like a lot of that involved....
Yeah, totally. The original role of the of the MC was actually to hype up the DJ. There was a time in hip hop, shoot a few short years before this, that the emcee, his purpose, or his or her purpose was to hype up and get the party going for the DJ spinning at the party. It was almost they were the hype man to the DJ.
Which in part he's doing here, right and probably worse, and that because his buddy is just as his boy and he loves him. Right? And he has some mythology around him. And like, you know, like our friend Vlad who can fly or a friend Sergi who's a supervillain, you know? Right?
Totally. And this was... you know, this was that was the thing in hip hop at the time. There was no, I'm an MC and I'm gonna hire this mega producer and this mega producer and this mega producer throw it all together and call it an album, which some great albums were made that way. But you know, that wasn't... this was you link up with your dude, he's going to make the beats, you're going to rhyme. So Boogie Down Productions. KRS is the only one rapping on this album. What is Boogie Down Productions because of the the collaborate, the collaboration between him and the DJ Scott La Rock. Also credited on almost every song is Ced-Gee of the Ultra Magnetic Emcees. I don't know if you saw them. But said GE was a great innovator in, in, especially drum machine samples.
Everyone went to set said and Keith for, like how they could chop up funky drummer and other James Brown into like, great sounding hip hop, break beats. So yeah, so I digress. So '87, right, we're in 1987. Again, a few short years before a rap was so basic. And so nursery rhyme, simplistic in its delivery, then comes this guy who just f*cks up the whole program, and starts putting rhymes in places that aren't necessarily at the end of the sentence.
And then just a few months later, right? I would argue even more monumental occurrence takes place. Someone who never was the storyteller, that KRS was, but the person who showed you how emceeing can be done and how advanced you can get so quickly from literally, again, just simple nursery rhyme shit to in 1987, Paid in Full comes out by Eric R and Rakim, and Rakim... it was like, he took this internal rhyme thing where, you know, he's gonna rhyme the second word in a sentence with the second word in the next sentence, but the end of the word is going to be a different rhyme that's gonna rhyme with a different rhyme at the end of this and he invented and just exploded...
Where was Kane in all this?
So Big Daddy Kane, again. Right? So what that's why I think it's so.... I love looking at evolution, right, like so. Hip Hop is one of these things. It only started in 1979... like really like the world found out about hip hop in 1979. Right. So really trace back all its origins is much harder to say, who was the first jazz musician?
Oh, yeah, sure.
Well, you know, I'm sure someone might know, but I'm just saying, ya know, hip hop's essence started in the 70s. So we could we could watch something people just figuring it out, to people mastering something in less than a decade.
This is a this is a music music genre that is by far like the biggest genre in the world. Basically, that's less than 50 years old. It's insane. Like....
So Big Daddy Kane, who again came in with Slick multisyllabic flows, rhyme schemes. He came in in 1988, right? The Ultra Magnetic Emcees 1988. A Kool G Rap dropped in that era. And I believe his first album was '88 or '89. And he reinvented he again took it to the next level. So it's just so cool to watch what happened between Boogie Down Productions, Paid in Full and then everyone's like, oh shit, right between KRS's ability to flip a story and keep you captivated control the crowd, be authoritative in your voice, and Rakim's pen wizardry, and rhyme scheme fluidity, and musicality in his in his vocals. Between those two, those two things, right? Are such monumental moments. They happen a few months away from each other and then hip hop just blossoms, you know what I mean?
I feel like everything up to that point was like, alright, I see this, I could do this, but I'm not going to reinvent it. Right, these two things reinvented hip hop right here. And you could say Run DMC did to with with the hard hitting, you know, is basically just drums and bass and just but they were very basic in their rights, they... Run DMC, there, you're just not going to look at them as the greatest as people who pioneered lyricism. They weren't.
Not lyricism. They were pioneers of hip hop. Yeah. But not specifically lyricism not not not I never be the first one to tell you too. Like they they even said, I mean.. we're all talking about hip hop evolution. It's so fresh in my head because I'm literally watching the episodes this morning but DMC straight up said he's like, Yo, what the minute I heard Rakim, I knew we were done.
As far as as far as being like in like, you know, the mainstream public eye or whatever. Obviously, they still maintain like, you know, success since then with like, merchandise and and certainly a couple albums and everything like that, but he recognized right away is like, Yo, this is a new school like we're done. We are done.
One day we should review Follow the Leader by Eric B and Rakim which is their second album because I think....
Put it on the list.
I'm gonna put it on the list because everyone's talked about Paid in Full. But follow the leader was like, they stepped up their game in every way on that next record. So yeah...
Do you guys wish that the album was longer?
You know what, Gary, I'm gonna argue that. So you think it you think it just it ends too quickly?
I think it ends. I think just long enough for me to love it and want to listen to it again. And somewhat wish there was more. But it's like, it's just it doesn't it doesn't kill you with with volume. It's just like, here's the essence.
And that's it. That's all you get.
The only reason I wish there was more is because that would mean there was more music made by the original duo of Scott La Rock and KRS-One which would you know, that would be my my thirst for more, or hunger for more. But I think there's something to be said about an album that's just about 40 minutes. I think it's maybe less, I don't know..
45...45 minutes. 10 Tracks.
It's digestible, especially in this day and age, where I mean, how many times have you had 45 minutes to listen to a...?
I was I was gonna say like, just just juxtaposition of an album we just did last week Kanye that was 22 tracks, I think. I mean, granted, like five, four or five or skits and, you know, you got that and I'm not even like shitting, shitting it. I still loved it. But like that's, I mean, this 10 tracks, 45 minutes, it's like, you get, you get your message like you start it, starts off with poetry, you got to diss track. You got a couple songs about pussy, a couple songs about weapons. And uh, you know, you ended off with your title track called Criminal Minded. I mean, like it's, it's, it's short and sweet. I could see how you'd want more. I guess I'm not, you know, arguing that..
You do get a lot more from KRS. And like soon after this, right early '90s KRS was prolific, as you know, as he was later....
But you never get this KRS again. That's one thing..
No. No you don't...
This was the first and only time you're going to hear KRS openly go violent, and talk about hurting people and talk about like, again, I use this word and I don't, I don't know what else to call it on the ignorant level, just like talking about guns, and talking about crack hoes, you know what I mean?
Very soon after he became the teacher where it was actually the death of his of his DJ Scott La Rock that opened his eyes and you know he... Dion, I know you haven't seen the episode yet, but I really, you know, can't wait until you see it. It's called this. Again, it's a Netflix series, Hip Hop Evolution it's a great, great learning experience and fun watch about how hip hop was birthed and where it all went. And in Do the Knowledge which is the episode about KRS-One, which you know, it leads into the conscious era you know, not only did he birth street rap, but then he birthed conscious rap.
Yo ...Yo, I got something for you Benny and Dion. I have something for... I think you'll both enjoy this. I mean what if KRS in Criminal Minded is Victor Vaughn to MF DOOM?
He's a younger dude.
It's like the real version of that where on is this like made up character?
Yeah. And so is MF DOOM, really.
Right. This was like the the not yet a wisened up enlightened version of KRS. This was his street self, for lack of a better way to put it. You know, this was him in a hungry kid in the street, trying to make some money rapping and Dion I can't wait till you see this episode.
Yeah, No, I'm probably going to watch it today.
Get excited watching KRS tell the story of and we should get into it now of how the South Bronx and the Bridges Over came about, is like he's like a little boy again almost you know what I mean? Like, you see his eyes pop pop up and you see him get so excited about the story of how this came about. And I'm going to do a paraphrase here.
So, again, I'd say that the biggest the most impact this album..... the part of this album that has the most impact on hip hop is the two songs South Bronx and The Bridge is Over because again like Dion said, they are the first diss tracks. They are diss tracks directed at the Marley Marl's crew, excuse me, Marley Marl Juice crew and
MC Shan. Marley Marl I know that G Rap was down with them, but he was in...
Roxanne Shante. So So and as well as I think Big Daddy Kane actually became a part of the juice crew as well I could be wrong about that. So you know, what, what, the way this all started is KRS and Scott La Rock hooked up in the you know, in the with, with the love of hip hop, they became this duo. They were recording demos, they were recording, you know what they could with....
Pause here for one second. KRS was living in a shelter system because he was homeless. He was a homeless teenager in New York in the early 80s. That's crazy. You just wanted to pause and say that
and let's take that, that little side note one step further. His social worker was Scott Lar Rock.
No shit...wow, I didn't know that.
Yes. So Scott La Rock was who was not he was he was spinning at parties. And he was a DJ already. But his his main source of you know, his main employment was he was a social worker.
And so this he's like, so what are we going to do with you? How are we going to help you and like, what can you do for work? And KRS says if I'm not mistaken, Well, I'm an MC and he goes, Oh, you're an MC. Why don't you spit a rhyme for me? And right there KRS just comes out and spits a verse for him. I think it might have ended up on this album too. I'm not sure but well, so and and since then, you know, he invited him to a party, KRS.... someone was dissing Scott La Rock, KRS-One got up on the stage and battled this guy. And since then, they were inseparable. Right? Y
Yeah, I'm just...
I have chills. I have chills on my arm telling the story.
I'm just picturing.... my my dad was a social worker in the 80s in Bed Stuy. I'm picturing my dad meeting one of his patience. I'm sorry, one of his clients and appearing on a f*cking album with done with guns and grenades. five years later. My dad with his '80s gotee and his glasses just like....
an explosion. Awesome.
That's the origin right? So so they're they're together. They're they're making this you know, they're, they're getting their chemistry together. They make a single. I believe it was the first track Poetry, I'm not sure. And I want to get into that track in a bit. But so they make Poetry, right. And they're so proud of it. And they're so psyched about it. Right. So Mr. Magic, I believe is the DJ who was spinning from Queensbridge who is down with Marley Marl and the Juice Crew.
You know how I know? The Biggie line. Every Saturday rap Miss Every Saturday rap attack Mr. Magic Marley Marl.
There you go. So Mr. Magic, who is like the big New York radio DJ at the time.
They show up to to the radio show. Bust in. Give them the tape like - Yo, play this. And they stand there like this, like with arms crossed, you know what I mean? And and like, Marley, you know, Mr. Magic is like yea, yea, yea... whatever, you know what I mean?
And eventually they push in a and and he plays it any and he goes so what do you think? Hey, get out of here your shits wack. Right. And you could I love this part. Again, it's on Hip Hop Evolution. The episode is Do the Knowledge. So that you see KRS telling the story his eyes go, what?!
We're not wack. Marley Marl is wack. Like just like like he just like, what!?
He couldn't believe it like he was on.
So that stemmed the hatred. And then there was a song by the Juice Crew called The Bridge, which was, you know, there was one line where they kind of insinuate that hip hop started in Queensbridge, which is a fallacy. It started in the Bronx we all know that. KRS being from the Bronx, and Scott La Rock rock made this retaliatory song called South Bronx where he goes at them...
I was actually gonna say, but before we can get into it before we do, though, it's funny because we think of diss tracks you know, this day and age as a certain thing, right? Like, we we all know, The Takeover. We know Ether, we know, Hit 'em Up, you know, like, we do some like classic like, you know, just like hardcore, these diss tracks. These two songs, especially South Bronx, it's actually it's quite mild.
South Bronx is ligh, but by the time Bridge is Over comes out, there is one line where he gets very personal about...
About other people too. He really goes at them on that. So these two tracks that was like it, you know, there was the the Juice Crew recorded response tracks that did did not do well. And this was a clear cut victory, and the birth of the battle track the diss track, and like, this is how you slay someone. This is how you assassinate someone's character without anybody getting hurt physically.
And again, one of the saddest and most atrocious things that happened, you know, than in the next decade is that diss tracks became, you know, they would eventually return to violence
They were real...
and too many too many rappers have been murdered, and severely hurt with things that could have, should have just stayed on record.
I would I would like to thank thank you know, thankfully, I think we're a little past past that I.... Like every now and then you'll you'll hear a little bit but I think the crux of that was like the 90s with the East Coast v West Coast that shit get fucking scary.
I mean, like, even even us who were, you know, we were 10, 12 year olds, whatever at the time, who had nothing to do with the fucking hip hop industry. We had nothing to do with anything like that. But even us like there was a certain kind of tense like, you know, being like, Yo, I is that dude walking down the street. Is he wearing an LA hat? Yo, f*ck that dude. You know what I mean? Like it just, it was it was like a weird kind of like vibes. I was like a Yankees Red v Sox got to think of except this involved in an actual murder.
Do you remember, we were in sixth grade, I believe when Tupac died. Do you remember?
Yea, yea, yea...
I was in Ms Bables class when I found out bro. So yeah, you know, it. It's, it's like, I remember that moment in time thinking like, it was like, almost like I grew up a little, right? Like, like, like, like my view into adulthood. Like, oh my god, like, like, listen....
Did Ms Bable notice?
The year before. I knew that. I knew that major figures in pop culture could die because the year before Jerry Garcia died, and it affected me deeply. But,
but not like this.
I mean, this was one of the biggest stars in the world. Dead. Murdered. And I remember being like, holy shit, like they can kill. Like, they can kill people who I listen to on the radio, like....
yeah, just like that.
They can kill Tupac? Like, what? You know what I mean, we were in sixth grade. I didn't realize like, this was going to ever it was ever going to come to that, anyway.
Crazy how far diss tracks.... they've, they've spawned some horrible things. But it's also the, like, one of the main elements and essences of hip hop is that it's competitive. And that if you got a beef, settle it on record. And you could go and it's for the people to judge who won. This was one that I don't think anyone said nah, juice crew wone. You know, maybe people did, but it was also.....
Like, we're from New York. I'm from New York. I grew up in Brooklyn. And for me, the South Bronx, and Queensbridge. They're not that far apart. [laugh]. Places. It's just so I mean, it ended up being a not, you know, not a serious beef. It ended up being, you know, the expression of feeling offended and pride being offended
.....and airing it out.
And a misjudgment of what what's good, right. But, yeah, it's just it's just so silly that, that these things get manifested, and they get taken further in songs. Especially when it's like neighborhoods that are like you could drive between within 15 minutes. Yeah.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
No traffic.....with no traffic. With traffic, maybe a half an hour.
During Covid crisis you can get to the South Bronx and back....like that...
It's actually something interesting I noticed about.... I wanted to get into the to the violence of this album. Similar to what I was saying about about the diss tracks being kind of mild. The violence actually, it's not it's not that bad in this overall. In fact, some of it's a little bit, dare I say humorous?
Yeah, it's cartoon violence, right?
and he also he also doesn't think that I noticed that he um several times he alludes to to separating battling like it like if you like he's basically saying like yo, if you want to come battle me, like if you actually really want to battle ,we're gonna bust guns. I'm keeping music separated from this. Like if you want to do like you know music sparring, we could do that, but but let's let's let's not like if you actually want to come at me and battle, you got beef with me.
I don't battle with rhymes I battle with guns. That felt like it Edon line you know that was....
it did it did it did very much so yeah.
It was it was on on Poetry got a line "the poetry I'm rattling is really not for battling but if you want if you want I will simply change the program". Again, that's one of those lines where Ben, that program rhymes with something else, it doesn't make sense but but that right there like that, that shows is like yo, poetry is one thing, and I'm gonna teach you this shit. But if you want to if you want to go to violent route, I can do that too. I could bust guns. Look at my look at my cover.
I love the beat to poetry.
Now that song. Yeah, great beat, and I would like to talk about that's my favorite song on the album .The first track. Now I want to talk about why. So.... name a song from 1987 where someone is rapping off beat like that. So that, that style was taken and and perfected on Ultra Magnetic's first album.
That you know, it the they weren't following where the snare was hitting right? Well, there's just a [sings] bop, bop bop dapu dot, dot dot dot dot doo, right? That's basically where everyone was rapping on the beat.
This one man words are falling in between the snare in between the kick and it's kind of musical. And and that's where and Kool Keith, maybe he heard it. Maybe he was doing it already. But when you hear Kool Keith in 1988 on Ultra Mag.. we should review that out too, Critical Beatdown he takes..... KRS doesn't do it again on the whole album, right? It's just this one song where he is completely... by off beat, I don't mean not on rhythm. But he's not locked in to the kick in the snare. He is bouncing, he is landing in awkward pockets that make the whole experience.
It makes it there's not even that.... it's a sparse production. But the song sounds bigger, more full. He's not being dictated by the drums, he is accentuating the drums, drums. And this is where the vocals become their own instrument. Before this, I wouldn't necessarily say that the MC became its own instrument. It's like someone really following the four-four beat and like, almost almost like adhering to what it is, where it's directing them. Where he is going, I'm hearing it and I'm gonna make my own thing that goes along with it and follows and it's in rhythm, but it's not on beat.
That is monumental. Okay. I mean, you just can't find another song from 1987. That's like that. I guarantee you.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Right. That's, that's perfect example, I ain't gonna come at a perfect time. And it just sounds so it sounds perfect. It sounds melodic. It goes.
Totally. And again, obviously at birth to diss track. But quite frankly, I'm more impressed by that. Because that is taking this this music that was coming up and rising to the top and becoming popular and saying, nah, man, look at what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna leave you guys feeling scratching your head going? Holy shit. Like, why didn't I do that? or, how the hell did he did? How the hell did he do that? How did you stay on rhythm but not rhyme on the beat? You know what I mean? It was and then again, I feel like listening to Paid in Full right after this. After you listen to this, is such a good experience. Because then you hear Rakim...
I'm gonna do that. I'm gonna do that right.
After we finish this listen to Pay to Full cause, you listen to what Rakim did with the same thing, offbeat flows. Really musical, right? He never. He wasn't super topical, right? He wasn't going to tell you about a story that he had. He's just going to tell you how amazing he is over and over again. Like that's that's what Rakim raps about, especially in the 80s.
As the album's go on, he gets you know, he becomes more conscious. But really, it's like, I'm going to tell you how amazing I am and then I'm going to back it up because you're never going to be able to replicate this. Very offbeat, very musical very, like his own instrument again, and very poetic. Highly, highly recommended as a juxtaposition to this album, because Eric B's production is way more advanced. Yeah, absolutely than what Scott La Rock was doing. So it's really cool to see. Yeah.
We are saying a while back about a about switching styles just real quick, going back to that first diss track South Bronx, you realize that KRS switches his style to the style of MC Shan to... as part of the diss
That's another thing that like no one's even like like, forget about I mean this is a time where like you said like everyone had one style. So the fact that this this guy KRS-One comes out it comes out ) with his own style and B) like you said it's able to switch it up to the point where he's, he's making fun of someone. He's like, yo....
This is Ghostweed before ghost weed.
Ghostweed before ghostweed.
MC Shan was that wack. MC Shan was not wack. I mean, he was just saying it, you know, just trying to prove his point in terms of like being a diss track. But again, it's going back to that switching up styles like that. That's impressive. I mean, for us these days. It's like, it's still impressive for us. If you see someone like you that's able to like mimic styles, like, you know, like, there's a comedian Artie Spears. I don't remember me like it was like 15 years ago, he had a video where he was able to mimic like Tracy Morgan and then like, he did Method Man... like people are able to like do these these mimicking things in hip hop and they can be whatever, but back then I'm sure that people were impressed like, Oh, shit, you know what he just did he just sounded like MC Shan. MC Shan sounds stupid. You know, but it's....
This album made a lot of people look silly.
Um, that really. Yeah, like these two dudes is basic, low budget. Non famous people, they don't have a rep to hold, you know. They don't have success to brag about, they're just gonna like slay everyone and they're gonna make everyone who came before them look really stupid for a minute. And then real quick after that rap got really competitive. Right, so again, just a few months later you get Rakim, just a few months later after that you get Big Daddy Kane, and Kool G Rap, and that's when to me like, so while rap existed before this this was the birth of the of the super MC right?
The MC is like where, Oh my god, we're listening to this guy hold court and like I f*ck with Rakim because of the way he runs these things. No, I fuck we KRS is because of the shit he says. I f*ck with with Kool G Rap because of the intricate wordplay. You know what I mean? Like, that's when you start going, Oh, I like this guy because of how he does this. Now I like this guy because of what he brings to the table.
I guess to put it in your, in those terms, Benny. I like KRS because he's the type of MC that comes from being able to talk himself out of a corner, any corner, right? He's a guy with a nimble mind. He's a guy who could tell a story. And he could do it...
...whenever whenever he needs it. In fact, he talks about it in the documentary when he's like when I where I grew up, if some if you're you know, and I can't imagine a world like this, but this was his upbringing, right? Where he's like, you know, he gets into some trouble like you know, in his neighborhood and he just starts you know, spitting a rhyme or just you know, doing something poetic to like just make the make the person that's messing with him, like impressed, or laugh, or just kind of you know, change the course of things. He's a mac.
He said that like, he said that when, when he was walking around the neighborhood, people wherever you go, if someone said yo, spit a rhyme. And you had to spit a rhyme... and if..
I could not imagine a universe with that attitude. That's awesome.
....and if what you had to said was wack, then they didn't they didn't f*ck with you. [laugh]
I would love to live in a time like that. Oh my god.
I would have been beat up over and over again.
um..... another interesting thing he doesn't this, uh.... In Bridge is Over did you guys, you guys realize that the last 10, 10 bars, is a is from a Billy Joel song from us It's Still Rock and Roll to me. Do you guys realize it?
No. Oh, "they still telling lies to me." Yeah, yea, yea....
The whole thing. The whole think. That's f*cking sick, right?
I never put that together. And you know,
I would have never connected that.
Dude, other MCs have paid homage to that, they've gone "you still tell lies to me". Like I've heard that on several other songs from the 90s...
Who would have f*cking known, Billy Joel? And it was so obvious too.
Can I just tell you. I think you guys both know this, Dion, you definitely know this. If you needed to ever torture me to get information that I didn't want to tell you. Don't do the waterdrop torture. Don't physically torture me. Play Billy Joel, and I'll tell you that whatever you want, just make it stop. I respect him. I know he's an incredibly talented songwriter. I just find his music nauseating. So...
You know what else is magical about this album? Everything has been f*cking pointing to it. Everything. Except Billy Joel.
It is important to what, DIYM?
No, it's not let's let's let's let's set.....
It's the name of the show. What are you talking about?
Oh, Do it yourself? yea, yea yea...
It's, the name of the show.
In the spirit of DIYM, for you...
Everything has been pointing to it. So yeah, it you know, I used to love sublime. It was like I listened to, I got really deep into sublime when I was in, you know, like late junior high school,, early High School, and
You - Must - Learn...
Right, it's all and there was like an acoustic song. Right? Yeah, exactly right with the scratching, it's all because of KRS-One.
Yeah, there's a song called KRS-One.
Yeah, yeah, he totally gives all the props to him for his hip hop.
At the time. I'm like, KRS-One bookmark. I don't know anything about KRS-One. It took me years to listen to this album. Who else? Idon talking about KRS-One and then Stakes is High. The intro to Stakes is High, like we were talking about in the last podcast.
Take us through that again, Gary, because I love that that your view on it. Go ahead.
That was that was something that I outlined my love of this genre of music, you know, listening to Stakes is High on a bootleg CD that was burned with errors that I didn't know where errors, right. With a weird scratching after every song, you know, like, interesting choice. Nah, not real.
It starts with when I first different people talking about the first time they heard Criminal Minded, this album and how it changed their life and to change their view of music. Right? It just starts with when I first heard criminal minded by different people talking about their story of how and stringing it together, which was a cool way to start an album and to pay homage to storytellers right like this guy, who's a brilliant musician, you know.
One thing I wanted to suggest and we don't have to do this because we are keeping things to one album on the show. But there... I love the way that KRS evolved his music, you know, in the early '90s when some of our favorite music was coming out, right, during the time of like Scenario and Scenario Part Two and your favorite Tribe albums. He put out some music that was such a great example of storytelling and some of his best music that I wanted to see if you guys wanted to do you know as part of our outro after this episode, to give it a spin.
Yeah, totally what song?
Something from nothing from return to the boom bap. Or, in fact, I have one that I've just been I included in one of my you know, recent driving playlist, but I added here right from Return to the Boom Bap is an awesome song.
Send it over.
Do you have Spotify dude?
What, of course I have Spotify.....
what the f*ck you mean? [laugh]
Cut that out.....
I'm more I'm more meant to send the title of it.
So far I sent you guys the Instagram handle.
Yeah, I'm down with that, Gary. Did we leave anything out by the way?
I think it should be mentioned how this might be one of the origins of hip hop and hip hop, also, integrating reggae phrasing and singing into your raps.
Let's talk about that for a second. Real quick. Actually I umm.... that's that's one thing that I've always like, you know, even from when I was a kid like not knowing that much about KRS, and learning a little bit more as I got older, whatever. The one thing I always knew about him is a Yo, this dude is Jamaican, and he like incorporates reggae into almost all his shit. Like even the way he speaks like Busta does the same thing a lot too. But KRS is like very much as that that Jamaican influence. I believe he had a Jamaican father, American mom, but Jamaican dad. And he talks about in his album,
He mentions that his brother is a rasta. I wonder if he does he have a brother? I'm not sure. His buddy?
It could....No, it could he could have a brother as a.... I mean, I have a cousin that's a rasta..., so I mean....you don't have to be you know but um, but he mentioned a few times that uh you know, the, the Bronx you know, had you know, they birth hip hop and everything that. He talks about going to Brooklyn where like Jamaican cats were hanging out. I forget what the exact line was or what song was on he basically alluded to like him going to Jamaica, dancehall parties and the moment they tried to play any kind of hip hop build like they were run out of them I fight with with bullets.
Get out of here with that with that hip hop shit. So I feel like this album like was him trying to bridge that and be like, Yo, my Jamaican brethren come meet my Bronx hip hop brethren, and let's let's let's do this together, you know. And and a couple times he goes into it whether it's the beats or his like his voice inflection his accent whatever he like, his... your Jamaican reggae influences all over this album? I love it. I love it.
Real live dreads with knowledge in their heads.
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Which is funny because he wasn't... he was talking about it like that line. I think was talking about his brother, right?
Maybe maybe, I don't know. I don't remember.
Oh, I got it. I got this on. It's like yeah, cuz I it's actually part of my notes on on Super Hoe. Yeah. I think he might be taught, I guess he might be talking about a, it's it. I don't think he's talking about himself as the point. But it's also kind of foreshadowing because later on, he does become the guy with dreads and has knowledge in his head.
So I mean, that's again, it's like kind of a cheesy throw, if you know, obviously that foreshadowing, but it's like, you know, it's it's just like a little fun, fun fact.
Self fulfilling prophecy.
Self fulfilling prophecy. Exactly. Umm, also in that in that song, just real quick a little off-shoot. Something that I think has come up in at least once in, in every album that I reviewed, where these artists will end a line with a word but sort of like, twist that word up to make it like force and fit the rhyme. He does that in, in in Super Hoe, where he has a line that ends, "because everything that flows out of my la-ri-nex" instead of larynx. I forget what the line was as well before that, but it was just so smooth. And again, like you know, you hear someone talk about in conversation, it's like yo, that dudes crazy. But like it works with this. It's just like love it's just like...
I always bring it back to the .......penetration. The Biggie line, which is my favorite, my favorite, like use of changing a word to make it force a rhyme.
And I remember I heard the larynx thing too, nd the next thing I thought of was Black Thought on the Do You want More album for The Roots? He goes, my rated x Laron x Rex, your context?
Yeah, that's right. That's right. Oh, cool. Good f*cking call...
This album just never never fails to amaze me how much it started, and how much it influenced.
I think we really, we said it all, or I'm sure there's much more to be said. But we set a lot.
I think we've said some things that we shouldn't have even said.
I think we might have to cut some things out.
I hope we do.
Thing will get cut. Things will get cut.
Yeah, go ahead.
I'd like to take us out now. I want to thank you guys for you know anyone listening. I hope you enjoyed it. Next week. You guys don't know this, by the way. But I want to tell you what we're going to be reviewing next week right now. So you....
Before you do. Before you take it out. The one thing I just want to leave my my one last personal thing with Criminal Minded. I had no idea about this. But if you guys look at the Wikipedia page, they talk about the liner notes for this album. kit. They specifically shout out my cousin on the liner notes. But it's on the Wikipedia page.
Do you want to give a shout out for who your cousin is?
For those listening, my cousin is is Maestro Fresh Wes was who is a legendary rapper in Canada, out of Toronto. He's considered the godfather of of Canadian hip hop.
And once that big song, Let Your Backbone Slide?
Let Your Back Bone Slide, was his big hit from I believe '87. And he just got into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame last year. Because of that, so my cousin my cousin, like, he may not be big here, but a lot of like a lot of classic rappers like they all know... because their all in the same circle... like hip hop is hip hop. So those guys in the '80s and shit like that they're all in the same circle.
Like one of my good friends is Chuck D like you know, like he knows he knows all these movers and shakers and everything. So I wasn't surprised when I saw that, but it was like, as I was reading like when I started do my research within the Wikipedia, and I saw them start to say it's like, oh, yeah, well, in the liner of notes, they give shout outs to the Toronto music scene. I'm like, wait, Toronto, and I keep going. It's like and and including artists such as Maestro Fresh Wes, and a couple of those others.... I texted him and was like, yo, just lettin you know that I'm doing this podcast, and I just discovered that you got shouted out in the liner notes for Criminal Minded. So I just want to drop your line check on you....
but yeah, that's all I want to say. That was like a little personal thing. That's....
Awesome. So I wanted you know, thank you guys for listening. Great time. Thank you guys, Dion, and Gary. You know, this has been the highlight of my week of my week, every week so far in this crazy in these in this "new normal". I'm so tired of that. But uh, you know, this, this has really been keeping me sane.
So so next week, I didn't even I wasn't even sure what we were going to talk about next week. But all this talk about knowledge, right? I think we're going to talk you know, we're gonna review an album by an emcee with more knowledge than most and that's the genius GZA of The Wu Tang Clan. We're gonna we're gonna do Liquid Swords.
Which is my absolute favorite rap album ever made. I put it above all others in my heart.
So if you're gonna listen in, give, why don't you give Liquid Swords a spin, in my opinion, the the pinnacle and masterpiece of hip hop. So we're going to talk about it next week.
You've been listening to Do It Yourself Music Appreciation. We'll see you next time.