Growing from the humblest of beginnings out of the South Bronx, KRS-One was living out of a homeless shelter when he met Scott Sterling (aka Scott La Rock). The pair created Boogie Down Productions and released their debut album, Criminal Minded, in 1987. From the very start, KRS-One rapped about social and political issues, including nuclear war prevention and opposition to gang violence. Even as many other rappers began cashing in on popular trends with songs about pimping, cars, jewelry, and alcohol, KRS-One remained true to his roots and kept his eyes fixed on tackling the issues that have been oppressing minorities and urban youth in the United States.
In 2011, over twenty albums later, KRS-One is still leading the charge to improve the lives of urban youth as a musician, author, lecturer, producer, and mentor. In 1988, he formed the Stop The Violence Movement in response to the shooting of Scott La Rock and the death of a fan at a Public Enemy concert. The group featured some of the biggest names from the East Coast Hip Hop scene, including Kool Moe Dee, Doug E. Fresh, Heavy D, Public Enemy, and KRS-One. In 1989, they released the single “Self Destruction,” and gave all sales proceeds to the National Urban League. KRS-One reintroduced a modernized take on the Stop The Violence movement at the end of 2008, this time featuring over 55 artists, including Talib Kweli, Busta Rhymes, 50 Cent, Method Man, and Nelly. KRS is also the founder of The Temple of Hip Hop, an organization that calls for fans to celebrate Hip Hop as a culture and political movement, and encourages socially conscious artists. As usual, KRS puts it best by saying, “Hip Hop has united all races. Hip Hop has formed a platform for all people, religions, and occupations to meet on something. We all have a platform to meet on now, due to Hip Hop. That, to me, is beyond music. That is just a brilliant, brilliant thing.”
KRS-One is exactly the type of artist Frank Fitzpatrick had in mind when he decided to bring some of the best musicians in conscious Hip Hop together to collaborate on brand new songs for the Beat the World soundtrack. KRS is featured on the title track of the film, entitled “Hip Hop Nation,” which also features the brilliant K’naan and soulful Lina. Check back here at EarthTones soon for more info on this revolutionary soundtrack.