KRS ONE

KRS One's most recent album, Life, came out in June 2006, but was mostly overlooked by the radio and press (obviously). It was more surprisingly ignored by hip-hop heads and even long-time KRS fans who seem to think the legendary rapper is past his prime. A thorough listening of Life will cast those fears aside. Though the album may not be as epic as some of KRS's earlier works, it is a welcome respite from today's typical hip-hop releases. Life came out on small, California label, Antagonist records, and even though it was largely ignored eight months ago, this is not for a lack of effort or skill by the Teacher, who is still making powerful and important music. On "I Am There" KRS shines and inspires when he says: "I speak but most don't get it/But the few that do get it in their minds, my words stay embedded/And they blessed if they don't forget it/They'll never need a psychiatrist, a psychic or a medic." These words might sound boastful coming from anyone other than KRS, but when he says them, they feel right. He continues on this same track addressing the state of hip hop with concinnity: "Hip-hop, its home could never be a station/Sharin' a space with R& B, stop fakin'/Do you know how much money they making off of you and I, just because hip-hop won't unify? So look inside your heart or mind everytime you will find, I am there/ I can see where you at, feelin' trapped, can't move, can't act/ I was there." At his best, KRS seamlessly bridges varying topics like spiritual enlightenment, the current state of hip-hop and historical injustices. He neatly encapsulates these issues on the album's opener, another stand out track, "Bling Blung." Here, KRS presents a harsh critique of the current obsession with wealth and materiality among contemporary rappers, making things painfully clear, he says: "How many young men hung so we can sing a song?" Now show me another line as poignant as this by any other rapper in 2006. If you consider yourself a real hip-hop fan, go out and get this album.