Lawrence Kris Parker (born August 20, 1965, age 45), better known by his stage names KRS-One, KRS, Teacha, and The Blastmaster, is an American old school hip hop MC from South Bronx, New York. At the 2008 BET Awards, KRS-One was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for all his work and effort towards the Stop the Violence Movement as well as the overall pioneering of hip hop music and culture. He works with other hip hop artists consisting of rappers, groups, and DJs, and these artists include Boogie Down Productions, Scott La Rock, Marley Marl, Diamond D, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Buckshot, Talib Kweli, Immortal Technique, and R.E.M.
Boogie Down ProductionsEdit
In the summer of 1984, KRS-One hit the music scene with a rap group called "Scott La Rock and the Celebrity Three" with a record called "Advance". In a time when most rappers rhymed about cars, jewelry, alcohol, and the latest dance, KRS-One was rhyming about nuclear war prevention. Scott La Rock and the Celebrity Three was composed of Scott La Rock, Levi167, MC Quality, and KRS-One. After legal problems with the head of the label, Scott La Rock and the Celebrity Three were released from their contract. In the winter of 1984, KRS-One wrote a song called "Stop The Violence" although by this time The Celebrity Three had broken up and only KRS-One and Scott La Rock remained. Both realized they had to change the name of the group and they did: the new group was called The Boogie Down Crew.
KRS-One began his recording career as one third of the hip hop group Boogie Down Productions, or BDP, alongside DJ Scott La Rock and Derrick "D-Nice" Jones. They met during a stay KRS-One had at the Bronx Franklin Avenue Armory Shelter. Scott La Rock worked as a social worker there. The duo would begin to create music. After being rejected by radio DJs Mr. Magic and Marley Marl, KRS-One would go on to diss the two and those associated with them, sparking what would later be known as The Bridge Wars. Additionally, KRS had taken offense to "The Bridge", a song by Marley Marl's protege, MC Shan (later on, KRS One produced an album with Marley Marl in 2007); the song could be interpreted as a claim that Queensbridge was the monument of hip hop, though MC Shan has repeatedly denied this claim. Still, KRS "dissed" the song with the BDP record "South Bronx"; next, a second round of volleys would ensue with Shan's "Kill That Noise" and BDP's "The Bridge Is Over". KRS-One, demonstrating his nickname "The Blastmaster", gave a live performance that devastated MC Shan, and many conceded he had won the battle. Many believe this live performance to be the first MC battle where rappers attack each other, instead of a battle between who can get the crowd more "hyped".
In 1997, Parker surprised many with his release of the album I Got Next. The album's lead single "Step into a World (Rapture's Delight)", containing a sample of punk and New Wave group Blondie, was accompanied by a remix featuring commercial rap icon Puff Daddy; another track was essentially a rock song. While the record would be his best-selling solo album (reaching #3 on the Billboard 200), such collaborations with notably mainstream artists and prominent, easily recognizable samples took many fans and observers of the vehemently anti-mainstream KRS-One by surprise. However, in August 1997, Parker appeared on Tim Westwood's BBC Radio 1 show and vociferously denounced the DJ and the radio station more generally, accusing them of ignoring his style of hip hop in favor of commercial artists such as Puff Daddy. Although having not been in the UK since 1991, due to the fact he does not fly, he claimed "to be in touch with the people", and said that "they weren't feeling Westwood, he's a sell out and has sold his soul to the dark side." This sparked controversy in the UK since Radio One was one of the main supporters of the single "Step Into My World" and caused the album to be his best selling. Parker has since visited the UK, most notably in May, 2007, in a performance at the Royal Albert Hall where he once again dissed Tim Westwood in a freestyle.
In 2010, KRS-One was honored along with Buckshot by artists Ruste Juxx, Torae & Skyzoo, Sha Stimuli, Promise, J.A.M.E.S. Watts and Team Facelift to name a few on their mixtape Survival Kit which is an ode to the 2009 album Survival Skills by KRS-One and Buckshot. The mixtape was released for free download on DuckDown.com. The album features new version of KRS-One classics "South Bronx", "Sound Of Da Police" and "MC's Act Like They Don't Know" as well as new versions of well known Buckshot songs and Past Present Future from the Survival Skills album. The MC Fashawn stated in his verse on "MC's Act Like They Don't Know" that "I did it to make Kris smile. I figured he'd appreciate it."
Born Lawrence Parker in Park Slope, Brooklyn in the summer of 1965, the MC left home at 14 to become an MC and Philosopher. He came to live in a homeless shelter in the South Bronx, where he was dubbed Krishna by residents because of his interest in the Hare Krishna spirituality of some of the antipoverty workers. By the time he met youth counselor Scott Sterling, he was also writing graffiti as KRS-One (Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone). Together he and Sterling, a.k.a. DJ Scott La Rock eventually created Boogie Down Productions, releasing their debut album, Criminal Minded, in 1987. KRS-One has been a vegetarian since his youth for personal reasons.
Randy Hubbard Parker, stepson of KRS-One, was found dead in his Atlanta, Georgia apartment on July 6, 2007 in an apparent suicide; he was 23. Simone Parker, KRS-One's wife and Randy's mother, released a statement on July 10 that stated her son's death was related to his continuous battle with "severe depression". The Fulton County Medical Examiner's office stated that Parker died of a gunshot wound to the head, and listed the cause of death as suicide. Parker was a graphic designer and fashion entrepreneur. A private memorial service was held on July 18, which would have been his 24th birthday.
- Return of the Boom Bap (1993)
- KRS-One (1995)
- I Got Next (1997)
- The Sneak Attack (2001)
- Spiritual Minded (2002)
- Kristyles (2003)
- Keep Right (2004)
- Life (2006)
- Adventures in Emceein' (2008)
- Maximum Strength (2008)
- Back to the L.A.B. (2010)
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- ↑ Williams, Houston. KRS-One’s Stepson Commits Suicide. AllHipHop.com: July 10, 2007.
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