Growing up in the 90’s, it was really hard NOT to listen to the man who was proclaimed as the father of hip-hop; KRS-One. “Who am I? The MC” and “The Rapture” would blaze through the speakers on many a summer day and even on BET’s “Rap City: The Basement.” For many years KRS has revered himself as a teacher of the hip-hop culture ranging from Graffiti and Breaking to MCing and DJing. He has encompassed everything the culture has to offer and brought out to the masses and speaks frequently of how the culture needs to change and the direction needs to be brought back to the fundamentals. Since the start this man has become an accomplished public speaker who has delivered lectures at over 500 colleges and universities. He is a philosopher, activist, author, lecturer, and emcee. In 2009, KRS published a manifesto that he deemed the “bible of the new religion of the future earth.” KRS pretty much took the Christian and Islamic bibles and twisted them on their heads. He took all of the best points, dissected them, and brought upon his view of the true meaning of life. The whole 500 page document reads exactly like a bible, but takes the art of hip-hop and breaks it down to uplift and empower those who may not have a voice or a beat to their heart, but needs/wants a fresh outlook on life.
To quote this new hip-hop bible; “The GOD of your understanding, has chosen you and you’ve agreed. To be here in this space and time to do something, that only you can do. Now I won’t stand here to try and tell you what it is. But deep, inside yourself, as you take time to uncover, and ask yourself some vital questions. Like – what is it that brings me peace, what is it that brings me joy? What do I love doing? What am I willing to become highly skilled at doing? What part can I play for the betterment of the society and the world in which I want to live? When you begin to ask yourself those real questions and it doesn’t have to be done in a formal way, it can be done just like we’re speaking, right now. Ask yourself the question; look at how you see yourself in just a year from now and then go forward. And if you have children or even if you don’t have children now begin to, look at your future beyond the space and time that you are in. Now visualize exactly, the way that you desire to live. Don’t be afraid to dream. (KRS-One, 2009)”
KRS takes the history of hip-hop and breaks down where the foundation of “the break” came from and how the culture originated out of self-preservation of the people. Self-creation became the foundation of the music and formulated the art form because of that. He calls us “Hiphoppas,” and explains how as members of the culture we can change our circumstances through self-creation and self-awareness to create a future that brings forth wealth, love, awareness and happiness. Committed to fervently promoting self-reliance, dedicated study, peace, unity, and truth, The “Teacha” has drawn both criticism and worship from within and from outside of Hip-Hop culture.
So we have to ask, where as producers do we fit? What was the point of bringing this up at all? Well let me explain that this way. WE CRAFTED OUR OWN WAY INTO THIS CULTURE. The DJ was the original producer in terms of the culture. They would chop the breaks for the rappers to put their lyrics on. We created that sound. Today, producers are known more in the spot light then most rappers. DJ Mustard is literally everywhere on the radio. The producer has been in the spotlight deeper both positively and negatively over the last 10 to 15 years, which we have given ourselves our own sound to bring about our “voice” in the culture. Every one of us has our own sound. We use our own programs and hardware (Ableton, Maschine, MPC, FL Studio, Pro Tools, e.t.c) and it has given us a chance to show what we can do. Producers like Araab and EDM producers such as Skrillex or Steve Aoki have made a name for themselves as live performers as music producers and radio/mixtape names. Hell, Pharrell has gone from “Superthug” by NORE to being a panelist on “The Voice.” If we as a culture in hip-hop are coming to accept lyricists such as Kendrick Lamar, J.Cole and Lupe Fiasco as “Teachas” of this new generation, then we have to see the producer as the tool for them to bring forth a new generation of the culture to flourish. Thus paving the way for a true “religion” under hip-hop, in which this gospel may become the foundation.
For a full teaching of the gospel from KRS-One himself, click on the following link! The Gospel of Hip Hop
“The Gospel of Hip-Hop: The First Instrument” KRS-One, powerHouse Books; First Edition (October 24, 2009)