Classics / Canon edition of the DiS Hip-Hop Listening Club


I always thought Premier did the whole album, but just having a poke around on Wikipedia and apparently KRS produced some of my favourite tracks himself, and Showbiz did Sound of Da Police. Anyway, it still ticks lots of Classic Album boxes for me - (almost) single producer so a nice cohesive sound, right amount of tracks, no skits, (almost) no guest spots. Just feels really definite

There’s a track or two that I might skip nowadays (I can’t sit through Sound of da Police anymore) but on the whole it’s aged really well IMO and it just a great front to back listen.

KRS-One is funny one for me. On that podcast I posted they discuss his ‘standing’ and how he probably isn’t in a lot of peoples top 5, or even 10, and why that might be. I pretty much gave up on him after I Got Next. There’s an interesting bit on the Stretch and Bobbito documentary where he’s freestyling about a British massacre somewhere and it transpires that he had basically made it up, but he speaks with such authority that you just take it as gospel. Same with the Westwood spat. This guy is The Teacher - he’s always correct! But then I started realising he often spoke complete shit. And that’s when I gave up on him.


Weird. I think we were typing almost the same thing at the same time.


Say it aint so!

wow yeah!


Didn’t he also express some questionable opinions immediately in the wake of 9/11? I seem to remember some outcry about him saying that he and others cheered as they watched the WTC collapse.

Dodgy opinions aside, this is a great album. I actually saw him perform live last year, in a pub in Whitstable. It was phenomenal. He still has that very authoritative stature.


I don’t remember the 9/11 comments but just Googled it now. Blimey. The thing about him is, if he’s questioned on it, he’ll give a cryptic answer starting with “What you’re not OVERSTANDING is…” etc and you’ll never properly understand his thought process.

But having said that, if you listen to the phone interview on that podcast he comes across as such a nice guy and I feel bad critising him.


I think this is very much the case. I think this record is something of a reinvention and restatement of the boom bap sound after diminishing returns from BDP. And it was a very influential one. It helped to bridge the gap in sound between those golden age albums, and that 1994 renaissance in NY rap. Illmatic, Word… Life, Sun Rises in the East etc. and the rawer sounding New York hip hop to come. BUT it very much gets lumped in with the old school while all that stuff to come got praised as something new. I guess it’s probably KRS’s last major contribution to hip hop but it’s an underrated one in terms of influence.


I think people perhaps didn’t quite know what to make of it at the time it come out and that it sounds a more forward thinking album now when listened to with a bit of perspective.


Yeah you’re probably right. I’m talking from the perspective of someone who hit my teens in the early 00s so miss some of the context I guess

As an aside, it’s funny what’s considered old school hip hop always changes. Originally describing the origins up until 1984 or 1985, in the 90s it seemed that had extended to the late 80s stuff, and i sort of considered everything up to 93/94 to be old school. I’ve heard kids these days refer to early 00s stuff as old school! :smiley:


haha yeah, was watching some old weezy videos on youtube last night and there’s people in the comments section complaining about lil uzi vert and reminiscing about when hip hop was “real” (2005 apparently!)


That’s natural I suppose. I think the most sensible chronology would say that this album was just about the last knockings of the old school. I think it ended when hip hop became by far the most commercially successful genre of music in the US, which it did shortly after this album came out. That changed everything (largely for the worst in my view)


Particularly funny when Weezy was seen as the antithesis of real hip hop by stuffy heads at the time


I think whatever is ‘new’ will have a backlash for not being what came before. I hope I never fall into that kind of bitterness. I’m sure there were people who hated Wu-Tang for being nothing like the Sugarhill Gang


absolutely. shippers and C_L articulated it better than I could above, but the main reason I don’t listen to much krs is I just associate him with that tiresome “real vs fake” hectoring


I understand this sentiment, but for me it’s when hip hop exploded into technicolour, splintered off into a whole bunch of directions, and benefited greatly from increased production values. While there are hip hop albums from pre-93/94 that hold up, I’d say it’s an exception rather than a norm. So many have aged badly in terms of either the sound and production, rapping techniques, or simply because their influence was so great that you can barely hear it anymore (Eric B and Rakim’s big albums are kind of the Citizen Kane of hip hop to me – sure they were revolutionary but that influence was so internalised that they’re a bit… boring*). There was plenty of artists still bringing rap with a message, but the music itself was more varied and interesting.

*apologies if anyone is planning on picking Paid in Full :smile:


I’ve been increasingly alienated from hip hop since the mid 90s, so it is very much a personal view. I really disliked most of the stuff that passed for mainstream rap and found its language, politics and crass materialism really alienating. Most of it sounded really uninteresting as well. There have been odd things since that I’ve loved - Doom, the early Wu Tang solo albums, Jean Grae, Company Flow, Cannibal Ox etc but I have been very much an outsider. There’s bound to have been a load of great stuff I’ve missed.

I’d rather listen to Paid in Full than Puff Daddy any day though.

I should say that things have changed for the better in recent years- records by Kendrick, Vince Staples, Freddie Gibbs, Saba etc in recent years are all really great.


The thing is, as soon as you had the shiny suit era, you had a whole wave of backlash of more traditional hip hop and underground hip hop, not to mention other types of pop rap and hardcore hip hop, the burgeoning Southern rap scene etc. So if you liked Puff Daddy’s Forever, great. If you didn’t, 1999 had Black on Both Sides, Things Fall Apart, Doomsday, Soundbombing, Internal Affairs, 2001, Blackout!, Nia, the Slim Shady LP, A Prince Among Thieves, First Come, First Served and a whollllllle lot of other stuff besides. Most of that still sounds great today and there was something for everyone, basically.

Anyway, if all goes well, this canon edition will challenge my neglect of some of those old school albums, and your overlooking of some of the later stuff! :grin:


KRS-One was a big deal for me, I can very vividly remember sitting in my bedroom in my early teens tuned into some kind of pirate hip-hop radio station that dropped ‘Rapperz R N Dainja’ (still probably the biggest KRS song imo) and just being like, holy fuck, what is this. It probably opened a bigger window for me into Premier’s production at the time, but I got into KRS a lot too. I liked a lot of the BDP stuff and I think I had a DVD of Beef which has a segment on KRS and MC Shan.

This is probably my favourite KRS album; I think I literally bought this in the era when I would sample rap albums on Amazon for the snippets and then spend my pocket money on the best ones. It was definitely Mortal Thought that got me to buy this album. Still a big tune.

Some of the production on this was surprisingly versatile, particularly Uh-Oh and Return of the Boom Bap. I think my favourite tracks are the bangers, so Mortal Thought, Outta Here, Slap Them Up, P Is Still Free, Mad Crew, Stop Frontin’.

Sound of Da Police is one of those records that is obviously unilaterally amazing and huge but just cursed by it’s own ubiquity and popularity really. One white dreadlocked guy dropping it at a house party and going over the officer/overseer bit with his eyes closed, deep in the zone, is all you need to be put off for life. I’m sure it had a huge reach and influence and spread of it’s message in the 90s when it dropped and utmost respect for that. I don’t really listen to Fuck the Police very often either, but hugely respect it.

As touched on in this thread I think there’s a certain earnestness and self-righteousness to KRS that put me off in the long term; I just find it hard to stomach any artists who take themselves too seriously, in any genre. Especially when there were rappers at the time like Jeru the Damaja, Q-Tip, De La, Aceyalone who managed to spit enlightened and conscious raps without seeming corny or lecturing. KRS still had a good sense of humour in this era. I Can’t Wake Up could almost be a Redman song.

Favourite KRS is when he just came with mad energy, positive vibes and verbal gymnastics, and there’s a lot of that on this album, so very happy to have revisited it.


side note that he’s still basically on that same tip in this video, the whole real vs. fake thing, when he disses all of the wiggedy-wiggedy-wack MCs, but at least it’s more in the spirit of battling and out-rapping them, not just hating on something new for being popular.


That bit in Attack the Block when the white boy trustafarian listens to it on his headphones pretty much destroyed it for me (it’s still great really, though)