When it comes to Hip Hop, no one is as consistent and influential as KRS-ONE. It is impossible to discuss Hip Hop’s history without discussing KRS-ONE. His reputation as both a live performer and as Hip Hop’s “Teacha” has reached mythic proportions. As activist and author Tavis Smiley has put it; “…you are going to encounter a man who has sincerely sought to develop a relevant, honest and contemporary interpretation of world history, culture, religion, and philosophy. In many ways, his work actually rests in the tradition of great thinkers like W.E.B. DuBois, Carter Woodsen, and John Henrik Clarke, men who have sought to develop a cultural veil through which to interpret the seeming insanity of America. Regardless of whether or not you agree with his analysis, you must certainly appreciate that there is a profound mind at work, and a definitive spirit that is searching to discover what is right and exact”.
Krist Parker aka KRS-ONE (Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone) is the embodiment of the philosophical, sociological and political worldview espoused originally by those that participate in Hip Hop’s culture. KRS-ONE is presently the most outspoken leader of Hip Hop’s culture and politics. Having lectured at over 500 universities and colleges over a 15-year period, KRS-ONE has been honored by the United Nations, VH-1, Billboard Magazine, the Source magazine, the Riverside Church in New York, Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University and Oxford University students and professors in England. His integration of Hip Hop and metaphysical knowledge resonates throughout his music, lectures, and writings and the Hip Hop community can’t get enough of it. Not only is KRS-ONE widely considered the best live Hip Hop Emcee of all time, respectfully Ja Rule, P Diddy, Snoop Dogg, Nas, Jennifer Lopez, Jay-Z, Sublime, Mos Def, Dr. Dre are among those that have either sampled or covered KRS-ONE’s classic rap material.
KRS-ONE is an author, emcee, and Hip Hop activist who has (within a twenty-year period) published three classic Hip Hop books; “the Science of Rap” 1995, “Ruminations” 2003 and “the Gospel of Hiphop” 2007, founded three of Hip Hop activist organizations; “the Stop The Violence Movement” 1989, “Human Education Against Lies” 1991 and “the Temple of Hiphop” 1996 and has released fifteen classic Rap albums; “Criminal Minded” 1987, “By All Means Necessary” 1988, “Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hiphop” 1989, “Edutainment” 1990, “Sex and Violence” 1992, “Return of the Boom Bap” 1994, “KRS-ONE” 1995, “I Got Next” 1997, “Sneak Attack” 2001, “Spiritual Minded” 2002, “Prophets vs. Profits (The Mix Tape)” 2003, “THE KRISTYLE” 2003, “Keep Right” 2004, “LIFE” 2006, and “Hip Hop Lives” 2007.
KRS-ONE has also produced numerous Rock, Rap, R&B, Reggae, and Gospel artists selling millions of recordings and receiving numerous RIAA certified gold and platinum sales awards. But CD sales have never been one of KRS-ONE’s strengths nor his main focus. As KRS has even said of himself; “I’d rather have one hundred of the right people buying my albums than one million of the wrong people buying my albums. I’m trying to influence the next generation of leaders with my music”. For KRS-ONE Hip Hop is not just Rap music. “Rap is something that is done, while Hip Hop is something that is lived”. For KRS-ONE Hip Hop is an empowering lifestyle capable of raising one’s self worth, and with his own life he has proved it!
Born in Brooklyn New York on August 20th 1965 and raised by his mother Jacqueline Parker, Krist quickly learned how to take care of himself on the “streets” as his family moved around from Brooklyn to Harlem to the Bronx and then back to Brooklyn again throughout the 1970’s. Sometime around 1981 young Krist left home to pursue his purpose as a philosopher/emcee. He would use the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza for shelter and learning. As part of the homeless population, Krist would venture onto the 3rd Street/Bowery men’s shelter in Manhattan and then onto the Bronx again. However, it wouldn’t be until 1985 that Krist (now 20) would meet social worker Scott Sterling a.k.a DJ Scott La Rock at the 166th Street and Boston Road men’s shelter in the Bronx and the two of them would form Rap group Boogie Down Productions or “BDP”. Tragically, the duo only made one album together (Criminal Minded 1987) when Scott La Rock was fatally shot trying to break up a street dispute. Today, KRS-ONE performs and lectures regularly teaching metaphysical philosophy while inspiring peace, love, unity and safely having fun throughout the Hip Hop community.