Boogie Down Productions Biography

This Bronx, New York-based rap duo comprised DJ Scott LaRock (Scott Sterling, d. 27 August 1987, South Bronx, New York City, New York, USA) and rapper KRS-One (b. Lawrence Krisna Parker, 20 August 1965, New York, USA). KRS-One (aka KRS-1) is an acronym for Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone, and ‘edutainment’ remained a central theme in the work of Boogie Down Productions. Similar to most New York rap crews, their lyrics highlighted the problems faced by the black community in a modern urban environment, compounded by the increasing drug problems, gang wars and use of weaponry on the streets. Indeed, LaRock and KRS-One, who had formerly worked with ‘joke’ rap act 12:41 (‘Success Is The Word’), met at a homeless people’s shelter in the Bronx, where LaRock was a counsellor and KRS-One a client. Following their first release, ‘Crack Attack’, their debut album, Criminal Minded, was produced in conjunction with fellow Bronx crew, the Ultramagnetic MC’s. It was a set that actively suggested that young blacks were entitled to use ‘any means necessary’ in order to overcome years of prejudice and discrimination. It sold over 500, 000 copies and was instrumental in kick-starting the gangsta rap movement.

After Scott LaRock became the victim of an unknown assassin while sitting in a parked car in the South Bronx, KRS-One’s lyrics enforced an even stronger need for a change in attitude, demanding an end to violence and the need for blacks to educate themselves. Criminal Minded had, of course, depicted the duo wielding guns on its sleeve. The follow-up sets, By All Means Necessary and Ghetto Music: The Blueprint Of Hip-Hop, were arguably just as convincing. Tracks such as ‘The Style You Haven’t Done Yet’ taking pot shots at KRS-One’s would-be successors. There was certainly much to admire in KRS-One’s style, his method becoming the most frequently copied in aspiring new rappers. He was also setting out on lecture tours of American universities, even writing columns for the New York Times. Like contemporaries Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions retained the hardcore edge necessary to put over their message, and in doing so, brought a more politically aware and mature conscience to the rap scene. However, 1990’s Edutainment possibly took the message angle too far, featuring only lacklustre musical accompaniment to buoy KRS-One’s momentous tracts. The live set that followed it was not the first such hip-hop album (2 Live Crew beating KRS-One to the punch), but it was certainly the best so far, with a virulent, tangible energy. After the release of Sex And Violence, KRS-One elected to release new material under his own name and abandoned the Boogie Down Productions moniker.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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