Rolling Stone - 11/16/95, p.1133 Stars
- Good - "...Even when he gets preachy, KRS remains listenable because he always pushes the edge that thrives on change. He manages to stay ahead of the deadly competition without sacrificing the elements of his character that made him a legend in the first place..."
The Source - 10/95, p.97
4 Mics - Slammin' - "...the best elements from his past albums are...pumped up with new life and made FRESH for '95, you suckers!....[KRS-One] is ready to go skills for skills, toe to toe, in a battle for worldwide rap supremacy..."
Melody Maker - 10/28/95, p.38
Bloody Essential - "...buy this album NOW: for the beats which boom as good as any you'll hear, for the lyrics that cut harder than sharpened planets, for the fact that hip hop's most articulate son has delivered the Enola-payload he always threatened and the size of it...is f***ing fearsome."
Personnel includes: KRS-One, Fat Joe, Channel Live, Das EFX, Mad Lion, Busta Rhymes (rap vocals); DJ Dice (scratches); Dexter Thibou, Rich Nice, Sadat X (background vocals).
Producers: DJ Premier (tracks 1, 3, 8); Big French Productions (track 2); KRS-One (tracks 4, 6-7, 10, 12, 14); Norty Cotto (track 5); Showbiz (track 9); Diamond D (tracks 11, 13).
Engineers: Eddie Sancho (tracks 1, 8); Norty Cotto (tracks 2-3, 5, 12); Won Allen (track 4); Commissioner Gordon (tracks 6, 9, 11, 13); KRS-One (tracks 7, 10, 14).
Recorded at Boogie Down Productions Studios and D&D Recording Studio, New York.
All songs written or co-written by L. Parker. Samples include "Time's Up" (as performed by O.C.), "Pure" (as performed by The Troubleneck Brothers), "We Run Things (It's Like Dat)" (as performed by Da Bush Babees) and "Mystique Blues" (as performed by The Crusaders).
KRS-ONE contains 38 spoken interludes dedicated to KRS-One by guest artists and radio personalities.
Hip-hop music owes a lot to KRS-One. Lyrically speaking, no other rapper has contributed so much knowledge to the culture; musically, every song hits you in the head like a hammer. At a time when hip-hop has begun expanding into new genres (new-jack swing, g-funk, gangsta rap, R&B hip-hop, etc.), Kris Parker brings all rappers back down to earth with KRS-ONE, reminding them what hip-hop is really about.
Since his days with Boogie Down Productions, KRS-One has declared that his "Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everybody," and, due in part to his street-poet-like use of clever analogies to wake up his community, it does. On "Ah-Yeah," KRS takes on the form of his ancestors to show how the hardships they suffered are coded in today's society: "This is not the first time I came to the planet/But every time I come only a few could understand it...They try to harm me/I used to be Malcolm X/Now I'm on the planet as the one called KRS." The song is only the latest of many on which KRS has used his rhymes to educate the hip-hop nation about African-American history.
Although each song on KRS-ONE has something to teach, the idea that his music still pumps life into hip-hop through hardcore beats can not be overlooked. On "Rappers R.N. Dainja," KRS' lyrics warn others of the industry tactics of wack MCs ("the style that I am kickin' is like chicken/It will be bitten, re-written then performed for a twenty-five dollar admission"), as DJ Premier rocks the track with a wicked scratch of O.C.'s "Time's Up," allowing KRS-One to make it fresh for '95 just like he did in '86.