News: KRS-One Tackles Iconic Record Label, "Def Jam Single-Handedly Destroyed Hip-Hop" [Video]

Saturday, Sep 26, 2009 6:30AM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Rap pioneer KRS-One recently shared his thoughts on Def Jam Records and said the company Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin founded has "destroyed" the hip-hop genre.

Speaking from VH1's Hip Hop Honors ceremony last week, KRS broke down his issues with the label.

"Def Jam is the dopest label in hip-hop, in the culture of hip-hop," he explained in an interview. "There really would be no hip-hop as we know it today if it wasn't for Def Jam. But you don't get that respect without also being the label that single-handedly destroyed hip-hop...Every time you think of what's wrong with hip-hop, the lyrics, the commercialized music, one artist being played on the radio all day, things like that, that's all Def Jam...We respect it. It's a respect cause we all competing, so Def Jam had the hardest competition, but the hardest competition as I showed the respect, I also showed the truth. And the truth is everybody else had to sit down so Def Jam could be who they are." (XXL Mag)

The event highlighted Def Jam's achievements and featured a variety of artists, mainly current and former labelmates.

The sixth annual VH1 Hip Hop Honors show will commemorate the 25th anniversary of Def Jam Records, as talents from across all artistic genres come together to celebrate this significant milestone in American hip-hop music. Eminem, Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, Fabolous, Ludacris, DMX, Mary J. Blige, Redman, The Roots, Method Man, ONYX, Public Enemy, Warren G, Kid Rock, Chris Rock, Jimmy Fallon, Brett Ratner, Trey Songz, Ja Rule, Gym Class Heroes and Scarface are scheduled to show up and show out to celebrate the label that served a catalyst for this American musical phenomenon. (VH1)

KRS is known for being a rap pioneer with over two decades of music to his name.

At the height of his career, roughly 1987-1990, KRS-One was known for his furiously political and socially conscious raps, which is the source of his nickname, "the Teacher." Around the time of 1990's Edutainment, BDP's audience began to slip as many fans thought his raps were becoming preachy. As a reaction, KRS-One began to re-establish his street credibility with harder, sparer beats and raps. 1992's Sex and Violence was the first sign that he was taking a harder approach, one that wasn't nearly as concerned with teaching. KRS-One's first solo album, 1993's Return of the Boom Bap, was an extension of the more direct approach of Sex and Violence, yet it didn't halt his commercial decline. (All Music)

He most recently teamed with Boot Camp Clik's Buckshot for their collaboration album, Survival Skills.

"A war," Buckshot told SOHH referring to what fans should expect from the album. "A war between us, me and KRS-ONE, 'cause we Batman & Robin to everybody. If you ain't dope, meaning, if you can't get on that stage show and out-last us, you have a problem. So when we say dope, we don't mean get on that stage and just spit rhymes, and I spit rhymes and the public go 'Yeah, who was better?' That's not what we talking about. I'm talking about battling, me and KRS-ONE are coming for heads if you get on that stage. We challenge anybody to that stage -- and that's why the album is called Survival Skills because regardless or not, me and KRS-ONE have survived battles after battles, war after war...Mary J. Blige is a friend of ours -- Mary is a gangster and when I say that, she's so real you can't believe it. She's not a Barbie Doll personality, but she has that appearance because she's a lady. We got Immortal Technique on the album -- he did some sh*t where he sound like Chuck D in 2000 and right now. Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch, Tek-N-Steele, Heltah Skeltah, Atmosphere -- now that you combine KRS-ONE and Buckshot that kill a show, and now when you go out and recruit the soldiers that do the same thing you do -- who can see our team?" (SOHH)

Check out KRS-One's interview below:

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