KRS-One: The True Lyricist and Hip Hop Champion Claims Many of Todays rappers are “Traitors to Hip Hop”

“What people call rap or hip hop today is a disgrace to our culture. An absolute betrayal, disrespect and a disgrace,” KRS-One commented.

Lawrence “Kris” Parker, better known as KRS-One, stands as a powerful figure in the world of hip hop. Hailing from the Bronx, he is a true lyricist, a dedicated advocate of rap culture, and a representative of authentic hip hop values.

As one of the most respected rappers in the industry, KRS-One gained prominence in the mid-1980s as a member of Boogie Down Productions, a group he co-founded with the late DJ Scott La Rock. Their mission was to advocate for Black Americans, infusing their music with a distinctive New York flavor. After the tragic loss of Scott La Rock, KRS-One continued his journey as a solo artist, carrying the torch for rap music and its recognition.

During the 2023 ESSENCE Festival of Culture, which celebrated hip hop’s 50th anniversary, KRS-One made his mark as one of the performers on the lineup. The event paid tribute to the rich heritage of hip hop, featuring other esteemed artists like The Sugarhill Gang, Big Daddy Kane, Melle Mel, Slick Rick, and Bone Crusher.

While speaking at the festival, KRS-One expressed his concerns about the state of today’s mainstream rap music. He emphasized that authentic hip hop was never about prioritizing profit over purpose. For him and his peers, it was all about the “why” behind their craft, not just the dollars.

When discussing the perceived gap between the old and new school of rap, KRS-One pointed out that it’s not merely a gap but a matter of betrayal. He believes that some of today’s artists have abandoned the core principles of hip hop and its original elements: breaking, MCing, graffiti art, and DJing. These foundational elements were driven by values of peace, love, unity, and fun. In contrast, he criticized certain artists who chase money at the expense of their cultural roots and betray the essence of hip hop.

Moreover, KRS-One addressed how mainstream media’s portrayal of Black people plays a role in influencing perceptions and even contributing to police brutality. He stressed the need to have constructive conversations with the youth to instill positive values and opportunities. The veteran rapper actively engages with young people in prisons and juvenile centers, hoping to inspire positive change in their perspectives and lifestyles.

KRS-One’s enduring commitment to hip hop’s authentic culture and his dedication to empowering the youth highlight his significant impact on the art form and the communities it represents.

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