Preach On, Preacher-man
The real hip-hop is over where?

By Sarah Tackett

Kris Parker, or KRS-One, set up his metaphorical pulpit at The Dame last Monday. If you didn’t already know, Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone, hence KRS-One. Parker has been around for over 20 years, imparting his hip-hop wisdom from club to club, concert to concert, and he makes some good points.

Most significantly he preaches about the purpose of hip-hop and claims that it is not about “pimps, hoes, bitches, and players.” Over and over again he stresses that the real hip-hop is about “unity, harmony, love and happiness.” The real hip-hop for Parker is not what is played on the radio, or MTV, but about the actual people who use it it to identify themselves.

Parker is serious about this point and has even gone so far as to work with UNESCO, to make hip-hop an actual autonomous nation. He reports that the “hip-hop nation” has actually been recognized as independent, by the governments of several countries. (Okay, so what if they are countries like France, where they still wear roller skates with pom-poms and are proud of things like cheese?) It is pretty impressive that he has worked to change actual law in the name of hip-hop.

He even went as far as to say that one day, in this country, you will be able to mark hip-hop as your ethnicity when filling out the census. Considering that we live in a country that is fond of labels: black, white, Democrat, Republican, hetero, or homo, it is refreshing to see someone buck the system.

Why? According to Parker, when you are hip-hop, you are free from being pigeonholed to the stereotypes that stick to these labels. KRS-One is all about the freedom to truly be yourself. (It sounds much cooler when he says it, he has deep bass beats and a couple of DJs backing him up).

To demonstrate this freedom he asked all the break dancers in the audience up on stage to show off their stuff. This was delightful. There is nothing more exciting than watching someone spin on their head and then jump to their feet. Watching them defy gravity even makes you feel a little liberated. Encouraged by the excitement that drew from the crowd, he invited all the rappers on stage to freestyle.

Now this was a little different. Instead of passing the microphone off like the baton of friendship among the hip-hop community, some eager MC’s almost started a bloodbath on stage. This shoving and pushing climaxed when the enthusiastic young rapper was pushed off stage and landed on the floor on his back, where he continued his rhymes as if nothing had happened.

KRS-One regained control of the mic and the crowd. Even though the preaching was interesting and even a little enlightening, it was always second to his actual music. He is a great lyricist and his rhymes are tight and resonate. It was even more obvious after the parade of amateurs.

At times his message was painfully redundant, at others it was funny and clever, (like “F the Lone Ranger, Where’s Tonto?”). He appreciates a deep bass rhythm that you can feel in your chest and in turn makes you literally feel the music.

Unfortunately, however, after an extended lesson on hip-hop he was only allowed one encore before the bar shut down. He left the crowd begging for more.

It was an awesome show to see. The idea that anyone can identify themselves as hip-hop is progressive in the movement towards diversity and acceptance. So answering the question, the real hip-hop is everywhere. My only complaint is that he could have depended on his music more to spread his message, instead of asking us over and over again where the real hip-hop was, provoking us to declare our spirit like we were at a pep rally. Don’t get me wrong though, I still think he is number 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Have a super weekend, and if you see speed-walker/headphones guy be sure to compliment him on his new hoodie. n