By Daniela Capistrano, with additional reporting by
KRS-One once said, “Rap is something you do. Hip-hop is something you live.”
Since founding Boogie Down Productions in the mid-1980s and incorporating Jamaican melodies that continue to influence rhyming styles today, the artist has embodied hip-hop expression in all forms. Influencing artists from Rage Against the Machine to Sublime, KRS has supported the culture for more than 20 years, including founding the Stop the Violence Movement and lecturing at more than 500 colleges, universities and other venues.
Now, the Teacha is ready to share his 20-plus years of knowledge with “The Gospel of Hip Hop: The First Instrument.”
Once a homeless teen who witnessed hip-hop’s birth in the projects of the South Bronx, the young MC drew from this life-altering experience to form his philosophy of self-creation. The 818-page book will be the first in a series from the I Am Hip Hop imprint with PowerHouse Books, set for launch in September.
In the introduction for “The First Instrument,” KRS answers the question of why “it’s important to know hip-hop.” Encouraging readers to explore what they can do without technological assistance, the artist challenges: “How human do you remain in a society where we can’t even live without technology? Hip-hop reminds us of our humanity.”
KRS even explains the linguistic history of the words “hip” and “hop” and how street knowledge has impacted popular culture. This rapper is already a published author, with titles such as “The Science of Rap” (1995) and “Ruminations” (2003).
What are some of your favorite KRS-One albums? Which current artists do you think he influenced? Sound off in the comments!