KRS-One (Kris Parker) was preaching about the old school before there even was such a thing. This makes him a prophet of sorts and an elder statesman/spokesman in hip-hop circles. This also makes him a bit of a pain in the ass. He theorizes, philosophizes, and socializes on the good word of hip-hop with an edgy fanaticism, but hasn't really done anything worthwhile since 1990, when he was fronting Boogie Down Productions and recorded the street anthem "Love's Gonna Getcha (Material Love)." Before that, his major contribution to the genre was Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip-Hop, an old-school tribute to the old school.
Still, "The Teacha," which Parker calls himself, has gone to some length to legitimize hip-hop over the past decade. Like a grizzled college professor nearing tenure, he espouses rap with a single-minded and long-winded objective, often making things up along the way to support his concept. Before Maxwell came along, he was the most pretentious black man making music. Still, he raised hip-hop consciousness to a new plane, influencing plenty of boyz in the hood to pick up the mic along the way. Parker's latest project, the Temple of HipHop Kulture, is a compilation that includes several old-schoolers and new school kids with like-minded agendas. It's not very interesting and sounds quite antiquated in today's music marketplace.
Parker prides himself on his anti-rap-star stance (for all his metaphysical, theological, philosophical, and sociological affectation, he's a pretty unassuming guy, as far as rappers go), even going so far to claim "rap music is not [his] job." He wants to take hip-hop to a "higher level." Quite a daunting task with Master P's No Limit posse and other platinum rappers out there. Still, better the brainy pretense than the played-out thugs-and-thighs tales. Wouldn't it be great, though, if Parker -- who's performing at Peabody's with a host of mostly local DJs and MCs as part of a late-night, rave-like event -- could put some good music where that big mouth is? -- Michael Gallucci