KRS-ONE – The Mix Tape EP

The Mix Tape EP

“Rap music is dead.” That statement has been a familiar one to hip-hop’s detractors since day one. No matter which direction this form of music has traveled, cynics have continuously attempted to pick it apart along the way. Somehow, through many ups and downs, the music has survived. This is primarily due to the passion instilled by the genre’s purists. There are many artists out there, though at present most of them seem to emanate from the underground scene, who are sworn to protect hip-hop and maintain it as a valid, creative form of expression. The only problem, especially these days, is one has to look far and wide to find these creators. However, as sad a state as things may be, at least in terms of widely known acts, it is nice to know that there are artists that still partake in the genre for its aesthetic merits, rather than for possible monetary gains.
KRS-ONE has to be regarded as one of the greatest emcees in the history of rap. Take a look at his track record. It speaks for itself. He has been rocking the mic since the days of Boogie Down Productions’ Criminal Minded (circa 1986) and has not looked back. Whether it be flowing righteously about social dilemmas, besting other competitors with ferocious battle raps, or “edu-taining” the masses with his view of the world, his familiar voice has provided fans comfort over the years – even when the musical world around him has been lackadaisical. One could liken him to being hip-hop’s spiritual guiding force. Sure, he may not be heard from at all times, but just when things seem to be nearing the unbearable and fans are ready to give up, KRS always delivers the goods – reestablishing relevant lyrics over hardcore, old-school beats. This EP is no exception. Though it acts as somewhat of an advertisement for his next upcoming full-length, this quick shot of adrenalized cuts is just what hip-hop fiends need in this era of predominantly soulless imitators.
“This is real hip-hop,” KRS shouts over the intro to “Ova Here,” a fireball of a track that sets the tone of this EP off at an inferno rate. KRS takes shots at Nelly and other “bitch-ass” rappers that are not committed to moving the genre forward. This track, and several of the others on this release, are atomic-sized wake up calls to fans. His passion shows how he desires to bring hip-hop back to its pure roots. This theme continues as “Things is About to Change” fits nicely alongside “Ova Here.” KRS is on point here as he continues to show the hypocrisy being manifested by many so-called “artists.”
Though “Down the Charts” and “The Message 2002” are just as conscious as the previously mentioned tracks, they are bit more laid back in style. On cuts like these, KRS uses his “breath control” nicely and playfully while delivering lyrics on the social/serious tip. In terms of beats, this EP has a solid dose of head-nodding, chest-thumping whompers. The feel of the tracks is more akin to Sneak Attack than last year’s soul-tinged Spiritual Minded. The production and rhythm are both angry and forceful, though, at times, eloquent and joyous. However, regardless of tone, the instrumentals spark a flame and one can sense the sheer love of creating music woven into the material.
Even though this is only an EP worth of material, those that are invested in “real” hip-hop, down to the marrow, will surely treasure this latest blast of “edu-tainment” from KRS.