KRS-One’s Hip Hop History
KRS-One’s career has taken many twists and turns. From his start as a young man with the hip hop group Boogie Down Productions to his current award-winning solo career, KRS-One has never stopped evolving.
Found himself at a crossroads in 1992 after an industry-wide backlash against him for throwing Prince Be off the stage during a show at New York City’s Sound Factory. However, he persevered and continued to release albums and tour internationally, much to the dismay of those who don’t want this voice silenced.
KRS-One Boogie Down Productions
In 1992 after three gold records with his group, Boogie Down Productions. Their latest album had only sold 250,000 copies but he was under industry fire his notorious show at New York City’s Sound Factory.
KRS-One found inspiration in Tokyo
In 1989, while on tour in support of his album Sex and Violence, KRS-One found himself sitting at the Tokyo airport waiting for a connecting flight. As he watched police officers directing travelers, he wrote the lyrics to “Sound of Da Police”.
There wasn’t a particular incident that inspired it–nothing had happened between him and the authorities in Japan. The L.A. uprisings had happened earlier that year, but they weren’t consciously on his mind.
In 1989, he released his album “Edutainment” which includes an interview with KRS-One about how police brutality was not just a Black problem but a human rights issue.
KRS-One wrote the song for someone else
In 1991, Brooklyn-bred rapper saw a career on the horizon when he wrote “Sound of Da Police” for his protégée Heather B. KRS was so thrilled when he returned home to the United States that he wrote a song to celebrate. KRS wrote the lyrics, while his brother Kenny Parker put together the track. Once he heard Heather B’s voice, though, she knew it wasn’t the one for her to be on.
The single was a reaction to what KRS saw as a growing number of police brutality incidents in the black community. Even with the presence of cameras and officers equipped with body cameras, there’s still a lot of mistrust between people of color and law enforcement.
The “Sound of Da Police” is still heard
“Sound of Da Police’” which was first released in December 1993, has been sampled by artists like Kanye West on his song “Ultralight Beam.” But it wasn’t until the intro of the song on his new album that people started listening. The original song was a moderate hit when it was first released, but now it’s had over 56 million plays on Spotify.
I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but KRS-One maintains that actual police officers became fans of “Sound of Da Police” as well. “My biggest fans are at the CIA and the FBI,” he continues. “Those are the people that come up to me all the time and they’re like, ‘Yo, we hear you, and please continue doing what you’re doing.’ They got it.”