“I wrote and recorded this album in the same week,” KRS-One says. That’s impressive if true; the Teacha is still a better rapper than most of his students; but there’s no excuse for the lack of proper hooks, though the boom bap tries to make up for it. Out For Fame didn’t need a half-assed remake, for instance, but the beat is raw.
The title track is a thought-provoking tale about two patients sharing a hospital room. It reminds fans how much of a compelling storyteller KRS-One can be, but more should’ve been done to reinforce the concept; Ill or Sick in the album title could’ve worked; so that it doesn’t come across so jarringly random where it is at the end.
my rating = 3 of 5
Boogie Down Productions isn’t about making you dance. It’s about providing knowledge, the kind that centers around uplifting the black race. It’s stuff you must learn, no matter what color you are, but you won’t learn about it in that boring history class with the old white teacher, so it’s up to KRS-One; a “Teacha” in his own right; to put the equivalent of a book in your head. He does that with rap music, which, as the title cleverly suggests, educates and entertains.
The album is enveloped around a college lecture. “Black people have created every music you hear out here in the street today,” he claims. Even if you don’t subscribe to his ideology, which would border racism itself if not for a song that explains he’s not just a “black man speaking out of ignorance”, you can’t deny the quality of the music. The rhymes are thoughtful and the beats; the Breath Control sequel, a reggae joint, being the best among them; are funky-fresh all the way.
my rating = 4 of 5