Review ·

No matter the family event, my uncle corners members of the younger generation and lectures them about Puerto Rican culture and family. As a kid you dodged him; as an adult you nodded your head in respect. In retrospect I wonder where my appreciation and awareness for the culture would be if I didn't have someone drilling that point in my head at every opportunity. KRS-One is hip-hop's preacher, expounding on its virtues and keeping the sheep herded in line with the teachings. And what better way to teach than to lead by example: KRS and Juice Crew general Marley Marl squashed a twenty-year beef for this project.



On paper Hip-Hop Lives is intriguing: An aging yet still capable emcee collaborates with a legendary producer and architect of one of the biggest movements in hip-hop. As expected, this is hip-hop through the eyes of a living legend in KRS. At times the chemistry works. On the title track, the Teacha rebuts Nas's notorious proclamation over Marley's keys and scratches. On "Kill a Rapper," Marley plays the somber piano-man over KRS's manifesto that points out the obvious and tragic reality that if you "want to get away with murder kill a rapper."


But the rest of the album is a heavy-handed lecture from KRS, with no room for questions from the students. On "I Was There," KRS runs down hip-hop history, and the "back in my day" track is barely listenable -- unlike the recent "Nostalgia" from his former Juice Crew nemesis Masta Ace, who cleverly flipped a yesteryear flashback on Marco Polo's Port Authority. "I Was There" points to the underlying flaw of the album: KRS's infamous arrogance runs wild and unchecked. Ultimately, the message gets lost in the man.


But, still: Where would we be without KRS-One?







  • It's Alive (Intro)
  • Hip-Hop Lives
  • Nothing New
  • I Was There
  • Musika
  • Rising To the Top
  • Over 30
  • M.A.R.L.E.Y. (Marley And Red Living Everyday Youthfully)
  • Kill a Rapper
  • The Teacha's Back
  • The Victory
  • This Is What It Is
  • All Skool
  • House Of Hits
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