It’s been close to 20 years in the making but last week it was announced that KRS-One has teamed up with Bumpy Knuckles (p/k/a Freddie Foxxx) for Royalty Check, a collaborative album scheduled to be released at the end of this month.
True fans of both artists know that this reunion has been about 20 years in the making since Boogie Down Production’s seminal Sex and Violence album, which featured verses from then-Freddie Foxxx on two of its outstanding tracks. Here’s one of them:
I’ve already discussed at length what a great idea I think it is for so-called old school rappers to pool their talents and resources and go half on an album. KRS must agree with me considering that, if you count this upcoming project, over the past two years he will have dropped five full LPs and one EP created in the same vein:
- Survival Skills (with Buckshot, 2009)
- It's ALL Good (with Greenie, 2010)
- The Just-Ice & KRS-ONE EP Vol. 1 (2010)
- Meta-Historical (with True Master, 2010)
- Godsville (with Showbiz, 2011)
- Royalty Checks (with Bumpy Knuckles, May 2011)
However, among the aforementioned six albums is this month’s Godsville, for which KRS teamed with legendary Bronx beatsmith Showbiz (one half of the classic 90s due Showbiz & A.G.) to create 13 stellar tracks of traditional Hiphop music featuring a rejuvenated-sounding KRS, who reminds listeners that Showbiz is the man responsible for producing his 90s cautionary anthem, Sound of Da Police.
Much like I expect from Royalty Check, Godsville is rife with references to rappers who are watering down real Hiphop music because, as KRS puts it on the song Show Power, “some new jack pushing a new track, I mean his crew’s wack – screw that!”
And, as usual, radio DJs are also in KRS’s crosshairs, reminding them on the same song that “when you was hired you vowed to take the DJ art much higher” but “then you go hired and everything switched/ now the sales department is programming your mix/ they don’t wanna scratch no more, just mix/ they don’t want you to play the raw no more, just mix/ but this can be fixed/ you can grow some balls and tell the PD to his face ‘I quit!’”
Despite the repetition of these lyrical themes from project-to-project, this is what his core fans want to hear from him; it’s also what many non-fans get tired of hearing from him regardless of the accuracy in his message.
Other top songs from Godsville include This Flow, Legendary, Hear Me More, and Another Day (Park Jam Mix), a bonus track that is actually a remix of a song with the same name featured earlier on the album.
Not able to suppress his true battle rapper DNA, in one instance KRS employs what I call the “word association” style of rap in a threatening dig at new, young rappers who are all swag and no substance: “Y’all little rhymes is geegle, 'cause one blast will leave y’all freckle-faced – measles.”
What we love about KRS is that the huge chip on his shoulder that is clearly still growing, keeping KRS just as intolerant of wack MCs and DJs in 2011 as he was in 1986. It is this same consistency in an era of consistently bad Hiphop music that keeps KRS in the conversation of all-time best rappers; it is also this same consistency that has fans more than ready to hear the new album with Bumpy Knuckle.