Creeping up on nearly a quarter century in the game, KRS-One remains as colorful as ever, never ceasing to stop pushing hip-hop forward—or the envelope for that matter. After collaborating with former foe Marley Marl two years ago, Kris Parker has once again teamed up with a pedigreed MC in Bucktown’s own Buckshot for the upcoming album, Survival Skills. Also approaching a comparable milestone of his own with regards to seniority in the game, the admitted pupil of “The Teacha” is now in the position to educate as well.

Class is in session as the two vets even take XXL to task, but not before dishing on fishing with Scarface. Like, fo’real. When did you guys first meet back in the day?

Buckshot: My first encounter with Kris is what I call a super blessing... "Evil Dee scratching in “How many MCs must get dissed…” and then people feeling the record when it dropped. I’m like, "Wow, that’s not even a hook with a hooky-vibe in it." That’s just raw hip-hop and muthafuckas was feeling that. The first actual encounter was recording Enta Da Stage. Kris was in the ‘B’ room at D&D [Studios] and I was in the other room. I came out and Kris came out and he asked if I would collaborate with his protégé and I agreed so from there we just became real cool.

KRS-One: Before I even meet Buckshot, he meets my son Randy who committed suicide two summers ago. In his early years, I used to take [Randy] to the studio and we went to the D&D All-Star session and Buck was there. There’s actually video footage of me, Buckshot and Randy doing an interview together for the D&D All-Stars EPK.

Buckshot: Ooh! I knew, but it didn’t hit me when Kris had a record called Duck Down. This was when I first got with Dru. The name of our company was actually called Guerilla Style Management and we needed a name change. Dru said, "Well, what do you want people to feel when we come through the spot?" And I said, "I want them to duck down." Word up.

KRS-One: To go even further, my brother Kenny was even closer to Buckshot than I was.

Buckshot: Kenny used to DJ at a club called The Muse back in the day. Me, Stretch, Puffy—everybody used to be in there dancing.

XXL: With this album, what are you two looking to get off your chest?

KRS-One: Real. Let’s put the fake shit to the side once and for all in 2009. Here’s something else. You can never be too old for hip-hop. You’ll hear me bragging throughout the album about my eldership. I think too many men my age—first generation hip-hop—are scared. They’re scared of the young people. They think they too old to rhyme. Somehow we’re supposed to stop rhyming at a certain age even if you got skills. I like to put my chest out and say, "Fresh for 2009, you bitches!"

Buckshot: All the Shaolin masters—the guys with the gray beards—they’re the ones that are most feared, because it took that long to reach greatness. It’s not about the age—it’s about how your age.

XXL: In terms of your greatest works, what young MCs do you feel are doing their best to replicate a similar message and voice?

Buckshot: Hip-hop is in its greatest state right now. There was never a time when artists had direct contact with the fans. People like Talib Kweli, Kidz In The Hall—these are artists rockin’ shows with a solid fanbase, and they’re independent. That’s one thing I respect about the game today. With that said, people like Duck Down—the Temple of Hip-Hop—we are businesses as well as culturally-manufactured movements turning fans into conscious consumers. We’re taking the game away from the corporate people—the upper echelon. All the people we always talk about but never see, we’re bringing to the light. It’s a reality, but at the same time, it’s a myth y’all over-exaggerated to keep ourselves down. They hold you back, not because they got a red pitchfork and black robe all day. They have it sometimes, but they hold you back because it’s relevant to their economical growth. It’s relevant to their economical growth to have you do ignorant stuff, because when you do ignorant stuff, the more ignorant stuff sells.

XXL: When you take into account this project, Slaughterhouse, and even Keith Murray and Canibus linking up, to name a few, in your mind, why are these solo MCs doing collaborative efforts?

KRS-One: We talked about this earlier about the culture having its voice now. This is the way it’s always been. It’s the corporate structure that pulled the wool over the consumer’s eyes. They were the middlemen teaching us the ropes for 20 years, but because of their incompetence, they collapsed their industry. They never collapsed the hip-hop industry. Our structure remains the same so if you know true hip-hop, you know how to survive when the industry collapses. Now those that were dependent upon the industry, they’re gone. And so is the industry. Now, the culture is speaking to you.

Before Slaughterhouse manifested itself physically, Joe Budden was already smoking a blunt with Royce. The same with me and Buckshot—I’ve known Buckshot for years before this record. The fake is gone. Now you’re getting hip-hop the way it was. Just because 50 Cent says, "Nigga, my gun go off!" and KRS-One says, "You must learn" that don’t mean we both ain’t at the bar together. We been fakin’ the funk for so long, that we forgot we’re dealing with a real culture with a real lifestyle to it. Now you’re getting ready to see that lifestyle. It’s only the public—the consumer—that would look and say, "That’s Wu-Tang. That’s BDP." That’s how we appear to the fans when hip-hop fragments itself. It becomes Biggie. It becomes Jay-Z. It becomes Lil Wayne. But if you know the culture—if we stop looking at hip-hop as rap music and you look at the culture—you’ll see that me and Wayne was chillin’ at the BET Awards in 2007 with Bushwick Bill talking about Stop The Violence. At the VH1 Hip-Hop Honors this past year, I ran into Scarface. We looked like faggots right there. We all hugged up, kissin’ each other and shit. He tells me about a spot in Texas—he know I eat trout and all that—where you can go catch the fuckin’ trout. "I’ll take you fishing, KRS. Come to Texas anytime." This is what people are not getting. They’re not getting hip-hop culture where you have a Scarface and KRS fishing. Now if we did a record together, then the rap industry says, "You guys came together now. What’s it like to work together?" Motherfucker, we done smoked out together for the last 20 years!

I’ma tell you what’s really gotta happen. Magazines like XXL that cover hip-hop should cover hip-hop. It’s now time for XXL in particular to start focusing more on hip-hop culture and back off from rap music. If KRS and Buckshot can’t be on the cover of XXL, you guys are not hip-hop anymore. That’s my word. You are not hip-hop. If we can’t be on the cover, fuck XXL. Quote me on that.

XXL: No doubt.

KRS-One: Fuck XXL. If we ain’t on the cover this year of XXL, with what we doin’ in hip-hop and what we saying on our album and everybody on our album and you’re gonna continue to put that bullshit on your cover, this year we drawin’ the line on y’all.- Devin Chanda