Time Span Between First Five Albums: Five Years.
Always an iconoclast, KRS-One's discography with Boogie Down Productions is full of thought-provoking and incendiary rhymes. The Teacha first arrived on the scene with BDP's classic Criminal Minded. Largely remember for its contributions to the Juice Wars, Minded, was criminally well rounded, from the diabolical "South Bronx" to the PSA-worthy "Super-Hoe." Released in the wake of the DJ Scott La Rock murder, BDP's sophomore effort, By All Means Necessary, channelled the voice of the community, tackling a litany of issues affecting the inner city, including the seminal "Stop the Violence." The Blastmaster took the reins for the next two releases, Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop and Edutainment, where he shepherded the releases almost singled handedly, producing and performing a large majority of the tracks without help. Each album struck Gold, following the precedent set by By All Means. Sex and Violence, the last album to feature KRS working under the BDP banner, failed to meet previous expectations, as the Bronx bomber became more didactic, however, just a year later on his first proper solo LP, he regained his traction. Still, the loquacious rapper and his pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps ethos delivered a stirring run across five albums.
_________________________With apologies to De La Soul, five is the magic number. It’s usually the amount of albums in a standard record deal, but few MCs ever fulfill their contractual obligations with as much aplomb as they started. Whether an artist peaks early or late, staying consistent over the duration of five albums has proven challenging no matter the era in hip-hop. XXLmag.com decided to rank the best first-five album runs in hip-hop history (First 5). A new act and their ranking will be revealed each day of the week throughout the month of October and the Top 5 will be revealed on November 5th. Get in on the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #XXLFirst5.
1. Criminal Minded (1987)
Release Date: March 3, 1987
This introduction to the BX crew, is all id, as KRS-One broaches guns, violence and confrontation over break-beats with dizzying flair. Legendary selections include "South Bronx" and "The Bridge Is Over," two immense battle-ready records that assaulted MC Shan and his Queens collective. "9mm Goes Bang" and "P Is Free" provided insight into life as it was lived above in the Big Apple's rowdiest borough.. Signs of the Teacha's later lesson plans flourished early on courtesy of "Poetry" and "Elementary," as Mr. Parker presented himself as a conscious-tinged MC with ruff edges.
2. By All Means Necessary (1988)
Release Date: May 31, 1988
Following the shooting death of DJ Scott La Rock, KRS-One shifted away from his nihilistic purview and presented his rhymes with the added depth of consequences for actions. Boasts were still aplenty, as evident on "My Philosophy" and the aptly titled "I'm Still #1." But "Stop The Violence," "Illegal Business" and "Jimmy" showcased an emerging maturity. Clocking in at just over 45 minutes, this condensed set announced the Teacha's arrival.
3. Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop (1989)
Release Date: June 28, 1989Label: Jive
Release Date: June 28, 1989
Produced entirely by KRS-One (with co-production by others), The (original) Blueprint ('Sup, Nas) was more commercially successful than it's predecessor, notching the BX rapper another Gold plaque. Despite the Tinsel Town appeal of "Jack of Spades," this set was anything but shiny. "You Must Learn" was another dose of knowledge, and "Bo! Bo! Bo!" found KRS embracing his Jamaican roots and protruding his "Blastmaster" persona.
4. Edutainment (1990)
Release Date: July 17, 1990
KRS-One again took on the bulk of production for Edutainment and successfully merged his multiple personas across one project: Teacha, The Blastmaster and the bravado of BDP's origins. Perhaps his most intently socio-political project in slant, with tracks like "100 Guns" and "Blackman In Effect," the LP was balanced with the blistering "Love's Gonna Get'cha (Material Love)." Over a sparse drum patter, KRS flexes his story telling skills, and exhibit pain, frustration and self-awareness.
5. Sex and Violence (1992)
Release Date: February 25, 1992
The last album to be released under the BDP banner, Sex and Violence caps a fitting run for KRS. Raw and challenging, the Teacha confronted his dispute with his peers on "Build and Destroy" ('Sup, Nas). Fully immersed as a leading voice in rap, KRS proved he could still get nasty on "Duck Down." "Drug Dealer" and the title track, with their heavier subject matter, fared well and forecasted where his voice would head in the coming years.