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KRS-One & Marley Marl
Hip Hop Lives

krsmarleymarl.jpgThe pairing of KRS-One and Marley Marl should be a momentous occasion in rap music. Back in 1987, the icons were adversaries in hip-hop’s arguably greatest battle. KRS claimed South Bronx supremacy, while Marley produced Queens borough anthems like “The Bridge.” Now, perhaps taking a cue from rivals turned collaborators Jay-Z and Nas, the former foes squash their beef from 20 years ago to drop Hip Hop Lives.

The disc starts off strong with the Blastmaster’s precise articulation on the piano-accented title track (“Hip is the knowledge, hop is the movement/Hip and hop is intelligent movement or relevant movement/We selling the music”). KRS’s lyrical dissertation continues with “Kill a Rapper,” a sly critique of hip-hop’s unsolved murder cases over a spine-chilling beat built on cinematic strings.

On paper, having Marley handle production duties throughout is a musical masterpiece in the making. Unfortunately, some of his stark creations are diluted by weak hooks and unimaginative sample loops that sound tepid beneath KRS’s confident flow. Buzzing, dissonant synths ruin the hardcore bravado on “Run the Streets,” while “I Am Hip-Hop” features anemic keyboard stabs. Even when Marley uses a piercing Latin horn loop on “Musica (Real Lies),” the track never reaches its artful aspirations.

Yet, all is not lost for the living legends. The duo manage to find their chemistry on tracks like “Rising to the Top” and “On Top of My Game.” On the latter, Marley flips a clever Jay-Z vocal sample, inspiring Kris to proclaim, “KRS ease up, freeze up—you wish/Come on, let’s do this/Ain’t you kinda tired of the same five sex raps?/You don’t hear me a lot, but you shouldn’t forget that/I’m on top of my game.”

Indeed, KRS’s strident delivery remains intact, and Marley manages to squeak out a few more sonic gems, but Hip Hop Lives never lives up to its bold title. Relying too heavily on past glory, few new-school fans will appreciate the fact these two are still alive and spittin’. —BRETT JOHNSON


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  • TUNED1+1IT

    Classic regardless oh yeah 1st! Come on KRS an Marl Classic! Thank you to the HIP HOP GODS!

  • J.R.O.

    I don’t want to talk about it.

  • Vincity972

    tssss the review sux.

  • BuckTheWorld

    Much love and respect.

  • tigerbalm

    what about teachs back is a crazy track so is house of hits and victory

  • Fritz

    the review is on point, the album would have been a little bit better when the tribute to Nas would have been on it

  • http://youtube.com/lovexxpeacexxjoy phurdrick

    For such a land mark event,I had a hard time finding it on it’s release date!!Bestbuy only had 5 copies!!Who the fuck is their distributer!!I like krs-one,seen him perform twice!!Great showmanship & control of the crowd!!XL would be a very fair rating!!Didn’t like KIL A RAPPER,HOUSE OF HIT,but feel MUSIKA with Magic Juan hit the mark!!I was just hoping to see someone from the Juice Craw to rock with Chris!!Marley Marl shouldn’t of jacked to Jay-Z beat,on RISING TO THE TOP!!Had me thinking Hova was about to spit a ryhm(nope)!!But not bad either!! XL is on the mark!!

  • Cuban Link

    Co-sign KRS is a great performer, and this shouldve been hot, but I didnt even cop it, it was too hard to find and prolly not worth it since I really didnt hear much hype at all about it.Most of todays rap fans dont even know about their beef, which is so sad.

    • Impulse

      You can’t really blame them…that happened over 20 years ago.

  • http://xxlmag.com bundy

    love the the new album keep doing ur thing blastmaster.

  • http://kool_q31yahoo.com Kool_Q31

    KRS-1 is the man. My frist rap tape every was Boogie Down Perdution. Yo KRS standing in that window with that mack 10 looking like Malcome X will always B my favority album..All I have 2 say is KRS-1 and Marley Marl Classic…On a side note I heared Marley Marl had a heart attack my heart and prayes go out 2 his family and I wish hem a speedy recovery…SC Luv….Kool_q31

  • http://yahoo.com t

    when da hell dis happen some plz tell me



  • MickeyP

    Although KRS-One has said it all a million times, he could spit it a million more and it will always still be relevant. not sold on all the beats but maybe some real nice remixes will come from this. Im not disapointed tho!! XL

  • Krb


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