KRS-One: “Def Jam Single-Handedly Destroyed Hip-Hop” [With Exclusive Video]

Prior to jumping onstage on Wednesday’s (September 23) Hip Hop Honors, celebrating Def Jam’s 25th Anniversary, caught up with the always outspoken KRS-One to speak on the label’s legacy.

While the teacher expressed his love and respect for the Def Jam brand, he also fingered them as the reason for hip-hop’s demise.

“Def Jam is the dopest label in hip-hop, in the culture of hip-hop,” he said. “There really would be no hip-hop as we know it today if it wasn’t for Def Jam. But you don’t get that respect without also being the label that single-handedly destroyed hip-hop.”

When asked to elaborate KRS had a list of complaints about the storied brand. “Every time you think of what’s wrong with hip-hop, the lyrics, the commercialized music, one artist being played on the radio all day, things like that, that’s all Def Jam,” he continued. “We respect it. It’s a respect cause we all competing, so Def Jam had the hardest competition, but the hardest competition as I showed the respect, I also showed the truth. And the truth is everybody else had to sit down so Def Jam could be who they are.”

As previously reported, KRS joined D.C. up-and-comer Wale and Travis McCoy of the Gym Class Heroes for a rendition of the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep til Brooklyn” during Wednesday night’s taping. The 6th Annual VH1 Hip Hop Honors airs at 9 p.m on October 13. –Jesse Gissen with additional reporting by Adam Fleischer

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  • alderman j

    YOU MUST LEARNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Remy LeBeau

      has anybody else noticed that KRS-One hairs never grows. that shit been stuck on pause for some years now! he got the Ben Wallace/Allen Iverson shit goin…but in other news, nobody cares what this guy thinks! good day to you sir….

      • GIBZ

        u dont care what he thinks but u over there pondering/thinkin/wondering about his hair??? I’ve never looked at another man and wondered about his hair or his clothing. Do u walk around with a SH on ya shirt? SUPER HOMO! lol

        • MarloW.

          Look at this bitch ass nigga bitin everything Yoprince said damn you are a clown ass nigga to steal somebody shit like that and just try to use it on somebody else damn it’s not even funny how much of a dick sucker u are

          ur the fuckin homo

        • MarloW.

          Or maybe it was that tony grands nigga I cant tell you niggas apart really yall account for like 80% of all comments on

    • joe p

      yall nigga’s need to respect ur elders lol … this is the truth every word of it … go cop that raekwon !!!

      • GregSIDE

        WTF’s that got to do with Chef? Shit.. u hurting Kwon just by putting him and this M’F***a in the same sentence. The so called “Teacher” ain’t ish but a preacher. Don’t nobody like to hear someone preachin’ non stop. Talkin’ down to people and ish like he’s better than you. Nelly put this n***a to sleep. Nelly! Dude thinks cause he was hard back in the day for a second that people really care what he’s gotta say. If any one’s the “teacher” it Rakim. He’s been down since day one and is still credible. Yo “Teacher” write that word down and get out your F****n Dictionary. CREDIBLE

        • MO

          I want to know who single handedly destroyed KRS’s teeth. IN THE NAME OF HIP HOP GO TO THE FUCKING DENTIST.

  • DownSouth

    I’m going to pick up that Survival Skills. I seen the vid not too long ago. It was hot. Plus I feel like hearing some lyrics. Hmmm…thinkin about my last purchases, (Jay-Z and Raekwon)I alwayz feel like hearing lyrics.


  • RL

    KRS-ONE: The Carter G. Woodson of HIP HOP.

  • deuce

    shut the fuck up. im getting tired of this faggot

    • a man

      hey Dunce, I would love to see you say shut the f up to KRS1 face.

      • GIBZ

        he wouldn’t. That’s why he on here talkin that tuff shit. But he would be watching his mouth in KRS face. He obviously got some aggresssion towards the man, and takes it our on his keyboard. E-thugs man u gotta love em. There would be no laughter without em lmaoo

        • MarloW.

          While I dont agree with what dude was sayin, your bitch ass wouldnt say what shit to anybody on this whole thread so you need to fall the fuck back

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  • Trenton backshot

    The blastmaster has spoken! I would have to disagree tho!

    Def jam has putt out some of the dopeest hip hop albums of all time (i think)

    Lil Wayne killed hiphop when he uttered out the words Bling Bling!
    Right before that shit dropped—shit was straight~~

    • phurdrick

      B.G. made the song, “Bling Bling” not Lil Wayne…as for who’s the blame for the state of hip-hop, try…stupid east coast dance music, down south gangster grilling, ABC lyrics, Internet, file sharing, lack of support and respect for the form, plus last but not lest that go old get money or die trying attitude killed hip-hop!!

      • Hanch

        Umm it may be a B.G. song but Lil Wayne Penned the Phrase! So yeah Lil Wayne made the phrase of Bling Bling. You never hear B.G. trying to take credit for it cause he knows Lil Wayne was the first to do the phrase. So in essence Lil Wayne did kill Hip Hop. Well i wouldnt say kill but Dumbed it Down ALOT!!

    • mo

      Actually right before master p said uggghhhh na na na na shit was straight. Notice how master p moved in right after biggie was killed.

  • What Whwat

    More like the Abraham Simpson of Hip Hop.

  • shadyone

    I’ve been saying this for years…finally someone agrees with me

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  • Rodjilius

    i respect KRS but i gotta also disagree wit him as well cuz there are other labels wit artists gettin played but the content is just garbage. like if u look at the radio nowadays all u hear is one hit wonders and the same old people puttin out basically recycled material wit new beats. every once in awhile ull get a single thats different like lupe’s superstar or hip hop saved my life, or nas’ hero or hip hop is dead, you know but its basically all just the same as far as commercialized rap.

    but he’s right to a certain degree i just wouldnt say def jam is the number one factor killin hip hop

  • the brown

    Yo!, Damn, Whoopi’s shit is fffucked up nowadays! I mean, she was never all that but… Oh, that’s the teacher?! Aw my bad,… yes, yes, I totally agree with KRS on this one. Peace to real HipHop.


    Wow K.R.S say what it is, all day, he keeps it
    2000, damm, that payola is what it is, but at the same time, everything has its run but for so long, then its over, everything get expose after a while, now its time to bring in the new ARTIST, THERE OUT THEIR, YOU EXECS, AND SO
    called A&Rs have to do your jobs now, or next qauter, you will be on the unemployment line.


  • cramzy

    sidebar—Didn’t Jay-Z buy BP3 and release it on Atlantic?.
    Just sounds like he bitter. Def Jam didn’t stop 50, Em, Dre, Snoop,Wayne,TIP,etc.etc.etc.etc. from being successful and Raekwon and Wu had they run. Times change, consumers change, it is what it is. I can’t stand to see rappers go on and on about how Hip Hop is dead. If you a drug dealer, does it make sense to remind your customers that crack is whack? Im just sayin’

    • cubis

      No, that’s like being a drug dealer who makes high-quality crack and making a good living off of it, but then all of a sudden comes more dealers who make shittier products but put the crack in prettier bags.

      • BOSS D.R.E

        That actually happens!

      • MarloW.

        Very good analogy

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  • capcobra

    def jam killed the bronx..that all..blame yourself krs..queens niguz run y’all niguz…ask russell simmons…lmao @ cramzy “crack is whack” comparison.

  • http://www, Presario

    All I know is taste changes people change and Music should too or it gets stale and recycled HipHop isnt Dead Rappin B-Boys Breakin battlin like everything else comes around in circles back in the 80′s I was a B-boy Uprocker You know Tickin Poppin like that White Dude on Step Up 2 last scene wit Him and Girly Doin the Dam thang That was me and I felt the Music then and I still Feel it Now it’s alive just a little different and accepting change is good when we were teens we had to fight Rockers, Skin heads, and everyone in between to be accepted that was over 20 years ago and We Still here Bigger then Ever So Dont Worry Be Happy Go dance battle someone and leave the guns and knives at home yungsterz! PEACE

  • AZ40

    He’s right in a sense, they do put out a lot of garbage that they try to give the perception of as being “dope” and the other labels and artist follow suit…so it’s actually the sheep-like,just follow and hop on any fad mentality of the industry that kills it.

    • blublack

      He is right,puffy did it all day, now jay did it,cause it was to the point hes saying that all you hear is def jam artist all day
      and you dont hear no one else. but alot of record companys was on that payola hard. who ever pays the most, gets payed the most, now def jam is the mother or all rap labels, so there money and pull is long so, it controled all music, i dont think so, but he could be right about how much they had shit on lock.

  • hellyeah

    the “new boyz” outsold his ass last week

    theres nothing else that has to be said

    now all you backpacking purists (y’all exist only on the net btw) can start yelling at me…LOL

  • True Harmony

    KRS That nigga and usually you can see where he going with alot of things, But I disagree on him blaming Def-Jam. I’m a New Orleans nigga and I can honestly say that No Limit Records blew Hip-Hop half-way to hell THEN Cash Money.

    ~Just Being Real~

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  • Tony Grands

    I understand where KRS is going with this, but….

    Def Jam is a label. A business. Their job was to give a platform to the up & coming rappers during a time where they needed a corporation on their side. I, as a Hip Hop fan, can’t rightfully blame a label that gave us some of Hip Hop’s best moments for it’s demise.

    Plenty of things came along & soured the culture a little, but to blame a label that took chances? If that’s the case, Death Row, No Limit, Rap-A-Lot, all those labels contributed, possibly even more so with the specific type of music they put out, especially DR, with misogynistic, genocidal, ultra-violent content on every release. I’m not blaming them, just using them as examples.

    Blaming one specific record label sounds like a bit of a reach to me, especially one that is a pioneer to the culture. I’d hate to think that he just wanted to say something that he know what get heads talking, although I guess that’s not a bad thing.

    • Pierzy

      What up Grands…

      Figures that my “goodbye” post gets jacked because of Bol. Ha!

      Hold it down my dude – I appreciated your knowledge on every subject – and hit me up on the gmail!

      • Tony Grands

        Damn, I knew that post wouldn’t make it to the night time (paciic time, anyway)…..

        It’s been real, P. I’m happy for you man, I’m sure many more positive things are in store for you. Likewise on the appreciation. I didn’t get a chance to copy the gmail, but just send me your add, I’ll get @ you definitely.

        Like I said earlier, good luck & Godspeed, fam.

        • Capital G

          Wait a minute, no more Pierzy? What the fuck? I’ve been off the map for a minute so could someone bring me up to speed on what exactly happened that makes a dude boycott a website? Who the fuck is supposed to comment first on 90% of the drops? Best of luck with whatever it is you decide to do with yourself regardless.

        • latino heat

          @ Grand$

          what was that Bol blog about that got pulled today? i figured something was up when i logged on and there was only a Killer Mike blog up.

          also what happened with Pierzy? whatever it is if you read this, good luck in the future my dude.

        • Tony Grands

          @Heat & Cap G

          What’s good, fellas…

          Pierzy said he had to concentrate on school & his profession of choice.
          Basically, on Bol’s blog, he (Pierzy) was just showing love to all the cats who showed him love since he’s been here. & even the one’s that didn’t, & bidding dudes a farewell.

          As for Bol, he went in on Paul Rosenberg, hot 97′s DJ, about a situation between Rosenberg & Combat Jack over some political/social views regarding Quadafi (spell check) & his UN speech. You know how Bol does. So, they zapped his shit.

        • latino heat

          thanks for the info Grand$. it’s sad that Bol is such a hater that he even hated on Pierzy’s goodbye without even trying.

        • Pierzy

          I appreciate the time and the kind words. Be good, y’all!

  • king blair

    Hip-Hop need a dental plan that nigga teeth is fucked the fucked up where Obama when you need him

    • MarloW.

      True that lol

      this nigga contradicted himself in this interview

  • Craig B

    Damn, Tony Grands and Pierzy really ridin each others dicks hard. Nothin else to do but flirt all day on XXL. Fags

    • Tony Grands

      Damn, Craig B didn’t even comment on the story that mostly everybody had a cognizant opinion on. Nothing else to do but squeeze an infantile thought from those few burnt out brain cells. Imbecile.

      • Craig B

        Nah I don’t usually comment but your just so full of of shit Tony Grands. Your on here all the time talkin shit tryin to sound all intelligent, but your just an irritating fuck.

        • Tony Grands

          That’s cool, homie. Everybody’s entitled to their opinion.

          But like you said, you don’t usually comment on here, so all I have to go by is you being worried about what Pierzy & I do with our dicks, then making a homosexual reference for no reason @ all.

          Do us both a favor, & don’t read what I type. That’ll save you unnecessary irratation in the future, I guarantee.

        • GIBZ

          damn Grands the hate is really poured on thick this week lol. It’s so funny how u get at them oh so coherently. LOL oh no now I’m gonna be attacked for using coherently lmaoo another big word that seems to get them so mad. to all the haters, the fact that u take the time to type some hate towards another man, shows ur obsession with that man. So read the comment and rub one out like u really wish u could lol.

  • Fireforreal

    Krs is one of the dopest mc’s ever but in recent years his intervies sound more like your grandpa talking about back in his day blah blah blah. How can one lable or artist be the blaime ? I think defjam played a part. so did Universal and all there lables. Interscope and all there lables still play ahuge part and all the stations who only play these niggas who won’t be around next year or even 6 monthes from now. let’s not forget the roll B.E.T has played over the last 5-7 years. Beyond the videos look at there shows LOL

  • DANJ!

    KRS is a wacko.

    I respect the guy for his accomplishments in hip-hop and his classic material… but WTF is he talking about? Def Jam is a record label whose job it was to establish a brand and bring forward artists that generate genuine public interest. They didn’t prevent anyone else from gettin’ their sh*t off, but they made sure THEIR sh*t was right. You don’t get the respect that the Def Jam logo gets by not being on-point. How is it Def Jam’s (or any other label) fault that other srtists couldn’t do the same?



    What he is taking about is alot of rappers like

  • tronthadon

    I respect his opinion but really for tha past couple of months he been on a roll for saying some of the dumbest shit i heard..smh please shut tha fuck up

  • Quan

    . . damn. .im not on here alot but pierzy and grand and detroit d ure usually on the post i comment on and they come with some real. . be cool pierzy.

    .. on to def jam. .krs has alot of good points alot of the times but then again. .def jam has put out alot of quality music. .not @ the moment. .but from what im seeing alot of people are getting tired of the bullshit rap and these “rappers” are gonna have to change their hustle. . im looking forward to when they realize their not selling but a real lyricist like Elzhi ( through him out there since hes my favorite emcee) are selling more than they bullshit. .

    .. i kind of feel sorry for them though. . alot of the real lyricist are doing it so hard you really cant copy cat that type of music unless you got love for the art.

  • truth 101

    See i said this along time ago. After russel left its wasnt the same. Stars with no talent was the ones who got signed unless you had a legacy b4 . but new artist it was like 3 out of 12

  • BeerGangsta

    KRS1 you are half way right. I get tired of hearing that 1 or 2 song play all time on the Radio and Videos. Def Jam is the best when it come to Rap Music. Russ so smart that he started Def Comedy Jam. He made 80 Percent of them Famous People. That’s what got Bernie Mac known. And the other Comeidians. Its not Def Jam fault when a Rapper is sorry azz hell. Def Jam People still get the fat Check and get Po and Rich People Respect.

  • HipHopFive15

    That shit does make some sense tho you cant even lie

  • Davon

    I agree with KRS. I’ve been saying the same thing for years.

  • IndyKid

    ‘Def Jam made hip-hop what it is. Much respect.’

    ‘Def Jam destroyed hip-hop.’


    I’m not very honest but you’re interesting.

    Big ups to the king of contradiction, KRS, for wasting minutes of my life by reading his stupid words.



    I FEEL YOU THINK HES FULL OF SHIT(KRS)cause thats a strong statement, cause DEF JAM, is the Mother label of all HipHop Labels, but if you dont know to the Dept of what he meant by that statement, yall cant say hes a contradiction,
    cause am not sucking him, but he aint no dumb nigger just talking shit, if he was Game, then i would feel you, but thats KRS, HE GETS LECTURE MONEY,COLLEGES AINT PAYING NO DUMB ASS NIGGER TO COME TALK TO PEOPLE, HELL NO.


    it is a valid point, but don’t complain compete. build ur brand krs. i have to disagree. its the fans, its people. people grow and change. music has grown. people don’t have time to listen to lyrics or read or even watch informative tv. they want everything quick. they would perfer fast food or something mircowaved vs a home cook meal. we all know a home cook meal is so much better…well depending on the cook…and with that said get in the kitchen and stop complaining. fans! save hip hop.

  • BluBlack

    Now lets get to the real talk shit, Def Jam wasnt the first to do this, which what KRS,is taking bout is PAYOLA, Barry Gory wasnt on DEF JAM, when he did it,And he was the FIRST to use PAYOLA, CAUSE WHITE RADIO WOULDNT PLAY BLACK ARTIST MUSIC ON THEIR STATIONS, SO HE PAYED THEM TO PLAY HIS ARTIST, THATS HOW PAYOLA STARTED.Puff wasnt on DEF JAM, when he did it, Baby from CASH MONEY,wasnt on DET JAM when he did it, Master P , WASNT ON DEF JAM when he did it,and there are more PEOPLE that did thee PAYOLA, PAY djs to play their Artist more than others. The thing is all of them added to the state we are in now,so the thing is now, WHAT DO WE AS ARTIST DO with what we know now.MAKE HITS, AND CONTROL YOUR MUSIC, PROMOTE YOUR BRAND,BRAND MEANING,YOURSELF, SO WE CAN’T BLAME JAY-Z, HE ADDED TO THE GAME,CAUSE IF I CAN BRING OPARH TO THE HOOD, AND HAVE THE FIRST BLACK PREZ ON MY TEXT, YOU DOING SOMETHING RIGHT.(MYSPACE.COM/BLUBLACK)(JANGO.COM/BLUBLACK)

    • that nigga

      Its “Berry Gordy” and KRS is tellin the truth as usual. And I can agree with some of your points BluBlack, just not your spelling.

  • IndyKid

    I disagree dude. Colleges pay much dumber guys to speak (Al Sharpton for instance).


  • Trey

    KRS is right peeps.. Def jam love us and left ..fucked us and left us on the road.. the are a benefactoer to shit 2..

    LL had some words but he need to start his own label.. rakim 2,, they need to live through other art forms… peace

  • Eric

    I respect him because he’s a pioneer, but man, lately he just seems to be complaining.

    he is basically saying that Def Jam was the best because they cornered the market. In other words, they were so dominant,if you were not on DefJam, nobody cared.

    How is that the label’s fault? The other labels should have stepped up to the “competition”.

  • 11KAP

    as long as your sound is original, you will get props regardless.

  • http://xxl All Dae

    sup xxl fam.
    If Def Jam killed Hip Hop then Krs is a hairy mole on hip hops nose…..a f’n embarrassment. Krs alienates folks with his hip hop bible. How he took the four original elements of a rebel movement and made religion out of it is ludicrous. I enjoy his music but I’m wary of his philosophy…every since Keep Right.
    Rakims Holy r You is religious music done correct.

    @ Pierzy: peace nigga do ya thing in life. i’ll send u some dope muzak soon to yr gmail. one.

  • Avenger XL

    What KRS is attempting to say behind his teacher/preacher speak is Def Jam is the most stooried label in hip-hop. They introduce hip-hop the brand to the world. However they became part of the problem with hip-hop by not using the power they garnerd correctly like most black business men see Robert Johnson,Jay-z,Tyler perry etc… They built solid brands on black culture but outside of providing us with a new brand they were unable to build a real how do you say industry around their actions like other groups generally do in the same situation. example yeah Jay sells records,vodka,clothes and has a club but it would be sick if he had controlling share in a radio conglomerate backed by him master p,Baby, 50 etc…. i.e. all of the artists who made it to the next level. They could then attempt to institute some kind of balance which would insure a future for their cheif product which was music. Def Jam could have been instrumental in something like this. They could have pushed diverse black media and still made money but instead they did the typical we are the champions of the chitlin circuit that is the hip-hop/R&B market and we have cross over love to woo mainstream advertisers when they want to sell big macs to little Tashawn from apartment 2B.

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  • Deuce53

    you cant blame the record label for puttin out artists that are selling, even tho the shit is trash, they doin wat errbody trynna do, come up in the world…but krs1 cant “blast” the consumer cuz then he wudnt have fans that like him…hip hop as a whole cant be killed by just one record label its a mixture of things

    record labels-not giving the credible and actually talented artists a chance cuz they see evrybody riding t-pains nuts into increased record sales,yet saigon, slaughterhouse, and untold others cant even get a mainstream co-sign, let alone a major record deal, they want errbody to conform to wats hot rite now, and as long as thats wat it takes to get signed then its gona be a neverending cycle…hold on, lemme say that agin with the auto-tune tube haha

    fans(consumers)-the ones buying the garbage out rite now are whose to blame as well, maybe if alotta ppl stopped buyin the shit thats polluting the airwaves, record execs and artists wud wake up and realize their shit is so disposable i wud throw it out the fuckin window rite after buyin it, wat happened to the music that used to speak to u thru the speakers and that u cud relate to?i cant relate to throwin money in a fuckin bag,as alot of other ppl cant so why is this shit even gettin airplay?we all need to check ourselves before we point a finger

    radio-i know yall need money to keep ur station afloat, but y’all are selling out to the fullest, only playing the dumb shit out rite now cuz they got the best marketing from the labels..i live in seattle, and i dont ever hear any local artist on KUBE ever! i kno we dont have many viable artists that have come out the pacific northwest (yet) but how are we supposed to even make it out our respective neighborhoods if the local station wont even give the local talent any spins?

    artists-wat the fuck happened?yall use to speak on some real ass shit, and even the songs bout celebrating or watever were still able to chronicle something deeper than bitches, bottles, or money…if all of YOU actually made an effort to not sound like wats hot rite now, and be ur own unique talent, then maybe this shit wudnt b so watered down and maybe KRS1 wudnt have anything to bitch about. i understand yall wana cater to wats hot, wat the fans want, and the money involved, but keep in mind by doin that, u are annoying the fuck out of hip hop purists such as myself…step up ur lyrical content, tell a fuckin story, give me something to think bout and be able to relate to, amd just think bout some of the shit u puttin out compared to pre-”hip hop is dead” debate

    so all in all theres more than enuf blame to go around, but honestly, IMO, this whole game is just all ran together to keep doin wat its doin, meaning watering down wat actually used to mean something…