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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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