Lawrence Krisna Parker; South Bronx; Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone; Boogie Down Productions; Criminal Minded; By All Means Necessary; Scott La Rock; My Philosophy; Return of the Boom Bap; The Temple of Hip-Hop; 18 years; 13 albums; greatest emcee of all-time. The legacy in untouchable; he helped define the modern emcee, he made historical and timeless albums, he ended careers, he taught, he blasted, he philosophized and he embodied hip-hop more than any other. While some have questioned his beat selection over the last few years, no one can deny that he still rips microphones like it was his first time. Nearly 2 decades since his first record, KRS has covered a wider range of topics, using a greater multitude of styles, than anyone, ever.
So here is album 13 (officially), just a year after his critically acclaimed “KRStyles.” “Keep Right” picks up just where “KRStyles” left off, KRS teaching, lecturing, chastising, preaching, and storytelling over boom bap production version 2K. “Are You Ready For This” foreshadows the album nicely, giving an example of the content to expect: “I don’t know about pimping, selling women for retail/or turning coke into crack for resale/but I do know if we fail/by 2020 our children by the millions will be jailed.” As well as the type of production that KRS laces. As always, KRS is one of the few (too few), artists who can justifiably claim that he drops jewels. Look no further than high-powered offerings like his updated “Illegal Business” and “Phucked.” Both sport excellent hooks that define the song, the former being; “diamond business control America/the oil business control America/KRS-One still causing hysteria/illegal business control America.”
Without Primo or Buckwild backing him anymore, KRS has employed some talented beatmakers to provide his canvas. Soul Supreme provides a couple gems in “Everybody Rise,” featuring a nice spot from L Da Headtoucha, and the standout “Let’Em Have It.” Another up and comer in Ten laces the bouncy “You Gon Go?” and the aforementioned banger “Phucked.” Domingo laces some nice joints as well (“Illegal Business,” “Are You Ready For This”), and the thumping “Me Man” which features Kris playing the suffix game. “…And Then Again…” is a stunning example of KRS’ bottomless bag of styles as he flips each bar ending with ‘then’ or ‘again.’ The quality selections just don’t stop with nearly everything else (“Feel This,” “Still Spittin,” “I Been There,” “The I,” and “Freestyle Ministry”), being worthy of mention.
The album is by no means watertight, chalking in at a beefy 23 tracks including 8 interludes, the fat could have been trimmed. “Stop Skeemin'” featuring Joe is great lyrically, and the message is well-taken, but it is just too syrupy. Similarly, “My Mind Is Racing” has great lyrically content and a nice beat, but the chorus is just horrible. Regardless, KRS has crafted his best album since his self-tiled LP in 1995. The rhymes are always guaranteed to be there, but “Keep Right” packs some fine production to boot. When KRS speaks, you should all be listening, keep right.