KRS-One is one of hip-hop’s pioneering lyricists. Alongside figures such as Rakim and LL Cool J, the BDP emcee has become an icon of the 1980s and one of the most prevalent representatives of gold-age rap music.
However, as a strong-minded, outspoken and knowledgeable man, the South Bronx musician (real name Lawrence Parker) has continued to provide commentary on the culture that birthed him and voice his concerns surrounding the flawed state of America.
KRS-One has always had a deep understanding and profound concerns surrounding race relations in the US, and with his stepfather having grown up in 1960s Harlem, where Malcolm X was assassinated, Parker has always felt obliged to carry on the work of those who passed away during the civil rights movement.
Speaking about the vilification of hip-hop by those in power in the US, in a 2016 interview, Parker explained, “White culture, like every culture, has a criminal element to it. Black people are no different. Asians are no different. Native Americans no different. Latinos, Arabs no different. Everybody has a criminal element to their culture.”
He continued, “So we have this element in humanity, but when it comes to White people in particular, the criminal element of their society governs their society, and this is the problem. The criminal element of White society governs White society, and so the majority of basic human beings who just happen to be White are bullied by this criminal element in their own society.”
Parker drew attention to what he called Europe’s dark age when criminality became the governing force of society and said that through conquest, this pernicious form of rule has allowed antisocial people with a lack of empathy and remorse to take on great power.
Elaborating and referencing European history, Parker asserted, “The ruling class of White people are psychopaths, literally…Once the rightful kings of Europe were taken out through murder, not more intelligence, not a better divinity, not because the people loved this person. Murder.”
Denigrating the US, the ‘South Bronx’ musician explained, “People like George Washington betrayed the king of England and sided with the criminals that were sent over and said to the criminals, ‘You’re not criminals anymore. You’re Americans.’ This group of criminals is what governs the United States!” You can listen to KRS-One speak more about this in the video below.