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 his concerns.
Parker recently explained his decision not to attend the celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop at the Grammys. The rapper took aim at the establishment, stating that he was happy to boycott the awards and doesn’t believe they embrace hip-hop.
In a recent interview, Parker explained that the awards haven’t embraced hip-hop until now and expressed that waiting 50 years to recognise the genre is disgraceful and unveiled that this was part of the reason he turned down a personal invite from LL Cool J to perform at the ceremony.
Speaking about his invitation, Parker revealed, “I was asked about two months ago; they asked me to do it, and I turned them down. With all due respect, LL Cool J himself called me, spoke to my wife and pretty much begged for me to be on the show, but we turned him down.”
The MC proceeded to label himself a hip-hop “extremist” and revealed that his experience within the culture is different to most because he refuses to engage with corporations and institutions who shunned the genre in its early days.
He explained, “This place, this institution can never side with, come under, understand the exploitation of our culture. Never will you ever see me standing in the environment where our culture is being exploited. So when I got the call, I immediately said nah. First of all, it’s the Grammys? You get no respect here. None. Now we respect your existence; we know you exist. And we know that you’re the Grammys, and we understand that, and we respect that. But you ignored hip-hop for 49 years.”
He concluded, “At the 50th year, you wanna call us? You couldn’t even call on 47 and gear it up to 50. You wait to the 50th year to call hip-hop’s authentic teacher? Nah, you don’t get that privilege.”
Watch the interview below.