KRS-One has always prided himself on remaining true to hip-hop and, in many ways, is a fundamentalist in his approach to music. The emcee (real name Lawrence Parker) uses his platform to challenge power and, to this day, embodies the political hip-hop movement of the 1980s that saw the likes of Chuck D and Ice Cube rise up and address the establishment.
However, as a result of his raw consciousness and unfiltered music, the South Bronx native found New York City’s most esteemed hip-hop station, HOT 97.0, refusing to play his anti-establishment music and, while performing an intimate concert, recalled his struggles with DJ Funkmaster Flex, radio host Angie Martinez and the station’s former programmer Tracy Cloherty.
Boldly speaking the truth, Parker recalled being banned from the radio station and being hung up on by Street Soldiers’ Lisa Evers. He also recounted that Angie Martinez “forgot her roots” during the height of fame.
Delving into the details of his struggle, Parker explained, “The corporations sided with the money and not the art, and we had to make a choice! Stay in the mainstream and be worked like slaves, or be free. I decided to free!”
He continued, “When Funkmaster Flex stopped playing my music for no reason and when Angie Martinez forgot her roots. And I don’t know if y’all know this woman, but her name is Tracy Cloherty. Well, she banned me from the station. And Lisa Evers, Street Soldiers, hung up on me live on air.”
Addressing some of the violence that was occurring around the station at the time, Parker added, “This is when Foxy Brown and Lil Kim had their little shootout in front of Hot 97. They had us on the air, and I said, ‘Y’all the ones that promoted that shit. All day long, Gun, gun, gun.’ All day long Murder, murder, murder! There’s something called a balance.'”
KRS-One then sent a message to artists about mainstream radio, the establishment and worthless accolades, stating, “When you know your self-worth, and you read, and you ask questions, and you study, and you travel. You become free. But the cost of freedom is that you’re not gonna be in the mainstream. You’re not gonna be on the cover of every magazine!”
He concluded by exclaiming, “If the radio ever played my music, I would sue them, and they know it, which is why they don’t play my music. If you play KRS, I’ll sue you. Straight up. I don’t even want my music on mainstream radio. They don’t deserve it. They destroy careers!”
You can listen to Parker’s sermon in the video below.