KRS-One talks about hip-hop and higher education

October 22, 2019




“Universities all over the world are colonizing hip-hop intellectually. They are coming into the culture claiming, scholarship,” exclaimed Lawrence Parker, better known as hip-hop legend KRS-One, to a roaring crowd at the EPCC forum theater on Oct. 16.


Evan Hughes / Tejano Tribune

On Oct. 16,  the Hip-Hop legend Lawrence Parker, better known as KRS-One, broke down

the state of today's music culture to the EPCC Valle Verde campus audience. 



Parker rose to fame in the late 1980’s as a member of the hip-hop group “Boogie Down Productions.”



He went on to start the “Stop the Violence Movement,” in response to the death of a member of the group, Scott La Rock.


“This is what makes this college so important and special.  You brought KRS-One to your spot!” He added.


The musician, author and activist ran on stage on and apologized for being delayed.


“Let me get right to the point.  I’m about an hour late,” he said, “we’re going to talk about hip-hop today.”


Robert Santos, EPCC professor and director of the hip-hop club at the Valle Verde campus, organized and promoted the event. 


“He cares.  He didn’t have to show up.  They were running late; the RV broke down… He didn’t even want an introduction. He got on stage and he started,” said Santos.


Shortly before Parker was scheduled to speak Santos got news of the unforeseen issue.


“I was on stage warming up the crowd when I got the message and I was scared for a second. It’s 5:30, people have showed up and I have a decision to make.  


Do I cancel… or does the show go on?  Do I power through this?  


Then it occurred to me the crowd was full of students [and] local artists and we had enough talent to improvise a great show anyway,” Santos said.

Lavell Jones, Ralph the Ruckus and other local artists took the stage without preparation.  


The way the community crowd-sourced entertainment before the main event, was symbolic of this culture as a whole.  


KRS-One broke down the state of the music culture today. 


He went over the role of higher education and how it is redefining hip-hop. 


Santos explained the approach he uses to integrate rap music into an academic setting. “I like to use critical analysis perspectives to analyze rap.


 My education changed my relationship with rap music because I learned if I could be critical of it; I could study it.” Santos explained.


The rapper also went on to explain that break dancing, emceeing, graffiti and DJing are a part the cultural elements that make hip-hop more than a musical genre.


They make it a lifestyle.

KRS-One also expressed the similarities he sees between religious texts and hip-hop.


“We have a unique language… because emceeing is really all about divine speech,” he continued, “It’s not about rapping on the mic.  


Rapping, or shall I say ‘Rhythmic Rhyming of Spoken Word’ was the original prayer.


Your Bible, your Quran, your Torah were all rapped… you’re not supposed to read the Bible you’re supposed to rap it. In fact, some say you’re supposed to sing.”  

During the lecture Parker often used stories about a group of poor friends and how they could lift each other up by being supportive, confident and hard working.  

These stories seemed to come from his life and dealt with the value of personal qualities; as opposed to money.


“Have the courage to be you. Compliment your friends, the people around you, give them power… Compliments are the beginning of wealth.

A good reputation is the beginning of wealth,” KRS-One said. 


Hip-hop has come a long way from its humble origins, from an urban underground movement to a mainstream music genre that tops the charts every week.  


The only way to properly reflect on Hip-Hop's history is to consult the forefathers of the music.


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