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In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania it is:
MARCH ONLINE ENTERTAINMENT EDITION
Hip-hopper KRS-One once again comes to Pitt!
Around 70 people stayed in
their dark green seats and conversed calmly, waiting for the speaker to arrive.
No one left. Exactly one hour after he was scheduled to arrive, Hip-hopper KRS-ONE
commanded the audience February 10, with a strong, booming voice that filled the
Frick Fine Arts Building auditorium.
KRS spoke at Pitt in November, the first part of his dissertation on hip hop, covering “its essence, its meaning, its purpose,” and the audience seemed excited for part two: a “metaphysical perspective.”
“Everything is also something else,” KRS explained. “Nothing is what it seems.” According to the speaker, hip-hop is another way of looking at things.
As an example, he said, “If I took this podium and throw it on its side, it could be a bed, or a writing table.”
“You could say, ‘A cop just pulled me over; this is racial profiling,’” he said. “Yes, that’s what it is; but what else is it?”
KRS said the same applies to much of hip-hop slang, such as “fresh,” and “dope.” “The same also applies to “n_____,” “b____,” and some others I won’t go into because of our audience,” he said, looking over the numerous children and families in the audience.
“‘N_____’is disrespectful. Yes, but what else is it?”
KRS says he defines hip-hop as “the transformation of subject and object in an attempt to describe your inner conscious.” This is why MCs starting spinning and manipulating records in early 1970s Brooklyn.
“Grandmaster Flash was told the turn table was an appliance. But Grandmaster Flash said, ‘what else is it?’”
KRS even attributed the current state of American food to hip hops culture: “Hip hoppers asked Chinese restaurateurs, ‘You don’t sell chicken wings and French fries?’ If you want my money, you are going to have to transform your [thinking].
“Fried scallops? That’s not Chinese. But now, you can’t tell them they didn’t invent it. Even the amount of cheese on pizza comes from dealing with inner city people.”
KRS turned his attention to the concept of hip-hop culture as a state of enlightened human society.
“In a natural state, humans are running around, beating, raping and robbing people, running through the jungle. People say, ‘I don’t care if that’s yours, I’m bigger than you.’”
KRS said that contrary to popular belief, a civilization is not advanced because of its technology, but instead because of advanced human relations.
If a tribe of people is eating a deer, KRS considers them advanced if they find other uses for the carcass together, turning the teeth into necklace, the hide into a coat.
“You must ask, ‘How else can the carcass advance us all?” He said the “what else?” question leads to art, discussion and education.
However, KRS said, “There can be no justice in a capitalist society,” comparing taxes to the deer hunter providing the group with meat, and in return getting only a tooth.
“’Cut her off an ear,’” he said, laughing. “’Here black people, take some civil rights. Why you black men so angry? Oh, alright, take a tail.’”
“And some of us say, ‘Thank you, Massa, for the tail.’”
KRS pointed out that rap music is a $billion-a-year industry, and that money could fund a war in Afghanistan, the CIA or a cure for cancer. It could even buy a nation for African Americans.
“Thanks, America, it’s been great, but 400 years is over,” he said.
“Hip hop is a culture,” he said. “But what else is it?”