By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
By Benjamin Leatherman
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Troy Farah
By Roger Calamaio
By Mark Deming
NT: You've worked with everything from reggae to R.E.M. When are you going to break into R&B?
KRS-One: I am surrounded by R&B artists constantly. You never know, you may be calling my future into play here. I did a jungle record this year. I don't know if y'all out there know about that type of music, but it's really big in Europe.
NT: Isn't it like house music and tribal music? If I said Tricky, would that come close?
KRS-One: It's faster than house music. Sure, it's similar to Tricky's style. I'm getting into the MC rhyming over any kind of beat. I'd love to do a country song that rocks the country audience. Then maybe move over to a little bit of opera. Reggae already took over some of the opera rhythms.
NT: What role do you see yourself playing in hip-hop when you're 40 [he's now in his early 30s]?
KRS-One: I am coming to the end of my recording contract with Jive Records. At the same time, I feel like I'm 18 years old. I just feel very energetic these days, which you'll see in the performance. Finally, for the first time in my life, I have the time and the money to be into philosophy and education full-time.
NT: What about your label, Frontpage?
KRS-One: That's still happening. We are getting ready to put out four or five different acts this summer, and some special records, as well. Frontpage as a label, that's a whole different conversation. We started that label because I wasn't getting adequate promotion from Jive Records. So I started pressing my own music and putting it out. Heads started buying the records and liking it. It was a total disrespect to my recording contract, but people liked the stuff. So I thought that it was a good thing, and then I thought about finding some acts and putting them out and just see what happens with that. Because that's how people really get rich. I would love to buy a fleet of 18 trucks and do distribution.
But listen, to answer your question, we are starting a private school called the Temple of Hip-Hop. We will be teaching graffiti art, DJ-ing, MC-ing, breaking and the philosophies that explain all that, including hip-hop history. We are putting together a curriculum as to how hip-hop as a culture can be taught in public schools and private schools. It is based in New York, but the curriculum is worldwide. We will translate in all cultures and countries. This is one of the concepts that I have been trying to do for years. I couldn't get it done because I was either too corporate or I depended too much on other rap artists to be as revolutionary as my thinking. Now, I am by myself, and I feel good, I feel strong, I know what I can do. So I am going to go out and do it.
NT: Your songs have heavy messages that reflect the beliefs of the 5% Nation of Islam. Is there any connection?
KRS-One: Yes, they do have reflections of the 5% Nation. But there isn't really any connection, except from the theological aspect. I studied Islam, but only from a theological point of view. I think it is a very beautiful religion. The beauty of the Koran is that it is very scientific and logical. That's what I like about it. But I myself, I don't call myself a Muslim. But I do think I am obedient to God.
NT: Speaking of God, you view God as a woman. Why?
KRS-One: Because in mythology, the first form of deity was an animal, and then it moved to the form of a woman, the mother Earth. Man became a god as he rested on the throne of Isis. She is the power of Egypt. She is the power of the world. So he becomes empowered by sitting in her lap. This also is the mythology of the Madonna and Child, Isis and Osiris, which was later translated as Mary and Jesus. Which could also be Madonna and KRS-One if we ever did a picture together. However, I give credit to the mother concepts. Because I think that for 10,500 years, we have slowly transited from the feminine principles to the masculine, warrior, territorial, logical principles of God. I think that a society only acts the way its god acts. Also, in strategy, going into the 21st century, we need more feminine principles. We need to give more political and religious power to women. Why can't a woman be a priest in the Christian religion? That needs to be eradicated, and we must move forward. Christianity will never shed [its] cloak of sexism until [it bestows] authority to women.
NT: You pay a great deal of homage to women. Where's the crew from Boogie Down Productions like Miss Melodie and Harmony at today?
KRS-One: They were replaced by a higher woman. Miss Melodie was my first wife, and Harmony was my sister-in-law. If I could just get personal for a minute, there was no line drawn between me as KRS-One and me as Kris Parker. I am into family, and I am a one-woman guy who stays with his family. I had to meet Simone, who brought the light to my life. We have two children, and she is my goddess.