For his first album in four years, KRS-One was faced with the same dilemma that his contemporaries from hip-hop's so-called golden age (circa 1987) have had to deal with, to varying degrees of success. Following the major label A&R line that conscious rap is no longer relevant to the rap-buying market, he could have gone the way Rakim did for his comeback and sublimated his longtime "edutainment" agenda under a much easier to market tough-guy materialism. Or he could have stuck to the shtick, refusing to integrate either beats or rhyme schemes into the current zeitgeist, as did Chuck D for his Public Enemy reunion. Smartly, KRS chose the third path, similar to the one taken by De La Soul last year: Push the production in new directions, distill your long-standing message to its essence (allowing you to rearticulate it without rehashing) and leave the gunplay and other clubland tomfoolery to the young bucks. His ethos, unwavering over his 15-year-plus career, is put into the plainest of terms on "Hot": "I study the ways of God/You studyin'... More >>>