The beats though, created mostly by KRS himself, have noticeably backed off of the relentlessly straightforward breakbeats of 1993's Return of the Boom Bap, an album title that coined the name of a hard-nosed production aesthetic embraced by the music's more purist enthusiasts. The heavily chopped-up, mechanistic drums on "Attendance" and "Why" stir up no nostalgia for South Bronx boogaloo dancers -- more menacing and hollow-sounding than the recognizable funk loops of his classics such as "Jack of Spades" or "You Must Learn," there isn't anything throwback about the music on The Sneak Attack.
Because of the urgency of his lyrics, KRS's tracks have often sacrificed simple listenability for unambiguous edification -- many say his style is just too heavy-handed, too preachy. Here he manages to expound his favorite tenet, which is basically hip-hop gnosticism -- "you are not doing hip-hop, you are hip-hop" -- without belaboring it at the expense of the almighty head-nod. By syncing his words tightly to the drums and sinking his vocal parts deeply into the mix, he doesn't run into the problem of dominating the instrumental, using it only as a platform to make his point. Maintaining the balance between rap for rap's sake and rap for enlightenment's sake as well as he has since splitting with Boogie Down Productions, The Sneak Attack is a vital chapter in The Teacha's distinguished tenure.