Album: By All Means Necessary.
They don’t seem to get mentioned very much these days, but back during the late-80s / early 90s, Boogie Down Productions were pretty huge. So much so that when KRS-One showed up on R.E.M.’s “Radio Song,” it felt more like a way to give some aging rock dudes some juice as opposed to the coolest band in the world giving some rapper a break.
And during a time when hip-hop was heading in the direction of more elaborate production, KRS-One’s commitment to nothing more than a big beat, a skeletal sample and his often very political lyrics made him have more in common with an early ‘60s folksinger than many of his peers, who were either going with bigger productions, or eschewing politics completely.
“My Philosophy,” naturally epitomizes that approach: it’s nothing more than a beat, a sax sample, and KRS-One’s own considerable gifts for making and spitting rhymes.
Who gets weaker? The king or the teacher
It’s not about a salary it’s all about reality
Teachers teach and do the world good
Kings just rule and most are never understood
If you were to rule or govern a certain industry
All inside this room right now would be in misery
No one would get along nor sing a song
‘Cause everyone’d be singing for the king, am I wrong?
How considerable? Lyrically so that verse circles back upon itself beautifully. Musically considerable that he uses a half-dozen different voices and inflections within just that verse. So considerable that within a year, both the Beastie Boys (“Right up to your face and dis you!”) and N.W.A. (“It’s not about a salary, it’s all about reality!”) were sampling this song in pretty major songs of their own.
Official video for “My Philosophy”
My Certain Songs Spotify Playlist: