Being the die-hard KRS-One fan that I am, it's no surprise that a dig through my crates of vinyl and stacks of CD's would reveal a plethora of his releases. From multiple different versions of "Criminal Minded" (including a dub instrumental) to the "Self Destruction" cassette single to remixes that only appeared on 12" like "You Must Learn" and "I'm Still #1"; all the way up to modern day releases like 2002's obscure "The Mix Tape" and even the critically maligned "Keep Right" from 2004. Quite frankly the idea that I'd miss or overlook anything that KRS-One recorded or appears on shocks me. I'll even buy an R.E.M. record if Lawrence Krisna Parker makes a guest appearance; and as a matter of fact he did on their "Out of Time" album for a track titled "Radio Song."
Somehow though this "Rapture's Delight" release not only flew under my radar but escaped my collection altogether. The copyright date says 2003 but quite frankly since this is a quote unquote "BMG Special Product" I'm not buying that, especially since I didn't see this one in stores ANYWHERE until this year. To clarify the confusion other BDP/KRS-One fans must be feeling, the same that I felt when finding this CD at a local mom'n'pop store, this is not a full album of never before heard KRS-One material. The title alone should be some indication of that fact, as "Rapture's Delight" was the subtitle for KRS-One's hit single "Step Into a World" from the 1997 album "I Got Next." Kris reimagined the old school classic "Rapture" by Blondie and decided to give it a modern hip-hop twist, and successfully captured the essence while coming correct with a hardcore beat and some of his sharpest lyrics:
"This type of flow don't even think about stoppin
Beware, the length of the rhyme flow can be shockin
All music lovers in the place right now
That never understood the way that KRS got down
Yo I'm strictly 'bout skills and dope lyrical coastin
Relying on talent, not marketing and promotion
If a dope lyrical flow is a must
You gots to go with a name you can quickly trust
I'm not sayin I'm number one, uhh I'm sorry, I lied
I'm number one, two, three, four and five
Stop wastin your money on marketing schemes
and pretty packages pushin dreams to the beams"
What follows on this 38 minute long album is a selection of some of KRS-One's best work throughout the 1990's, and there isn't a single song included even his most jaded critics could object to. From the DJ Premier produced "MC's Act Like They Don't Know" to the 1993 classics "Black Cop," "Outta Here" and "Sound of Da Police" from "Return of the Boom Bap" to slept on classics like "The MC" and "A Friend" from "I Got Next," they're all as fresh as Florida orange juice. Even scratched instrumental tracks like "KRS-One Attacks" and poetic interludes like "2nd Quarter - Free Throws" feel appropriate:
"There's no reason to fear the New World Order
We must order the whole new world to pay us
The New World Order and the old state chaos
The Big Brother watching over you, is a lie you see
Hip-Hop could build it's own secret society!
But first, you and I got to unify
Stop the negativity and control our creativity
The rich is getting richer, so why we ain't richer?
Could it be we still thinking like niggaz?
Educate yourselves, make your world view bigger
Visualize wealth, and put yourselves in the picture!"
Out of ten tracks, the only one on this release that I'm not partial to is "De Automatic." It was on KRS-One's self-titled 1995 album and then as now purports to feature Fat Joe, but he only does a brief shoutout at the end of the song - false advertising if you ask me. On the whole though you could hardly go wrong with this album, even if you already own all of the individual songs on it on different CD's. Ironically, while KRS-One's "The Mix Tape" was more of an album, this album is more of a mixtape. The casual listener not familiar with a KRS-One catalogue spanning three decades would find this an excellent place to start, and the long-time fan would find this a solid enjoyable selection. Only the ultra-hardcore would take issue with "Rapture's Delight," expecting rare B-Sides and remixes that don't appear on this release. When the time comes for such a compilation though it would have to be at minimum a four disc box set; in the meantime you can always pick up 2000's heavily BDP-oriented "A Retrospective."
Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10
Originally posted: June 28, 2005