Boogie Down Productions – Criminal Minded

Boogie Down Productions released their debut album “Criminal Minded” on March 3, 1987.  It is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential Hip Hop albums in Hip Hop history.  It is consisted of 11 of the dopest Hip Hop tracks every to be compiled in one album.  It features rhymes by KRS One and production by Scott La Rock who would sadly get shot and killed almost 6  months after this release and Ced Gee of the Ultramagnetic MC’s.

The album starts off with the appropriately named track “Poetry“.  The track has no hook or chorus but in reality, it doesn’t need it!  The Blastmaster doesn’t waste anytime showing us he’s the “T’cha”.

Take off your coat, take notes, I am teachin’
A class, or rather school, cause you need schooling
I am not a king or queen, I’m not ruling
This is an introduction to poetry
A small dedication to those that might know of me
They might know of you and maybe your gang
But one thing’s for sure, neither one of y’all can hang
‘Cause yo I’m like a arrow, and Scott is the crossbow
Say something now … thought so!

The second track “South Bronx” is the song that put BDP on the map.  The beat is simple yet hard as…well you know!  It’s a shame that JLo took the beat for a pop song, but lets get back to the “lecture at hand”.  “South Bronx” was the answer record to MC Shan’sThe Bridge” and proves to the world that Hip Hop started in the Bronx.

As odd as it looked, as wild as it seems
I didn’t hear a peep from a place called Queens
It was seventy-six to 1980
The dreads in Brooklyn was crazy
You couldn’t bring out your set with no hip-hop
Because the pistols would go *bang* *bang* *pop*
So why don’t you wise up, show all the people in the place that you are wack
Instead of tryna take out LL, you need to take your homeboys off the crack
Cause if you don’t, well, then their nerves will become shot
And that would leave the job up to my own Scott La Rock
And he’s from…

So when Marley Marl and Mr Magic dissed them by not signing them, what did KRS and Scott do? They made another answer record and also stole a Marley Marl beat/sample.  The diss is ruthless and the beat is one of the greatest piano loops in Hip Hop history!

Pick any dick for the flavor that you savor
Mr. Magic might wish to come and try to save ya
But instead of helping ya out he wants the same thing I gave ya
I finally figured it out, Magic mouth is used for sucking
Roxanne Shante is only good for steady fucking
MC Shan and Marley Marl is really only bluffing
Like Doug E. Fresh said “I tell you now, you ain’t nothing”
Compared to Red Alert on KISS and Boogie Down Productions

All of this plus his lyrical interpolation (of all people) Billy Joel’sStill Rock N Roll To Me“.  The man listened and was influenced by everybody.

You’re still telling lies to me
Everybody’s talking ’bout the Juice Crew funny
But you’re still telling lies to me

Back in 1987, rap videos were not the custom.  The songs made a name for themselves with no video needed.  I would always imagine what “9mm Goes Bang” would of looked like on the “small screen”. The “gangsta” rap song plays out like a movie and is one of the earliest “gangsta rap tales” on wax (but of course not the first).

“Elementary” and “Criminal Minded” continue the BDP sound, but as dope as the beats are, it’s KRS ‘s delivery and pronunciation of every word that keeps you glued to the tune.

How does one take the Beatles “Hey Jude” as a lyrical interpolation and come out with,

Boogie Down Productions will always get paid
We’ll take the wackest song and make it better
Remember to let us into your skin
Cause then you’ll begin, to master
Rhymin’ rhymin’ rhymin’

…and still be “hardcore” as they come?  That’s why this album is so unique and original.  Now, KRS does “sample” non Hip Hop tracks into his rhymes, but at least he’s making those hardcore Hip Hop heads go to AC DC, Billy Joel and the Beatles “broaden their horizons”.  In Hip Hop, this album has to be in your Top 10 albums of all time!  This album made history and as KRS says,

Criminal Minded, You’ve Been Blinded, Lookin For A Style Like Mine?, You Can’t Find It!

-Al E.



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  1. Definitely my all-time favorite HipHop record ever,to this day it’s still in rotation in my changer ,long live Scott LA Rock &KRS-ONE

  2. Had to go by the decord store on top of the firestation…oh yeah Deejaying was Hard, had to go to all boroughs to grab Wax…fuk a labtop.. u know how to clean a record before it skips….no fur….lol…those days

  3. It’s insane to me that anyone calling themselves a hip hop fan wouldn’t have this album in their collection!

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