Boogie Down Productions – By All Means Necessary

Boogie Down Productions released their second studio album “By All Means Necessary” on April 12, 1988.  After Scott La Rock was murdered in 1987, KRS-One came back with a more conscious attitude and rhymes.  The album was produced by KRS-One and has the iconic cover recreating the famous portrait of Malcolm X holding an M-1 looking out the window.  KRS-One replaces the M-1 with an uzi on the famous cover. It also borrows and tweaks Malcolm X’s political phase “By Any Means Necessary” that he borrowed from Jean-Paul Sartre.

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The album starts off with the funky and positive charged “My Philosophy” that samples Stanley Turrentine’sSister Sanctified” and sounds crazy dope!  KRS-One then breaks it down for us like only Kris Parker can!

“Boogie Down Productions
Is made up of teachers
The lecture is conducted
From the mic into the speaker
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
Over 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?”

What would a BDP album would be without a dis record?  On “Ya Slippin” Kris goes for the throat as he does his countdown of suckas on the mic all the while flowing behind the guitar riff from Deep Purple’sSmoke On The Water“.

“So what do we have here?
A sucka in fear
I snatched your heart
Put it way up on the chart
At ten you’re f*cked
At nine you suck
At eight you’re a sucker
At seven-a mothaf*cka
At six you’re slapped
At five you’re just wacked
At four you’re lost
At three, you’re just soft
At two you’re an ass
At one, you’re a dick
But before you slip, I’ll whip”

On the political tip, Kris brings us the uplifting “Stop The Violence“.  Behind a funky and slow Jamaican beat, he goes after the problems of the world and the president with the rhymes,

“Mary Lue’s had a baby someone else decapitated
the drama of the world shouldn’t keep us so frustrated
I look, but it doesn’t coincide with my books
social studies only speak upon political crooks
It’s just the presidents, and all the money they spent
all the things they invent and how the house is so immaculate
They create missiles, my family’s eating gristle
then they get upset when the press blows the whistle”

Illegal Business” is about how “Cocaine business controls America” and samples a funky “Fat Albert” sample while “Nervous” will get you saying “NERRRRRRVOUS” over and over again as he gives props to the popular MC’s of the day!

Turn the record to the B-side and we get the banging “I’m Still #1” and even though he only had one album under his belt, he let us know what it takes to last in the rap game!

“But here’s where the problem starts, no heart
Because of that a lot of groups fell apart
Rap is still an art, and no-one’s from the old school
‘Cause rap is still a brand-new tool
I say no-one’s from the old school ’cause rap on a whole
Isn’t even twenty years old
Fifty years down the line, you can start this
‘Cause we’ll be the old school artists
And even in that time, I’ll say a rhyme
A brand-new style, ruthless and wild
Runnin’ around spendin’ money, havin’ fun
‘Cause even then, I’m still number one”

On “Part Time Suckas“, Kris’s interpolation of Stevie Wonder’sPart Time Lover” educates the “sucker mc’s” and gives them a vocabulary lesson.  But it’s “Jimmy” that will have you spell his name over and over again.  He takes another Paul McCartney song (Wings Let Em In) and changes the words to the melody with,

“So, remember you’re never too old (Jimmy is wearin’ a hat)
Remember you’re never too bold (Jimmy is wearin’ a hat)
Do me a favor, wear your hat
So Jimmy, will have the opportunity to come back”

He takes The Jungle Brother’sJimbrowski” and takes it a level up with the help of DJ Red Alert.  Safe sex kids!  Protect Jimmy at all times! “You can’t trust a big butt and a smile“.

“Here is a message to the Super-Hoes
Just keep in mind when Jimmy grows
It grows and grows and grows, so let it
But keep in mind about the epidemic
When Jimmy releases, boy it pleases
But what do you do about all these diseases?
Jimmy is Jimmy, no matter what
So take care of Jimmy cos you know what’s up
Cos now in winter AIDS attacks
So run out and get your Jimmy Hats
It costs so little for a pack of three
They’re Jimmy Hats for the winter attack
Good for a present, great for lovers
Demonstrated by The Jungle Brothers
Protect your Jimmy and keep it fresh
They’re Jimmy Hats by KRS”

The album ends with “T-Cha T-Cha” where KRS goes ragamuffin (influenced by the great Just- Ice) and spits that knowledge with,

“Me bus’ upon the scene around 1986
A few hit records got me started real quick
I represent the Bronx, but I am a New Yorker
All vegeterian, never eat pork or
Chicken in a battle yes my brain starts clickin
Just like the gears of a watch, tock-tickin
I never lose time cause the rhyme is all digital
For suckers like you, I turn the power up to critical
On every playlist, waxin that anus
Suckers or professionals, BRING DOWN THE DECIMAL”

There is one more track, the spoken word “Necessary” where KRS breaks down the rock/rap/violence affiliation.  There is no beat and no rhyming so Heads just skip this track.  All put together, this album is one of the greatest “Afro-centric” albums in Hip Hop History only second to Public Enemy’sIt Takes A Nation” album.  KRS then takes the “Stop The Violence” a bit further when he brings an all-star list of rappers to speak on stopping Black-on-Black crime and gives us probably the best posse cut ever, “Self Destruction“.  The man covers almost every subject on this album. Positivity.  Drugs.  Safe Sex. Sucker MC’s.  Corruption.  Violence.  You name it, he covered it!

Fresh, For 88, You Suckas!”  Scott La Rock Lives!

-Al E.

 

 

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