PopMatters | “My Philosophy” Is Still Fresh After 25 Years
The scene opens up, focusing on a picture frame containing a photo of a young man holding his infant son. Children are joyfully chattering in the background. The camera pans out to reveal those children playing with instruments and curiously manipulating a record, rotating it back and forth. A voice is heard, asking “So, you’re a philosopher?” A question to which the reply, mixed in with a series of scratches, is “Yes.” A VHS cassette is popped into a VCR and the program starts to play. After a brief on-screen countdown, a teacher emerges from a diagonally-parked Jeep and begins to speak.
The man in the picture frame is Scott La Rock, the program is “My Philosophy”, and the teacher is rapper KRS-One.
“My Philosophy” was a Stanley Turrentine-sampling single released from Boogie Down Productions’ sophomore album, By All Means Necessary. It was their first album following the violent death of Scott La Rock, who was shot in the neck and behind the ear during the summer of 1987 in the aftermath of trying to diffuse a volatile situation that involved D-Nice. Determined to keep moving forward, KRS-One soldiered on his own and eventually secured a deal with Jive/RCA Records after a first deal with Warner was revoked when Scott was killed.