RapReviews | Review: Boogie Down Productions – By All Means Necessary
In about four seconds, a writer will begin to write. I grew up as an only child for most of my life but when I was around 12 or so, my older brother moved in for a short while. He had an interesting assortment of things in his room. There were a few Betamax tapes, a few magazines (one of them ended up being confiscated by my junior high school principal) and a lot of records and cassettes. There was an unlabeled Maxell tape that was black and gold, the label was peeling off on one side. I went ahead and popped it into my tape deck to listen. From what I remember, it was an old mix and the side was nearing its end. There was a bit of Audio Two and then some Eric B. & Rakim, then the tape stopped. I flipped the tape over, hit play and the first thing I hear is “So, you’re a philosopher?” followed by “Yes,” a bit of scratching and “I think very deeply.” At that moment, I was hooked and just had to keep listening. Of course, the song that I’m talking about is “My Philosophy” and the album is Boogie Down Productions’ sophomore release, “By All Means Necessary.” For those unaware of the BDP saga around this time, the Cliff Notes version goes like this: Scott La Rock and KRS-One came together as an unlikely duo when Scott was working at one of the shelters where KRS was living. They released “Criminal Minded” in 1987, which went on to achieve critical acclaim. In the summer of that year, Scott was killed after trying to diffuse a situation involving D-Nice. KRS would soldier on, continuing to shout out Scott on many songs, but there was a shift from violent to more socially conscious music. The first effort was “By All Means Necessary,” which draws influence from Malcolm X for both its title and memorable album cover.
It has been nearly twenty-five years to the date since the album was released, does the album still hold up? Things open with the aforementioned Stanley Turrentine-sampling “My Philosophy,” which still ranks high in many critics’ lists of best hip-hop songs ever. KRS gives you his views on the importance of originality, the pomp and circumstance that comes with being in the industry and the refusal to compromise by commercializing his lyrical content.