By Martine Kelsch San Francisco, CA @ the Justice League

In 1971, on 1541 Sedgewick Avenue in the Bronx, New York, a man named Kool Herc was doing things in music that no one at the time seemed to give a damn about. Except these two little boys who lived across the street who just happened to be six year old KRS-ONE and his brother five year old Kenny Parker. It was here at 1541 Sedgewick Avenue, where these two boys witnessed hip-hop being created.

Also, it was here at Cedar Park on Sedgewick Avenue in 1974 that Kool Herc introduced the craft of needle-droppin’ and out of this phenomenon came freestyle dancing or breakin’. Around the same time, Grandmaster Kas and the Cold Krush Four actually began their careers in hip-hop as b-boys in the very same park. KRS-ONE first entered into the hip-hop culture as a graffiti artist and then began studying the art of mc’n in 1986. His name is known worldwide along with his unforgettable voice.

On Friday, July 9th at Lowell Middle School in Oakland, there was a small meet and greet gathering with KRS-ONE and fellow hip-hoppas of all ages and colors from the Bay Area. Along with an educational and informational lecture from KRS, the crowd also enjoyed the performances of the Rock Steady Crew, the Style Elements Crew and Media Circus(who were extra dope!). The event though was mainly held to unveil KRS’s new organization called the Temple of Hip-Hop.

The Temple is basically hip-hop’s central headquarters. It is called a Temple because it represents the body of hip-hop culture. Within the Temple there are not just the four major elements of hip-hop, but nine “refinitions” which KRS explained “help you get rich from hip-hop”. The nine refinitions are Deejayin’, Breakin’, Graffiti, Mc’n, Beatboxin’, Language, Street Wear, Entrepreneuralism,( ____???________). According to KRS, hip-hop is to be used for the “betterment of your health, your wealth, and your self-awareness”. Furthermore, the more elements you know, the richer you will become.

In 1994, KRS-ONE was entrusted with the creation and writing of a book that would document hip-hop from the day it began. His goal was to educate some of the most educated on what hip-hop is. Other contributors to this history-making book include Chuck D, Rakim, Bam, Kool Herc, and a few more which haven’t completed their parts yet. The most intriguing thing is that when any artist signs to a record label(especially Werner Bros., Electra, Atlantic, Def Jam, and Jive) they will automatically be given this book.

The basic idea is that if you are registered as a Temple member, opportunities will be open to you. For example, he mentioned that there are slots open, for those who are interested, to be a technical roadie on KRS’s upcoming tour. No I am not kidding!! Temple members who receive chances like this will also not be doing it for the love of hip-hop, but for the almighty dollar too!! KRS stated “We want to pay those who love hip-hop to work within the industry and culture.” He seems to want to forma an economic base for real hip-hoppas which will also open doors for those interested in doing things like interning at Werner Bros.!! This news definitely made a few mouths drop in the room.

This man has so much presence and charisma when he walks into a room, everyone turns to look at him. So we at knew we had to ask him a few intimate questions one on one for our dedicated readers. The following night after the lecture, we showed up at the Justice League at KRS’s sound check and in a small, stuffy, red room backstage filled with fruit, juice and crackers(b/c KRS is a veggie hip-hoppa) we were given the chance of lifetime.

HHC: Who would you recommend to others to listen to-another hip-hop founder??
KRS: “Wow, many. Hip-hop has died many times and been born. Chuck D, and when I say hip-hop founder, I mean one who has created our conscious. One who is responsible for why we think the way we do. Obviously Herc, Bam, Flash and even The Sugarhill Gang and Cold Krush Four.

HHC: Who is a founder of each element??
KRS: “In Graffiti art I would have to say Phase 2, Taki 183, Stay High, Super Cool, Chi-Chi 133, Peanut, Barbara and Eve, CIA, Dondi, RTW and T-mann. These are the seminal figures. They are like kings and the letters that people are doing were created in their notebooks. In Breakin’, I take it to Jimmy D and Jimmy Lee, the originators of the Rock Steady Crew and the ones who put Crazy Legs on the map! Also Jo-Jo and the Nigga twins. In Beatboxin’ I would have to say Emanon, Doug E. Fresh, Greg Nice and DMX.”

HHC: Is that the same DMX that people know of today?
KRS: “I don’t think so, but I haven’t seen that DMX in over ten years.”

HHC: Who actually taught you to do graffiti?
KRS: “A guy named Zore, down with a crew called Down to Bomb. I was in a group home in 1984 and I wanted to go out bombing and I had to learn how to do it to go. So this kid named Zore took me under his wing and I started writing.”

HHC: Who is your favorite cartoon character?
KRS: “Bugs Bunny, of course!!”

HHC: Who coined the phrase hip-hop?
KRS: Busy B. But you can also give it to Hollywood. Hollywood was the first to say it but Busy B was the one that said what we are doing is hip-hop.

HHC: Do you know anyone who does all four elements very well?
KRS: “Not yet.”

HHC: There isn’t any criteria when one joins the Temple-can just anyone join? Does this devalue hip-hop?
KRS: “We give everyone an opportunity. All you have to say is ‘I am hip-hop’. Once you are a member, there are further levels to go to. So far we have gathered actually 11,000 members.”

HHC: On the Sway and Tech video, did you have any influence in it?
KRS: “None, I just showed up for my part. I haven’t even seen the video yet.”

HHC: With your position at Werner Bros., what do you want to accomplish?? And what do you envision in the next couple of years?
KRS: “I want hip-hop to be respected by everyone in all walks of life. I want others to say to hip-hoppas, ‘You belong to something I respect’. Every time I’m one television, radio or print ads, I try to make hip-hop as proud as possible. What I am doing at Werner Bros. has to do with hip-hop’s corporate look. Hip-hoppas are working in the corporate world and they want to express in their work. So this is when they would go for advice to the Temple. In exchange, corporations will give donations to the Temple of hip-hop, which is then given to the culture.”

Not only is KRS-ONE an unbelievable speaker, he is an inspirational man who gives many someone to look up to. But let’s not forget his true talent-rhyming! Not only did he give a heated, upbeat show that night at the Justice League, but he also bombarded a huge rave called Cyberfest the following night. There he made hip-hop’s presence felt with the most enthusiastic crowd of the whole night in an extremely crowded, hot and sweaty room. To top off the weekend, he played again at the Justice League on Sunday night at an afterparty following an off-the-hook performance of Gang Starr at Maritime Hall. Watch out hip-hoppas-I think this guy is very capable of taking over the world!!

KRS one Temple of Hip-hop

From Hip

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