By Albert Perez
Kris Parker, also known by as KRS-One (Knowledge Reigns Supreme
Over Nearly Everyone), gave an insightful lecture on the history of
hip-hop and the fundamentals of the genre before an enthusiastic
audience at Cal Poly Pomona on Thursday night.
The emcee, author and hip-hop activist detailed his experience
in the industry for the audience that filled Ursa Major.
Parker, who has documented the hip-hop culture since its
beginnings in the late seventies, described the genre as an
“attitude” that transcends rap music and the other elements of the
culture such as hieroglyphics and break dancing.
Intertwined with a historical discourse about the culture’s
beginnings and evolution,
Parker’s lecture conveyed a strong message about
self-empowerment and progress by discussing the causes of the
culture that he referred to as “acts.”
“The first act of hip-hop is self expression; don’t be afraid to
be you,” said Parker.
“You could hear it all day, you can hear people say all day: ‘Yo
man you gotta be you; Yo, you gotta do you,’ We hear it but we
don’t really act it out. It takes courage to be you,” said
A second act of hip-hop that Parker put forward as means of self
empowerment was self-creation.
“If you’re waiting for someone to make you, you’re already on
the wrong path,” said Parker. “Get off that path quickly (because)
it doesn’t work. What works is you and the mirror and you get in
front of that mirror and you say what you are to that image. ‘I am’
is a powerful statement in the human psyche.”
Parker went on to describe how the hip-hop culture as a whole is
a perfect example of self-creation.
According to Parker, in its early years the mainstream had no
part in diffusing the hip-hop culture like it does today where rap
artists and other elements of the culture have saturated popular
“We created it ourselves,” said Parker. “The mainstream had
nothing to with it. They didn’t want nothing to do with it. That’s
why it’s such a farce now. I wake up everyday laughing at the TV.
At the end of the day we were created as an answer to the
The audience demonstrated a positive reaction to Parker’s
lecture with a standing ovation at its close.
“I like how he brought the motivation,” said Ch`e Duncan, a
fourth-year public relations student. “There’s other ways of doing
that than just telling them to stay in school. I love that he said
the second act of hip-hop is self-creation. I thought that was
Other students were surprised by the content of the lecture.
“I thought it was going to be a history of hip-hop (but) he took
it to another level,” said Efehi Ogbebor, a fourth-year graphic
design student. “He basically defined the under, under, under
meaning of hip-hop, not just what we see, but the spirit of
Ogbebor wishes the university would host more hip-hop oriented
events, besides Session A events.
He wants to see actual hip-hop concerts by artists such as Lupe
Fiasco and The Roots.
“Rap music is the number one money-making music in America, so
there’s no reason why we should only have rock concerts,” said
Albert Perez can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or
by phone at (909) 869-3744.
KRS-One Inspires With Lecture
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