Today, March 3rd, 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of BDP’s debut album Criminal Minded, a piece of musical artistry and antagonism that still bangs till this day.
This isn’t a nostalgia trip. The beats were hard hitting like a East Coast version of N.W.A. This isn’t gangsta rap. This is hardcore hip-hop that is so dope…it’s criminal.
I was nine years old when Criminal Minded dropped in 1987. Prior to the album, I’d never heard of KRS One nor Boogie Down Productions. It wasn’t until they swung the hammer with the record “South Bronx” that I took notice.
Every New York City borough that mattered at the time had their own hip-hop anthem. Mc Shan and Marley Marl’s “The Bridge” represented for Queens, Brooklyn had “Top Billin” by The Audio Two, and now the Bronx was flexing hard.
KRS One was rapping with a swagger I hadn’t seen by any other emcee prior.
The styles and influences ranged from dancehall/reggae to James Brown and rock. The production was primarily handled by KRS-One and DJ Scott La Rock, with special thanks to the Ultramagnetic MCs‘ Ced-Gee.
The album begins with the James Brown assisted “Poetry”. As soon as you hear the track, you already know that they didnt just show up to be a part of the rap game, they came to conquer it.
KRS, which stands for Knowledge Reigns Supreme, aka “The Teacher”, basically demonstrates how much other rappers’ skills fall short when compared to his lyrical lessons. “9mm Goes Bang” is a gangsta tale that displays his marvelous storytelling skills with a beat that feels like a 1980s reggae record.
There is one theme that flows throughout this entire album, that BDP basically does not like sucka emcees. Unfortunately for another legend in the rap game, this album put an end to his run.
I tell Hip Hop heads all of the time, “The Bridge is Over” was the original “Ether”. A diss record that hit so hard it almost completely erased the competition from existence. I remember being in Queensbridge the week that the record hit the radio. It was like walking through a set on an episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead.
Though the “South Bronx” record set the table, “The Bridge is Over” finished the meal, had dessert, a glass of deuce, a smoke, and washed the damn dishes. If you don’t know the story, allow me to give you the short version.
Mc Shan, from Queensbridge, claimed on “The Bridge” that Hip-Hop started out there. BDP took shots at that claim on “South Bronx” , basically giving Shan a history lesson, name-dropping several Bronx pioneers in the process.
Shan responded with a cut called “Kill that Noise” that was quickly snuffed out by “The Bridge is Over”.
Attention all future emcees and producers. This is how you make a first impression on your Hip Hop peers. Take no prisoners!