At 6pm today (July 28th), KRS One (aka The Teacha & longtime ambassador of all things Hip Hop) will celebrate the publication of his in-depth book, The Gospel of Hip Hop: First Instrument presented by KRS One for the Temple of Hip Hop (Powerhouse Books), with a special Amoeba Music Hollywood appearance. Unlike most Amoeba instores, which tend to be music concerts followed by a meet and greet/CD signing, today's standing room only KRS instore event, to be held in the SoCal store's cozy Jazz Room, will involve the veteran Hip Hop artist, activist, educator, author giving a lecture related to The Gospel of Hip Hop, taking some questions from the audience, and signing copies of his book. It is still possible to get in on today's special event. For full information & exact details click here. And if you are unable to attend today's event but would like to purchase a copy of the book online from Amoeba you can do so by clicking here. If you have any questions that you would like KRS to answer please write them in the comments below, and, as moderator of today's KRS lecture, I will do my best to have the man answer your question.
Today's KRS One Amoeblog is the sixth and final part in the series leading up to his instore and includes another audio excerpt from the recent Amoeblog exclusive KRS phone interview. After spending even a short time in the company of KRS you quickly realize that to say he does not take Hip Hop lightly is quite an understatement. The man lives and breathes it. His famous line, "rap is something you do, Hip Hop is something to live," are truly words that he lives by. In conversation he mentions Hip Hop continually and clearly never stops thinking about it and its ramifications. "I think Hip Hop is the savior of American society; Hip Hop itself brings cultures together because it gives people a chance to talk and to really see what the other guy is thinking and in a peaceful way," he told me when I asked about the real meaning of Hip Hop as a culture and a lifestyle.
"It [Hip Hop] means I want to know something more than cash. I want to know something more than wake up and do a job and go home and wake up and go home. I think there's more to my life than that. Believe it or not, some people don't believe that. Most people, in fact. I would say 99% of the world does not believe that. They believe that they're supposed to work hard for what they get," said KRS One. "They believe that there is supposed to be an oppressor over them, that they're supposed to fight against an oppressor. And they look for their oppressor. They get under their oppressor. They actually love their oppressor because their oppressor gives them meaning to life and they rise against their oppressor. And, you know, most people feel that way but that's not the Hip Hop tradition at all. We don't even recognize oppression anymore. I mean, we recognize it, but since the Gospel has been written, we've seen the light now. We know who we belong to now and we know who we are in the world."
Getting back to his book, I asked KRS One if it (currently only available in hardcover) would ever be available in paperback or if, like most new books these days, would be available as a digital download for people to read on their Kindle or iPad, etc. "It will probably never be [available] for digital download. It goes against the philosophy of the book. Certain portions of the book will obviously be floating around in cyberspace or someone might take the time to write it for cyberspace but the author will not do that," he said, speaking of himself in the third person. "That's number one. Number two is it will be in paperback. I'd like to see it in paperback. The copy that you have [the one pictured below right & available at Amoeba Music] is the original. Anyone who has this sacred copy, the original, are the ones who will actually be able to open Temples of Hip Hop in the future. You can't open the Temple on a paperback copy. That's going to considered a commercial version, although I must admit the paperback version will probably have less errors, less punctuation errors. There's actually five punctuation errors in the Gospel that's printed now. And the paperback will probably be the second edition. It will never be the first one." The author added that he has about 100 pieces of art to add to the second printing of the book. Currently there are no images. "I also think that the words [font size] are too small because the publisher did that to squeeze it down to eight hundred pages. I think the words should be bigger. It should probably be a thousand page book with bigger words which will then take our cost up to maybe about a $30 or $40 book."
In closing out my interview with KRS One I asked the 44 year old emcee/author to envision where he might see himself thirty years from now, in the year 2040, when he'll be 74 years of age. Does he think he'll still be rockin' the mic and going around giving talks and lectures on Hip Hop like today's at Amoeba? Without missing a beat, he replied, "Yes, to the grave. To the grave! Absolutely. I tell you the truth though, at 74, I would hope to be a blessing to the new 17 year old. I would hope that to the new 17 year old that says 'I wanna live Hip Hop. I wanna live that out,' that they'll be able to look at me, and others obviously, but looking at me at 74 and saying, 'Wow, he still looks great. He's onstage,' or wherever. Maybe I'll be a b-boy by then, breakin' on the ground at 74. By then maybe I'll have picked up my graffiti writing again. Maybe I'll become an outlaw -- an outlaw and the cops is looking for me and I'm in hiding cos I'm a graffiti writer. Hmmm... at 74, I don't know. New York might get swallowed up, ya'know, and we don't even know what the continents will look like when I'm 74, but I'm quite sure that you and I will still be here, because, as the Gospel predicts, last days of others will be the first days for us."
Continuing on that thread, KRS said, "So no matter what the disaster is, Hip Hop is poised for the new millennium, poised for the new age. And by the way, you know this is the first gospel written in the new millennium. This is the first gospel. Every millennium, every two thousand years, really, the world gets a new gospel. The last one was the Bible, was Christianity, and actually the Bible existed before that. The proclamation of Christ was two thousand years ago. The priests used to mark each spiritual awakening with the universe, the astrological alignments, and it just so happens that Hip Hop has released its Gospel at the beginning of the new millennium, where all calendars from around the world start over -- 2012, 2011, even 2013 calendars have started over. And Hip Hop is right there, right there ready to start again and keep it moving. And I find all of this fascinating, that our kulture would already exist before we discovered it, like we're discovering Hip Hop. We're discovering its existence already in the world and it's already protecting us every time we discover another piece of it, discover another attitude about it, or something like that. It's phenomenal what we're living, so at 74 we would have mastered it completely. We'll probably be living in another dimension." As he notes in the audio clip below, KRS accepts that "America may reject" his book, The Gospel of Hip Hop, but obviously that rejection or any other will not slow KRS One down from spreading the Gospel as he sees it.
KRS ONE Amoeblog Interview excerpt #6 (Hip Hop & The Gospel of Hip Hop for Future generations)
Boogie Down Productions "Love's Gonna Getcha" (1990 from the Jive/RCA BDP album Edutainment)