Boogie Down Productions – Sex & Violence (February 25, 1992)

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BDP has always been respected for their hardcore formula of hip-hop, substance, and unlike many of their peers, the integrity to never follow the trends. I’ve always thought their first three albums were a bit inconsistent, but on the fourth album Edutainment, Kris Parker and company seemed to finally find the perfect blend of consistently quality production placed behind the blastmaster’s masterfully meaty verses. Edutainment (which has to be one of the best album titles of all time) was not only the most consistent album in BDP’s catalog, but it was also the first and last BDP album to earn the crew a gold plaque.

Still at his peak in ’92, KRS-One and company would return with their fifth album Sex And Violence. While the title may lead you to believe that BDP had succumb to the pressures of the industry to follow current trends in pursuit of record sales and the almighty dollar, that was not the case. In the liner notes (by the way, I love liner notes. All this good information doesn’t come with an iTunes purchase) Kris explains that the album title “Represents radio and television, in that order. I call the album Sex & Violence because that is what entertainment has become in ’92 thus creating a more sexist and violent youth in America via the world!”.

While BDP’s message may not have changed on Sex And Violence, the faces in the crew definitely did. In the liner notes Kris holds no punches as he clearly spells out who BDP is:”BDP in 1992 is KRS-ONE, Willie D and Kenny Parker! BDP is 1992 is not D-Nice, Jamal-ski, Harmony, Ms. Melodie and Scottie Morris. They are not down with BDP so stop frontin’. We roll tight and hard this year because too many people want something for nothing.” That’s what I call direct and to the point. Sex And Violence would include production from long time BDP member and Kris’ little brother, Kenny Parker, Pal Joey (who produced “Love Is Gonna Get’cha”), long time BDP studio engineer D-Square, and the legendary Prince Paul. The album did not move a ton of units but most of the albums that I hold in high regard didn’t, so that don’t mean shit.

This would be the final album under the Boogie Down Productions name as Kris would go onto to release a sleuth of solo albums, which is kind of funny considering BDP was pretty much KRS-One and friends, in the first place.

The Original WaySex & Violence opens with the Parker boys poking fun at the industry and deejays moving away from using vinyl for alternative methods (i.e. cds and laptops) to rock a show. Then a warm reggae tinged instrumental drops before Kris’ voice comes in slightly distorted, giving the song a live feel (which I’m sure is what he intended). The warm reggae instrumental is quickly replaced with a simply drumbeat that Kris chants over before he and Freddie Foxxx (who you may also know as Bumpy Knuckles) exchange verses with Kid Capri making a brief cameo at the end of the song. This was okay, I guess.

Duck Down – For some reason I remember this being the lead single from Sex And Violence, but apparently from everything I can find online it was the second single. Regardless, this song is bananas! From the hard drums, to the sick guitar sample, to Kris’ crisp and precise lyrics, this song is a monster and a certified banger. Easily one of the top 5 song in BDP’s catalog and KRS-ONE’s solo catalog as well. Classic.

Drug Dealer – Prince Paul concocts a mid-tempo groove with a slightly reggae feel that Kris puts his teacher’s hat on for. Today’s lesson is for the black drug dealer as Kris’ message isn’t telling them to stop but instead suggest that if their going to sell drugs at least put the money into building up the black community, like all the other races have done in the history of this country. Even if you don’t agree with Kris’ ideology, he definitely makes some strong points on this one. Solid.

Like A Throttle – Kenny Parker hooks up a sick instrumental that Kris completely obliterates, displaying why he must be in the argument for GOAT, and definitely in the top 5 dead or alive. Over the course of his two verses he drops lessons, sprinkles in a bit of dancehall (that he comically snaps himself out of at one point to get back to the hip-hop), and smacks all competitors in the face while warning them to “get the fuck out my face, I run this place, you’re lucky we’re from the same race”. Listening to this today reminded me of why I fell in love with hip-hop in the first place. Sit back and enjoy a wordsmith at work, kids.

Build And Destroy – X-Clan had fired a few shots at Kris, criticizing him for his humanist views, as they felt he should focus more on the black man and the pro-black movement that they were about. Over an average Kenny Parker instrumental, Kris defends his humanist stance and explains why he doesn’t focus solely on the pro-black movement, and even shoots down the belief that the black man is god, which was the popular thing to say amongst hip-hoppers in the early nineties. Kenny’s instrumental could use a little life but Kris’ rhymes will leave you with something to dissect.

Ruff Ruff – Freddie Foxxx makes his second appearance of the evening, as he and Kris split mic duties again, over a solid up-tempo instrumental produced by D-Square. Kris will always be in my top 5 dead or alive, but Freddie Foxxx steals the show on this one. That’s just my opinion, though. What do you think?

13 And Good – This was the lead single from Sex And Violence. Pal Joey gets his second production credit of the evening and hooks up an understated, slightly reflective backdrop that Kris uses to tell a story about a well built female that he meets at the club and takes home for a one night stand. Things get interesting the next morning, when while having pillow talk, the female reveals that she is only 13 and threatens to cry rape and get her father involved if Kris’ character doesn’t agree to turn their one night stand into a commitment. Speaking of her father, he just so happens to be a police chief. For those not familiar with the song I won’t completely spoil the ending, but the song is over 20 years old, so you might want to get on that. Heather “All Glocks Down” B makes a small cameo in between verses on this one, which I figured I’d mention since I’m an unofficial citizen of Sway In The Morning and all. But I digress. Entertaining storytelling from Kris. This is a slept on classic.

Poisonous Products – Kenny Parker samples a portion of Isaac Hayes’ “Joy”, strategically sprinkling it over a killer bass line that Kris rips the heart out of. The sample of the relaxing male vocal speaking over a melodic female harmony in between Kris’ verses was a nice added touch.

Questions And Answers – Over a mediocre Pal Joey instrumental Kris interviews himself. No, I’m serious. Over the course of two verses he literally asks himself questions and then replies. Yes, it sounds as corny as it um, sounds. To make matters worse, Kris sounds like a whiny 5 year old as he complains about not being able to get on the cover of a magazines. This one should have been left on the cutting room floor.

Say Gal – KRS-ONE puts on his dancehall hat as he chants about women who dress seductive, seek out celebrities, go back to their hotels and then cry rape. Very controversial, especially considering Kris makes it clear where he stands in the matter, which I’m sure many would perceive as judgmental and possibly masochistic. I’m shocked he didn’t receive a ton of backlash from the female fan base and feminist groups back in the day. Over twenty years later this topic couldn’t be more relevant. Two words: Bill Cosby.

We In There – Kenny Parker hooks up a grimy and bleak instrumental that makes for the perfect backdrop for Kris to dish out verbal ass whippings. While no names are said on the record, it’s clear that he was taking shots at Ice Cube and PM Dawn. He later admitted he didn’t appreciate Cube’s line in “Rollin’ Wit The Lench Mob” where he appears to take a shot at Kris’s Stop The Violence Movement (“some rappers are heaven sent, but Self-Destruction don’t pay the fucking rent”) or PM Dawn questioning what kind teacher he is in a magazine article. You may remember in January of ’92, while PM Dawn was performing at a club in New York, Kris and his crew rushed the stage, literally throwing Prince Be and DJ Minutemix off the stage and then proceeded to rock three of his own classic records. Some of Kris’ peers saw his actions as a contradiction to his Stop The Violence Movement and called him out on it. Das EFX was one of them. On the video remix version of “We In There”, Kris adds a third verse and fires direct shots at Das, even accusing them of stealing their style from Treach (of Naughty By Nature). Eventually, Das and Kris would squash their beef and few years later work together on Kris’s second solo album, but I digress. I never care much for the instrumental on the remix as it sounds a bit soft. The album version is sick, though.

Sex And Violence – Prince Paul samples Booker T & The M.G.’s “Boot-Leg” record creating an infectiously bouncy backdrop. Kris is in full dancehall mode as he chants the entire song, venting about the over abundance of sex and violence on tv and radio, as well as his disdain for commercial radio and deejays. This is a feel good joint that would be fun to hear live. Which by the way, if you’ve never seen KRS-One perform live you have not truly experienced hip-hop. I’m just sayin’.

How Not To Get Jerked – Kris builds on Q-Tip unwritten industry rule# 4080, as he gives advice on how to avoid getting played in the music industry, for those interested. Prince Paul get his third production credit of the evening, at it’s decent. This definitely wasn’t one my faves.

Who Are The Pimps? – First off, I’d like to think the Blastmaster for punctuating the song title with a question mark. Pal Joey gets is 4th and final production credit of the evening and hooks up a hot up-tempo instrumental that Kris uses to equate the pimp and the hoe relationship to the IRS and the tax payer. Very clever and well done, Kris.

The Real Holy Place – Over what sounds like the soothing music they play at a massage parlor, Kris begins his 4 1/2 minute rant lecture on what the song title suggests. At this point in the ever changing philosophy of Kris Parker, he was into the whole metaphysics thing. As much as I respect KRS-One as an emcee I’ve rarely agreed with his forever evolving spiritual beliefs. I mean, the guy changes Gods as often as The View changes it’s roster.  This didn’t add anything value to the Sex And Violence experience.

It’s evident while listening to Sex And Violence that not only was KRS-One fed up with what America deemed as entertainment, but he also raps like he has a chip on his shoulder. With different crews taking shots at him and his philosophy, it’s almost like he felt he needed to defend the rep he had built for himself the previous 6 years. Luckily for  the listener, that pressure results in Kris producing some of the best records in the BDP/KRS-One catalog (i.e. “Duck Down” and “Like A Throttle”). Over the course of 15 tracks and pretty solid production, Kris sews lessons, boasts, and lyrical mouth shots together, resulting in a quality assembled quilt, I mean, album. While there are some forgettable moments on Sex And Violence and its not as consistent as it’s predecessor, it’s still dope in its own right.

-Deedub

 

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One Response to Boogie Down Productions – Sex & Violence (February 25, 1992)

  1. tony a.wilson says:

    Good review deedub. Although bumpy knuckle’s verse on ruff,ruff is fire, I think kris took it. Freddie foxx gave some insight to this song. He was writing his verse and he thought krs was doing the same. Finally he asked kris was he finished and ready to record, and kris replied ” I’ve been ready”. When bumpy asked where was his lyrics, kris pointed to his head. That’s why Freddie foxx’s verse is so long.

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