Monday, November 9, 2009

BDP - "My Philosophy" (forgotten song)

"So, you're a philosopher?"

"Yes, I think very deeply."

Danette and I don't really consider ourselves big hip hop fans, but growing up when & where we did, you just absorb a certain level of knowledge and appreciation. When we lift weights at the Y (3-4 times a week), the music selection is invariably on some kind of soft rock, vapid pop, ballad / slow jam snoozefest. In short, the worst possible music for working out.

If none of the staff are around, she sneaks in and changes the channel. I believe they have "Music Choice", and although we've sampled a variety of appropriate loud, alive & upbeat channels, we almost always select "Hip Hop Classics". It's perfect workout music, and somewhat surprisingly we know maybe half of the selections (despite some deep cuts on the channel). The beats are good and the early stuff mostly avoids the misogyny and other hobgoblins of contemporary hip hop.

Having said all that, on that channel I've yet to hear one of my favorite old school hip hop songs: "My Philosophy", from the 1988 LP "By All Means Necessary" by Boogie Down Productions (BDP). BDP and MC KRS-One (aka Lawrence Parker) have always been a study in contrast. Their first LP, 1987's "Criminal Minded", set the musical template for gangster rap that would eventually overrun the scene (e.g., "9mm Goes Bang"). Then in 1987 BDP's DJ, Scott La Rock, was shot and killed while trying to break up a fight. Not surprisingly, BDP's second LP abandoned gangster rap for the socially conscious brand of hip hop typically associated with acts like Public Enemy. Also, while BDP and KRS-One gave us the first (?) hip hop rivalry with the "Bridge Wars", he also founded the Stop the Violence Movement (cf. the single "Self-Destruction") to address the violence plaguing hip hop.

But none of those details really matter... "My Philosophy" is a great song and features KRS-One at his lyrical and vocal best. But the secret ingredient is the sample of Stanley Turrentine's "Sister Sanctified". Knowing what to sample is half the battle in hip hop, and with a sax riff that good, you can't go wrong.

"In about four seconds the teacher will begin to speak..."

Radio Edit: YouTube. (Gotta love the 30 second a capella break starting at about 0:40; it's not present on the LP version).

LP Version: YouTube.

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