Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Boogie Down Productions - By All Means Necessary LP


Music On Vinyl (2015, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for 25+ years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

There are not many records as important to my musical education as By All Means Necessary was when I first heard it.  This was pretty early into my hip hop explorations of the early 90s.  I had seen some BDP videos on Yo MTV Raps and had liked pretty much all of them, but it was the purchase of a Yo MTV Raps compilation CD that introduced my to one of the greatest hip hop songs ever written, "My Philosophy." The extended remix on that comp was something that I played over and over and over.  I was totally obsessed, so of course I had to find the album it came from.

While "My Philosophy" is the highlight of By All Means Necessary, let's be honest, it would be the highlight on just about any album.  The rest of By All Means Necessary is equally vital and powerful throughout the duration.  From the storytelling prowess of "Stop the Violence" to the battle rap perfection of "I'm Still #1" to the reggae fusion of "Part Time Suckers," KRS-One stands taller than just about any other MC out there.  In 1988, this was super cutting edge and the growth from Criminal Minded to By All Means Necessary was a quantum leap in terms of beats and production.

To me, this album and Public Enemy's It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back are the corner stones for the late 80s and early 90s golden era of hip hop.  Rap would have sounded a lot different without these two groups paving the way and it's a testament to their visions that both records could sound so potent over thirty years later.

Boogie Down Productions - "My Philosophy":

Boogie Down Productions - "I'm Still #1":

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