23 Years Later: ‘Return of the Boom Bap’

By Jessica Golich

Back in 1993 when rap and hip-hop were beginning to evolve past the aura of partying and funky beats, one of the most innovative and socially conscious MC’s of all time, KRS-One, dropped his first official solo album, ‘Return of the Boom Bap’. Booming with a sound that’ll make your car stereo knock while still rising to the occasion of serving up smooth, contentious, and politically charged messages, the mixture of hardcore hip-hop beats and hardcore rhymes keeps the truth stinging while listeners mental wheels are spinning. On the 23rd anniversary of KRS-One’s standout album, let’s celebrate and commemorate the hip-hop heavyweight.

The album’s first single, “Outta Here,” hits listeners in their core with a roaring bass-line by DJ Premier that creates a mystical bliss impossible to forget. KRS-One proves that he is a heavy duty threat with fellow NY legend, Slick Rick, opening up the track pronouncing his infamous line, “Boogie Down was performing, hey they ain’t no joke”, while taking listeners down a journey through hip-hop history and opening the floodgates of mystery.

KRS-One expresses a clearer understanding beyond the inner view from his pockets expanding with lyrical bombs being dropped such as “I never want money if my lyrics are wack. So I must roc the mic, I play only the reggae and I play only the rap” on the album’s fourth track, “Mortal Thought”, which ingeniously features a sample of Billy Joel’s “Rosalinda’s Eyes” while KRS-One vividly states his opinion of his ambition while simultaneously serving to inspire the hopped up street children and spineless pigeons.


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“Are you tired of lyrical liars, passing fliers
Wannabe MC’s, but really good triers
Tripping over mic cords, getting you bored
A total fraud, this kind of thing I can’t afford” – “Mortal Thought”


The nitty gritty is brought to the surface on the albums twelfth track, “P Is Still Free”, in which KRS-One speaks of the moral bankruptcy women who sell their bodies and souls for money experience in a comical manner that serves the truth on a silver platter. Creeping up to the finish line, the album’s last track, “Higher Level”, is a musical journey deeply leading listeners into the inessential flying fucks scattered between their roaring left and raging right ear and bouncing off the walls of their cranium while offloading their responsibilities onto society and organized religion.

KRS-One certainly laced up his J’s, put his creative idiosyncrasies onto the pad with a pen and shot nothing but net; ‘Return of the Boom Bap’ is an album hip-hop will never forget.