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Artist: KRS-One
Keep Right
By Tamara Harris, Cinque Zenith
(more articles from this author)
2004-09-24
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Artist: KRS-One
Title: Keep Right
Genre: Hip Hop
Label: Grit Records, www.gritrecords.com
Website: www.krs-one.co

KRS-Ones 13th album promulgates his passion for hip-hop in music that is sobering (hence the title), yet carries the hallucinogens of East Coast hip-hop at the same time.

Keep Right flexes its brawny discourse of trenchant critiques on life and hip-hop with hot rhymes, prayers and production values steeped in the Old School. "You Gon Go" cherishes the early days of club and park jams for authentically shaping true MCs. A syncopated horn and blurred lines of turntable scratching give off a Dizzy Gillespie type jazz tied to casual beats. The woozy combination of Curtis Mayfield strings, turntable scratching, and guitar picking form a Black kaleidoscope of Psychedelic soul when the blastmaster spits on "Everybody Rise."

These types of sounds pillow the ear in a natural musical intoxication. "My Mind Is Racing" creates a similar feeling in its suspense film brass, rhythm and keyboard crescendos. R and B singer Joe makes a guest appearance on the somber "Stop Skeeming," which arrests the listener into alertness by KRS's story about a friend committing murder over a Frankie Beverly-sounding sample of "Happy Feeling."

Rather than a whole part of the song, KRS's voice is produced in front of the music to reach into the minds of his audience. This urgency falls heavily in his regal Jamaican remake of "Illegal Business." Staccato notes from a synthesizer posing as a horn bring back the memories of Shabba Ranks's earlier hits. MCs who didn't get their business together independently are clowned on the humorous horn punched "Phucked."

Gritty and uplifting, Keep Right does nothing wrong in the way of hip-hop music.


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