Back from being underwater swimming with the honu and hanging with fam far away from all the madness.
Just closing up the loop begun last week on KRS-One and Can't Stop Won't Stop.
Here's an interview published last week where KRS-One outlines his problems with my book generally and particularly with the section I did on "Stop The Violence". I'll leave it to yall to read my argument in the book and KRS's argument and determine what you think.
Most debates are good debates. They reflect people taking this shit seriously, which is the most important thing at the end of the day.
Listen. Lots of folks act like Can't Stop Won't Stop is it. Like, you read it and it's done. Don't need to know nothing else. But that was never my intention.
That's why I've always been insistent on being humble about my own contribution to hip-hop scholarship. People think it's cute or just Asian of me to deflect praise sometimes. It's not an act. I recognize the fact that people sometimes place a burden on this book that I just don't want.
Can't Stop Won't Stop was and is never meant to be the last word on anything. It's meant to be a small contribution to the larger wave of thinking about the hip-hop generation (not just rap music).
If it's the first word for some of yall, that's great--now go on and get you some more. Lots more. One perspective--even if, like mine, it's filtered through hundreds of other people's perspectives--is never enough.
KRS's criticism is on point in one sense: I wasn't able to speak to everyone I wanted to--Grandmaster Caz and the Cold Crush were at the top of the list, as well as many other b-boys, b-girls, graf writers and other pioneers, especially women pioneers.
Should I have waited to do so before releasing the book? In the best of all possible worlds, yes. Could I have waited to do so? For many personal reasons that you will never know...No.
Luckily some of the information that KRS cites is lacking in CSWS (and lots more that is just as crucial) is already out there. Let's big up Jim Fricke and Charlie Ahearn's Yes Yes Y'All: The Experience Music Project Oral History of Hip-Hop's First Decade and Cristina Veran's essay in Hip Hop Divas as just two of the major undersung contributions to the field, not to mention Steven Hager's Adventures in the Counterculture: From Hip Hop to High Times (originally printed in a now stupidly expensive, out-of-print paperback called Hip Hop: The Illustrated History of Break Dancing, Rap Music, and Graffiti).
(BTW that piece he says about H. Rap is on point too--it's all there in CSWS, just not as explicit as he lays it out in the interview. In fact, you can check p. 186 to see how Whipper Whip flipped the script.)
But the bottom line--not to sound redundant, because this is all in the CSWS Prelude, and it undergirds the entire Total Chaos project as well--is that if we all take this as seriously as we should, there ought to be many many other perspectives other than mine under consideration. Period.
If there's gonna be disagreement and arguing about this one is better than that, hey that's human.
I respect KRS's perspective a lot--and he shaped this book and my thinking more than he may ever know, just check the essay I did on BDP for Classic Material: The Hip-Hop Album Guide. Nothing more need be said.
I did say I got a strong enough ego to try to step on. And in the end, it ain't about me, it's all about building this...
Holla if you like, KRS.
UPDATE 6/24 :: Another interview with KRS from Robbie Ettelson can be found here. When KRS refers to me working at Def Jam, he's probably meaning 360hiphop.com. I noticed I've been getting another wave of emails about this and a bunch of new commenters coming through. I guess it's because there's been another wave of links to this page. It's a little strange to be hosting a debate on your own book in your personal blog, but hey! That's hip-hop. Step in the cipher. Take your knocks. Move on.
Labels: can't stop won't stop, hip-hop not dead, krs-one