Criminal Minded – Album review

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Criminal Minded (1987)

Criminal Minded, as its title already suggests, is an album that tackles the streetwise tales involving criminal acts–drugs, prostitution, and violence. Not limited to that, it also discusses the role of their motherland to early hip hop history. Released on March 3, 1987 under the label B-Boy Records and produced by Scott La Rock, KRS-One, and Ced-Gee, Criminal Minded is the debut album of Boogie Down Productions–a hip hop group that was originally composed of KRS-One, D-Nice, and Scott La Rock.

KRS-One–real name Lawrence “Krisna” Parker and is also known as his other stage name, Teacha–is an American rapper from the Bronx, New York who rose to prominence as part of Boogie Down Productions together with Scott La Rock. Scott La Rock–real name Scott Monroe Sterling–was an American hip hop disc jockey (DJ), who died just months after Criminal Minded was released (August 27, 1987).

A lot of hip hop songs take the road of story-telling, but it is very hard to capture the right flow and transition in it. Criminal Minded has captured that. “9mm Goes Bang” is the best example in the album, circulating in KRS-One’s gun encounters with different characters and situations, it is easily a standout in that aspect. Another aspect in hip hop is what we call “diss tracks”, which may solely or just slightly be about a person, a group, a movement, or anything you want to throw hate towards really. “The Bridge is Over” is one of the diss tracks in Criminal Minded. Targeting those from Queens, this ignited a rivalry with emcees who are from there, namely MC Shan and the Juice Crew. Diss tracks are an effective way to up the hype of any album you release back in the day, as it begs for a reply from the one it is being directed at. It’s a good strategy to gather spectators in on the word war, reeling in more listeners. This still applies today but is not as exciting as before, because you know it’s just for publicity. Very rarely does it happen due to “real beef” anymore.

With tracks averaging to 5 minutes, all with real content, meaningful messages, and lessons from their experiences structured into hard-hitting bars and laid upon tasteful beats, Criminal Minded is an album that every hip hop head should bop to.

  1. Track listing:
  2. Poetry
  3. South Bronx
  4. 9mm Goes Bang
  5. Word From Our Sponsor
  6. Elementary
  7. Dope Beat
  8. Remix for P is Free
  9. The Bridge is Over
  10. Super-Hoe
  11. Criminal Minded

Article by Riz

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