HIP-HOPSpiritual Minded

Rap pioneer KRS-One has traveled a long way since he and DJ Scott La Rock laid down the facts of inner-city street life on 1987's Criminal Minded.

Rap pioneer KRS-One has traveled a long way since he and DJ Scott La Rock laid down the facts of inner-city street life on 1987's Criminal Minded. The rapper, who in recent years served as a Reprise/Warner Bros. A&R executive, has discoursed on everything from irresponsible sex to artists' rights. Taking his teachings to another level ("I'm a teacher like the reefer, going straight to your head"), KRS-One is now traveling down the holy hip-hop trail. With such gospel disciples in tow as B.B. Jay and T-Bone, the rapper's still-pointed messages ("Iced out and rocked up, what's the point if you're getting locked up?") are grounded in spiritual principles supplemented by scriptural references and laid against a backdrop of hip-hop, jazz, and Latin-inflected beats. Best of the lot includes "Trust," "God Is Spirit," and "Never Give Up." Many PDs will probably shy away from this, but they shouldn't. Everyone needs inspiration every now and again.—GM