Veteran Rappers: Do You Really Need to Continue Making New Records?

There was a time, back in the late '80s, when the legendary Bronx rapper KRS-One was a candidate for the title of Greatest Rapper of All Time. Twenty-five years later, though, the self-anointed Blastmaster's latest long-player, The B.D.P. Album, suggests that compulsory retirement from the recording arena after 10 years in the rap game would be a good thing. At the very least, putting a cap on an artist's album count would stop some of the music's icons from continuing to release projects that make them come off like the genre's outdated uncles.

KRS-One still puts on one of the few vital live hip-hop experiences: His voice is commanding, his rap recitation skills are still sharp, and as long as he sticks to his hits — whether those recorded with his Boogie Down Productions crew or his early solo work — he delivers a rousing set. (He had been scheduled to preach his righteous rap gospel tonight at the Red Devil Lounge, but the show appears to have been canceled.) When KRS-One airs out his anthems, it's like experiencing a journey through the golden era: “Criminal Minded,” “South Bronx,” “The Bridge Is Over,” “My Philosophy,” “Jack Of Spades,” “Duck Down,” Sound Of Da Police.” But since his solo albums started to get sloppy — 1997's I Got Next being the start of the descent — he's released music that largely sullies his legacy. And he's far from alone.

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