Amongst hip-hop fans, Boogie Down Productions’ first two albums – Criminal Minded (1987) and By All Means Necessary (1988) – both loom very large. And for good reason: they both captured one of the late 1980s’ most important and influential crews at their highest powers of lyricism and musical invention.
That being said, too many people sleep on BDP’s third LP, Ghetto Music. Released in 1989, when the hip-hop world was truly beginning to explode and reach new heights of sales and exposure around the world, the album is arguably as powerful as the group’s first two.
As on By All Means Necessary, in the wake of the tragic death of original founder, producer and DJ Scott LaRock, KRS-One pushed along mightily on the production side, with help from his extended crew. Musically the sound created on albums 2 & 3 was funky, catchy, and continually innovative, giving him the perfect backdrop to build his “Edutainment” syllabus.
Lyrically there was never a question about KRS’ power, and on Ghetto Music he continues to impress, teach and ask important questions. Clear cases in point are two of the album’s singles, “You Must Learn” and “Why Is That?” but he gets even deeper on lesser-jocked tracks like the anti-police thought-piece “Who Protects Us From You” (still sadly relevant in 2017), “Ghetto Music” and “World Peace.”
Still as strong and entertaining today as it was almost three decades ago, this new reissue is a perfect way for younger fans to embrace one of the most underrated hip-hop platters of the era.
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