The Mix Tape
Record label: Koch/In The Paint
Format: CD
Release date: 27 August 2002

At this point in the game, KRS-ONE is a “conscious” rapper without apology. Some (perhaps even most) rap fans consider him preachy, a downer in the face of the glitz, glamour and bounce of top 40 rap artists. But, as he’s stated countless times before, he’s concerned with more than rap music. Kris cares about the whole of hip-hop culture, which includes its history and longevity. These topics and more are covered within a brief period of time on The Mix Tape, a mini-album that clocks in at about 25 minutes in length. “Ova Here” introduces a bit of drama that I wasn’t aware of - it’s a dis cut against Nelly. Referring to him affectionately as “house nigga rapper,” Kris is out to separate the real from the fakes (and not even feeling the need to rhyme at his full potential while doing so, which only adds verbal insult to injury). On “Things Is About To Change,” he stresses the need for lyricism with staying power: “You can’t see / they’re gonna judge our poetry / in 2023 / where will your money be?” “Down The Charts” is the best of them all, chronicling the descent from popularity to obscurity in terms of one’s place on the hit charts (“when you drop to 25, at the bottom you arrive / when you drop to 26, you’re in the old school mix”), only to discover that integrity can be found towards the bottom. Admittedly, the beats leave something to be desired, but ultimately that’s not what we’re here for. Anyone that doesn’t recognize that prior to listening will be sorely disappointed. This mini-LP has been designed to hold us until next year when the new album drops. Ready for the title? KRISTYLE. Like one of the shout outs on The Mix Tape says, “Prophets versus profits: pick your side, y’all…”

{downtempo don}

RealAudio samples:
Ova Here ||| Things Is About To Change ||| Splash ||| Down The Charts

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