KRS-One & Buckshot
Duck Down Artists
KRS-One & Buckshot
About KRS-One & Buckshot
After making their indelible marks on the game luminaries KRS-One and Buckshot, arguably two of the games most prolific emcees, linked up to give fans a collaborative album entitled 'Survival Skills.' The project was released on Duck Down Music Inc. on September 15th, 2009 while the duo touring on The Rock The Bells tour. With guests ranging from Mary J. Blige, Slug of Atmosphere, K’NAAN, Talib Kweli, Immortal Technique, Melanie Fiona, Naledge of Kidz In The Hall, Sean Price, Geo of Blue Scholars, Smif N Wessun and Rock of Heltah Skeltah, “Survival Skills” represents a diverse range of topics, all while maintaining a consistent sound. It also features production from Havoc of Mobb Deep, 9th Wonder, Black Milk, !llmind, Coptic, Moss, Nottz, Marco Polo, and Khrysis.
On the surface the album is a testament to the resiliency of two lyrical titans, but at its root Survival Skills is a blueprint for life. For instance on the infectious head-nodder “Robot,” which was released 6 weeks prior to Jay Z’s “The Death Of Auto Tune” track, and already available World Wide at Digital Retail Shops, such as iTunes, the duo speak-out against the recent overuse of the Auto-Tune vocal effect in urban music, but under the surface the message is much deeper. “I don’t want people to get the averaged clichéd version and thinking that we’re dissing people,’” Buckshot clarifies. “What we’re calling out here is the biters, the people that feel like because this guy sold X amount of records doing this, that I’m going to turn around and do it as well,” KRS says of the array of artists who have followed in the creative footsteps of Roger Troutman, Afrikka Bambatta, Teddy Riley and T-Pain. Despite its heavy message, sonically the track, produced by Mobb Deep’s Havoc, is as inviting as anything on the radio today. The single “Robot” also featured a strong visuals directed by Todd Angkaswan. The track has been included in the sound track for Activision’s upcoming Tony Hawk skate game.
KRS-One and Buckshot are the epitome of rap longevity and relevancy. After making his 1987 debut with Boogie Down Productions on the seminal rap classic 'Criminal Minded', KRS-One instantly became an icon going on to release a gang of essential works including 1988’s 'By All Means Necessary' and 1993’s 'Return of the Boom Bap.' Similarly when Buckshot came into the game in 1993 with 'Enta Da Stage' as Black Moon’s front man, fans instantly took notice. And the party never stopped, KRS-One’s 2007 collaborative album with producer Marly Marl 'Hip Hop Lives' was critically acclaimed and his work on “Classic,” the Kanye West, Nas and Rakim featured track celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Nike’s Air Force 1 shoe, earned the Teacher a Grammy nod. Buckshot has continued to churn-out some of the game’s most progressive projects as well, most notably his 9th Wonder-produced albums 'Chemistry' in 2005 and 'The Formula' in 2008. Couple those with the licensing deals which have landed Buck’s music on networks like ESPN and The History Channel, as well as an episode of CSI Las Vegas and it’s clear to see why the Boot Camp general has remained one of the game’s most influential.
“Ever since 1993 we’ve been passing each other on tour or in the studio saying, one day we should tour together, or one day we should do a record together,” says KRS of the long-awaited union. “Well finally myself and Buckshot have the chance to collaborate on a straight up and down MC’in project.” For all of their individual accomplishments, KRS-ONE and Buckshot remain fans of each other’s work; complementing each other’s strengthens. “That’s still KRS-One at the end of the day. I didn’t know how to rhyme back when I first started listening to Kris,” says Buck alluding to his partner’s dominant history. In turn, KRS gives all praises to the Black Moon front man. “I am the humble teacher on the track, Buckshot is clearly the man,” he says.
Still gritty tracks like “Clean Up,” featuring Rock of Heltah Skeltah and the politically minded “Running Away” featuring Immortal Technique, make Survival Skills a Hip-Hop fan’s dream, catering to those that love lyrics and the boom-bap. Equally as rich is the album’s Black Milk-produced track, “The Way I Live” featuring the Queen of hip-hop soul, Mary J. Blige. Together they create a triumphant anthem for all those on the grind trying to conquer their dreams. The song’s summery feel and soothing melodies make it an instant hit. Throughout, both veterans sound as hungry and invigorated as any of their rap counterparts. “Projects like these are projects that motivate me,” KRS says. “The idea to work with another MC that has his own persona and style and do a real collaboration in the studio, that’s motivation.
I already got 16 albums of my own,” he adds. What KRS-One and Buckshot have created is an album that is socially responsible, lyrically sharp and sonically banging. Buckshot sums it up best, “Hip-Hop was started as an option to not killing each other. We were in the ghettos and we were real fucked up. We created Hip-Hop so we didn’t have to do that anymore.” “The album is called Survival Skills, because that is what it takes.”