krs one teaching false hip hop history

Why Is KRS One Teaching A False Hip Hop History?

For years BDP legend and hip hop scholar, KRS One has been hailed as a paragon of truth and knowledge for everything related to hip hop culture. But could the “teacha” actually be preaching a false doctrine? According to some original Black Spades members and Bronxdale residents he is.

A series of video interviews has emerged debunking the history taught by KRS at the numerous lectures he gives around the world. The clips feature many prominent original Black Spades members who address many of the misconceptions that have been widely accepted as historical fact, such as Grandmaster Flash inventing the cross fader and Afrika Bambaataa founding the Black Spades, as well as being the primary reason behind a city wide gang truce around 1974.

“I’ve heard KRS’s thing, it’s bullshit. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Here’s the thing, what I have seen. People want to romanticize and glamorize the origins of what came to be hip hop….Number one, and I need to say this very clearly. Bambaataa, whom I’ve known for over 40 years, has never, ever, ever, ever…..ever, made the claim that he stopped the gangs in New York city. He has never, you know, made the claim that he told the gangs to put they guns down. He has never made that claim”

Cholly Rock – Baby Spades, Zulu Kings 1974-1977 

When asked about KRS One’s claim that Grandmaster Flash invented the cross fader, original Spades DJ Kool Dee looked bemused, commenting that it was simply not possible. Cholly Rock was also asked the same question and his response was that KRS didn’t know what he was talking about and that cross faders were already in use before Flash came along.

“Nah, he didn’t make that. I don’t think he ever made a mixer. No that’s not possible. Matter of fact, Flash played on this (GLI Disco 3800) in Nell Gwen’s before he became big time. He didn’t invent this, no way”

 Kool DJ Dee – Bronxdale 1st Division

When Soundview resident and original Spades member, Mike Watts was asked if it was true that Afrika Bambaataa was the founding father and leader of the Black Spades, he snapped at the suggestion.

“He (Bambaataa) was never the leader of the Spades. He wasn’t even a Spade when he started…….. he was a Savage Nomad, then became a Spade. Bambaataa never started shit. Bambaataa may have started the Zulu Nation, but he didn’t start no f****n Spades”

Mike Watts – Black Spades 1st Division

The same sentiments were echoed by another Bronx OG, only this time in a more blunt and direct way.

“Yo let me set the record straight. He was the founder of a ……….f***k that fat bastard! He’s a lying ass. Yo I’m gonna cut off now please, because I’m upset, I’m truly upset man. Because everything I read is falsly documented and it’s wrong”

Michael “Fat Mike” Wayne – Founding member Savage 7/Original Black Spades

There’s no denying the fabricated version of hip hop history currently being presented as fact. But is KRS deliberately trying to mislead people or is he simply romanticizing the facts? Drop a comment


12 thoughts on “Why Is KRS One Teaching A False Hip Hop History?”

  1. I have heard this about KRS for a while and as much as I love KRS music I think these Cats are speaking the truth. Remember KRS-ONE wasn’t even from the Bronx. He was born and raised in Brooklyn but as a 17 yr old went to a shelter in the South Bronx where Scott a well known DJ, Put him on.
    I know a few of these cats in this article and I have always heard a lot of VERY negative things about Bambata that I would never repeat because I can’t confirm or deny. I hope they’re not true.
    GREAT Writing though.

  2. His audience isn’t always a bunch of avid hip hop heads though is it? Flash did ‘invent’ his own solution on his mixer to the ‘headphone cueing’ system though but how many regular people can relate to what a cuing system is. If he kept it 100 100 he probably wouldn’t get booked and payed for his talks.

    Thats what I think. He sounds a bit silly in those two talks but he’s done so so many talks and some are real powerful talks. He’s human so he’s going to make mistakes and say some bs.

    What he’s describing when he’s talking about the ‘crossfader’ that flash invented actually is what the headphone cue does. How could a toggle ‘switch’ ever be a fader? Its a switch…its either off or on, it would make a crap fader

  3. Can’t dispute the truth,These people speaking were there,they would know. I don’t think KRS is the origin of a lot of these things he’s saying,I’ve heard them said in various other formats. I know the thing about Bambaata starting the Black Spades is false. I can’t pretend to know KRS’s reasoning behind saying these things if they’ve been proven as false but it dosen’t deter my overall respect for him as a person and a scholar. He was the one that opened my eyes and mind to a lot of the tricknology perpetuated by the system when I was young so he’s a hero of mine regardless. Still,he might wanna correct himself on these particular facts.

  4. Don’t want to take anything away from the man. His contribution to hip hop IS immeasurable. But if KRS is going to stand as the elected figure-head of hip hop culture and publish a book with such an authoritative title as “The gospel of Hip Hop,” then his word has to be infallible. Anything less and he is nothing more than a fraudulent scribe.

  5. The history of Bam as it relates to the Black Spades and the culture’s founding was told ad nauseum BEFORE it was published in GoHH and these guys never rushed to refute it…

    Why now?

  6. That’s a great question. I can only guess as to why that might be. All of the original Black Spades members who are still alive are old now, (older than Bam), and they don’t strike me as being people who keep themselves up to date with developments going on in the world of hip hop. It’s possible that they were simply unaware of how things had been “officially” documented. If you watch the reactions of Fat Mike and Mike Watts you can clearly see that they are genuinely surprised by what they were being told during the interview.

  7. One thing to consider here and that is facts. Who better to document this than the people who were actually there. No conspiracy, disrespect or personal attack required. The truth speaks for itself, it’s that simple. Krs is the man and his contributions to hip hop culture are not in question here. I will say this though, the blast master has been contradicting himself for some time so I’d say he was more than capable of bending the truth.

  8. I think it’s important to say that this article was in no way intended to discredit KRS or Bam. I have nothing but love and respect for both men and have always, and will always be a fan. My intention was simply to spark an interesting debate and sometimes controversy is a more powerful motivator for people to actually go and research shit. Interestingly and with almost freakish timing, KRS, Bambaataa and Crazy Legs released this short video addressing concerns raised by many people about the way hip hops “offcial” history has been documented, and also inviting everyone who was involved in the culture from the beginning to come and have their say in an open platform. I applaud KRS and Bam for doing this and for their continuing efforts in unifying the people. #Zulute

  9. What you’ve done with this article is simply called journalistic integrity. That’s what credible writers do. It’s what separates journalists from hack bloggers that pollute the internet. The truth is often a bitter pill to swallow but it cannot be disputed. Your sources are clearly here for all to see. People will naturally feel a bit “salty” when it comes to figures that are held with such high regard. Can’t be mad at the messenger though. Good job.

  10. For what it’s worth: Tupac gets a pass for claiming the west coast when he clearly has roots in the east. Not sure claiming the BX at age 17 when/if ppl that cared about you resided there is something to bicker about.

    As important as the history is there is no one to blame but those who know the history and sit silent. KRS is doing the community a service by continuing to promote hip hop culture. Have to respect that. Let me know when he claims he created it… Then you can complain.

  11. Krs is telling his story and his experiences with the spades from the outside looking in. So what he saw is what he saw but his reality and spades reality were different for that fact. This is picking snippets of negative comments like any other media outlet. And definitely not all responses. I seen the original video

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