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Meaning of the song ‘My Philosophy’ by ‘Boogie Down Productions’

Released: 1988

Stepping onto the scene with an intellectual swagger and unadulterated audacity, Boogie Down Productions’ “My Philosophy” is an anthem of defiance, educating listeners while asserting hip-hop’s ability to uplift and critique. Using razor-sharp lyrics, KRS-One gives a masterclass on his vision of hip-hop, challenging assumptions and taking a stand against commercialization and stereotyping in the industry.

The opening lines set the tone, promising the listener a deep dive into KRS-One’s mindset, a deconstruction of the complex game of life and the hip-hop industry. KRS-One makes it clear that he’s not just another rapper – he’s the “guy to lead a crew”, armed with knowledge and confidence, ready to “dis” anyone who doesn’t respect the true essence of hip-hop.

KRS-One calls out posers, insisting you “got to have style and learn to be original”. He champions his roots in South Bronx, crafting a narrative that stands up against the commercial rappers betraying their heritage for profit.

As the track progresses, he shifts focus to dismantle racist stereotypes often associated with black culture. Watermelon, chicken, and broken English are dismissed outright, emphasizing that these stereotype reinforcements are detrimental to the culture’s growth. KRS-One is more interested in spitting facts than contributing to societal clichés.

The hook “It’s my philosophy on the industry” reinforces his disdain for the industry’s commercial side, emphasizing that it thrives on selling watered-down content that “lacks creativity and intelligence”.

Veering into broader socio-cultural realms, KRS-One equates the consumption of meat to suicide, subtly alluding to the unethical treatment of animals and the health issues associated with such dietary habits. Here, he’s using his platform to make a bold statement on societal norms beyond just music.

The lyrics “Teachers teach and do the world good / Kings just rule and most are never understood” essentially serve as BDP’s tagline. The group has always been about enlightening the masses, using their music to make astute observations about society, rather than simply blending into the mainstream.

The closing lines showcase KRS-One’s bravado and firm belief in his role as a transformative figure in hip-hop. He warns those who aim to usurp his position, confidently claiming that their efforts are futile. This isn’t just lyrical flexing; it’s a declaration that the knowledge he imparts, his authenticity, and his dedication to hip-hop will outshine any superficial flashiness the industry throws at him.

In essence, “My Philosophy” is a testament to Boogie Down Productions’ iconoclastic spirit, an unapologetic treatise on the true essence of hip-hop. It’s a song that embodies the intelligence, defiance, and authenticity that define the genre at its best.

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