Ice Cube told Kevin Smith that KRS was the first rapper anyone heard do so many voices and styles and approaches.
A multidimensional performer.
In an era when everyone was focused on not biting (ex. sounding like someone else), KRS gave 1,2,3,4,5 (?!) styles he dared others to even try to mimic.
Which was empowering. Why just have one tone or approach, when you could have many?
Today, we hear Kendrick do it all of the time. But in the 80s and 90s, KRS owned it.
It’s amazing when we take whatever we’re working on and start to spin it in new directions. We can reach all new corners of our audience or even expand it. Here are a handful of fun KRS styles from off the top of my head.
In no particular order –
Park jam shouting + a new level of vocal inflection (the loud/soft) in “You Must Learn” (the stretching of the word “learn” is actually an important thing too):
The (non-r&b/polished) singing of the hook, with a hint of the Jamaican influence
And the complete style twisted street fight from the first record, “9mm Goes Bang”
And because I already hinted at it…by the 90s, here’s how he was mashing it ALL together, including with the samples and combinations:
Kev and Cube, part I is here. Extra touching conversation because Kevin Smith shows his genuine love for Ice Cube’s catalogue from when he was growing/coming up and I bet a lot of people wouldn’t know it. Plus, HOW ADORABLE IS THIS VIDEO THUMBNAIL?!