Wednesday, June 17, 2009

You’ve Been Blinded

Doing my occasional rounds of browsing the web and e-window shopping, I came across an item which struck a chord with me. Apparently a while back, B-Boy Records deemed it wise to re-release Boogie Down Production’s landmark album Criminal Minded in the format of a USB flash drive. Selling for about twenty bucks, the flash drive features a whopping 1 GB of space, and includes the album, artwork, liner notes, and a selection of 12” cuts, rarities, remixes and unreleased tracks. Now I’ve got some issues with this whole scenario, and I’ll tell you why. First of all, strictly from a geek’s perspective, let’s start off by saying that trading a Jackson bill for 1 GB of storage is akin to weak-arm robbery. Simply not worth it. To top it all off, the flash drive looks like a gun:

Why is this so offensive and just plain wrong? Well, let’s think back for a moment. KRS-One’s partner, Scott La Rock, was gunned down in 1987 at the age of just 25 years old. The tragic loss came at a time when KRS and Scott – who had just released Criminal Minded – were at their apex, laying their claim to fame in the realm of hip hop. Though KRS would continue to record under the handle of Boogie Down Productions, La Rock’s passing dealt a severe blow to the excellent dynamic formed by the duo. The incident sparked the establishment of the Stop the Violence Movement, formed by KRS-One in 1988 as a direct response to violence. Flash forward nearly twenty years after Scott La Rock’s death and KRS-One’s son, Randy Hubbard Parker, committed suicide due to depression. The cause of death? A gunshot wound to the head.

Violence and gun laws are no laughing matter. Hip hop fans should know this quite well, given the countless emcees whose mics were robbed by a bullet. But if there’s anyone who understands the agony of gun violence, it’s KRS-One. Granted, on more than one occasion KRS-One was seen on his album covers toting a handgun. But KRS-One is reputable – and always has been – for his strong stances, promoting education and a mind-over-muscle mentality.

And now, B-Boy Records, a label which infamously dicked Kris and Scott out of royalties, has come back to drop a product which is scornfully insulting to everything KRS-One and the legacy of Boogie Down Productions stands for. We always talk about how greedy and frivolous the RIAA-backed major labels are, but the indies such as B-Boy Records are notably just as sheisty. I haven’t done enough research – nor do I plan on doing so – on when this 1 GB mockery was crafted and released. Odds are my two cents on this item are probably outdated. All I know is that as soon as I saw it, as I said before, it struck a chord with me. With all that being said, I guess this puts a whole new spin on a line by KRS-One from Criminal Minded’s title track: “Is it real or is it Memorex?” I know one thing’s for certain: I’m quite happy with my mini-army of Western Digital Passport Elites and my super-portable SanDisk Cruzer Micro. “I’ll see you folks around the way…”


  1. Imagine being the kid who whips out this flash drive at a computer lab and people freak out thinking its a small gun... dude can get tasered for that.

    That was definitely insulting for all the points you mentioned in your post... but I think its insulting to the techie crowd too...if we know how to use a flash drive...whats stopping us from downloading all that material anyway?!? Just my 2 cents.

    Long Live Wakiki Olajuwan.

  2. i think it's kind of a cool flash drive but agree with you man. It's crazy fugged up and thoughtless to shape it like a pistola...

  3. Great post. I bet a lot of people don't think about this kind of stuff and would run out to buy it because it looks cool and is a cool concept.

    Thanks for reminding us all what is wrong about this entire re-release.

  4. Wow, Ivan. This is horrible. Especially to the honor of KRS-ONE's name. Does HE even know about it?!

  5. I would assume he knows about it. And I would assume he can't pleased.

  6. They were probably just re-packaging the album based on the name Criminal Minded for a younger crowd that doesn't know the back story. Also, 21 years is a long time, so they figure the target audience wouldn't remember.

    Makes you wonder what the 25th anniversary edition of Ready to Die is gonna look like.

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