KRS-One has always been a socially conscious rapper, tackling different subjects throughout his career, most of which relate to problems that face many urban dwellers, especially black ones. But in Life, race is an issue he chooses not to tackle; in fact, he makes a point to mention that specifically. "I am hip-hop/I don't speak for blacks," he states in "Still Slippin'," understanding that his art has the ability to reach a large demographic (something he also addresses in "I'm on the Mic"). Instead, KRS-One speaks of problems that can and do afflict all people. "Everywhere across the nation more people are joining the homeless population," he states in "Mr. Percy," a song that discusses how easy it is to find yourself without a place to stay, despite your best efforts to work, save money, and improve your situation "with the state of the economy and the way that it is." In the electric guitar-driven "I Ain't Leavin'," KRS declares his "purpose is to inspire the poor" as he tries to explain their situation and sympathize with them. This is all delivered between lines about his own talent and dedication to hip-hop, ideas that, like on any true rap album, certainly aren't forgotten or ignored. But KRS-One has been writing rhymes for so long that this sort of thing doesn't seem trite or boastful. He talks about himself and the genre simultaneously, equating one with the other ("I am to hip-hop what flour is to pancakes"), which isn't actually uncalled for, being that he has been such a major figure in it, and it's a technique that keeps his lyrics pretty interesting. KRS-One has been around for a while, but his style has changed as the genre's progressed, and Life is an indication of this. It's not a perfect record, but the rhymes are pretty thoughtful, the beats are pretty good, the subject matter is pretty unique. Perhaps it can all be summed up best in a line from the closing song, "My Life" (originally stated in BDP's "I'm Still No. 1" : "You know what you need to learn?/Old-school artists don't always burn." If all of them are as talented as KRS-One is, that statement's absolutely true.
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AllMusic Review by Marisa Brown