Boasting Blastmaster KRS-1 as its executive producer, Civilization Vs. Technology is an all-star project that employs a who's who of late 1980s and early 1990s rappers from the East Coast. L.L. Cool J, Public Enemy leader Chuck D, Run-D.M.C., Queen Latifah, Big Daddy Kane, Salt-N-Pepa, MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, Kool Moe Dee, and KRS himself are among the MCs featured on this very socio-political album. With an overall message of black pride and black unity (without a lot of separatist rhetoric, thankfully), this release encourages the black family to stay together. Ironically, the album's emphasis on family mirrors, in some respects, the "family values" message that Dr. Laura Schlesinger and other GOP conservatives espoused in the 1990s -- although it's safe to say that few of the left-leaning participants would identify themselves as either conservatives or Republicans. Though hip-hop-oriented, the CD employs some major reggae artists, including Ziggy Marley and Shabba Ranks. Also, a prominent rocker, R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, is featured on the title song, which addresses environmental concerns. KRS' H.E.A.L. project (Human Education Against Lies) turned out to be more of a critical success than a commercial one. Civilization Vs. Technology enjoyed rave reviews in the hip-hop press, but in terms of sales, it hardly rivaled the million-selling gangsta rap releases of the early 1990s. KRS probably didn't find that surprising -- he has stated in interviews that while intelligence can sell, it doesn't sell as quickly or as easily as sex and violence. Although not as well-known as it should be, this is a CD that hip-hoppers should make a point of obtaining.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson
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