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February is African American Heritage Month and WERS AT NIGHT is honoring one artist or one song every day this month that helped contribute to social consciousness, political responsibility, or civil rights. At WERS, we believe that these songs are always bigger than just entertainment; music can be used to drive a movement or even motivate a nation.
Today we are honoring KRS-One’s “Self-Destruction.”
KRS-One has been a constant and influential presence in hip hop since the late 80’s. He released five albums with Boogie Down Productions, went on to release another 11 solo albums. A constant theme in KRS-One’s music has been non-violence, both among the black community and the world at large.
In 1988, KRS-One’s fellow member of Boogie Down Productions, Scott La Rock, was shot to death. Soon after, during a concert featuring Boogie Down Productions and Public Enemy, a fan was killed during a fight. In response, KRS created the Stop the Violence Movement, in order to address violence in the black and rap communities. Out of this movement came the 1989 song Self Destruction, featuring other east coast artists Stetsasonic, Kool Moe Dee, MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, Just-Ice, Heavy D, Chuck D, and Flavor Flav. The song addressed and pled for an end to black-on-black violence. Proceeds from the song and its accompanying video went to the National Urban League.