Criminal Minded ‘08

Krs-One has been shining on deals with Nike and Smirnoff recently. Here’s some quick background on why he doesn’t consider it selling out. By the way, Criminal Minded ’08 is an exceptional track. I feel like it’s not getting talked about enough. Link So how do you think the hip-hop business model is changing?

KRS-ONE: Today, artists like myself or Chuck D or Talib Kweli hold a degree of credibility that’s attracting companies like Red Bull, Cadillac, or Nike. Executives at these companies are our fans. And they are really sick of the state of music. So what they’ve done is spend $250,000 of their own money, in the case of Nike, to create a song with Kanye West, Nas, Rakim, and KRS ONE. We don’t rap about the shoes because they don’t want us talking about that. They just want us to create a song they can play on their website. Authenticity is the new business model and these companies need a product that’s not destroyed by an artist’s shady image. But won’t some old-school hip-hop fans say you’re selling out?

KRS-ONE: When you get KRS ONE, I’m not changing my message for nobody. If you do business with KRS, you’re getting anti-war statements, you’re getting stuff about the Temple of Hip Hop. A sellout is someone who buys you and changes your message, but we’re not doing that.