Filed under: In The Trenches,Interviews,Not Your Average,Steady Bootleggin'
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
KRS-One‘s younger brother and long time BDP producer/DJ Kenny Parker recently provided a first-person perspective of what happened at the PM Dawn bumrush from BDP‘s perspective:
Robbie: You guys must have felt like Prince Be deserved to get his ass kicked?
Kenny Parker: Actually, it didn’t start out that way. The plan wasn’t to attack Prince Be at all. The climate at that time…we had just finished doing the Sex & Violence album, and over the past year, year and a half before that, people had been taking little subliminal shots at Kris. No one came out like “KRS – you suck!”, nobody really came out like that.
Ice Cube had that little comment.
Yeah, that really started the whole thing, when Ice Cube said, “Some rappers are heaven sent/but Self Destruction don’t pay the fuckin’ rent!” That line kinda pissed Kris off. “Self Destruction” was his baby – the concept, gettin’ all the rappers together – the whole thing was his baby, and Ice Cube just came out and dissed. Later, Ice Cube came out and said he ain’t really mean it like Kris took it. I don’t really know what other way he coulda meant, but that’s what he said.
He might’ve just meant that positive records don’t sell. It’s hard to say though, in retrospect.
In retrospect, I’m gonna say “whatever” to his answer. He also said on his first album: “I’m not a rebel or a renegade or none of that crap, I’m a N-I-double-G-A”, and everyone knows Kris says “Rebel, renegade, must stay paid”. So you hear all stuff like that and you’re like “OK, this guys dissin'”, but Kris didn’t really…I remember him being a little pissed, but he didn’t really say “I’m gonna answer Ice Cube”…actually, you know what? That’s a lie. We started doing a song about, say, Ice Cube, a response to that, but we never finished it. It was one of those spur-of-the-moment things and then it was like “Ah, this is wack. You know what? Forget this”. Now moving along, then X-Clan made “Fire and Earth”.
Where they were talking about “We’re not down with the humanists”.
Yeah, and that’s around the same time that Kris was coming out with Human Education Against Lies, that was his new thing. “I’m a humanist” – that was his new stance, and X-Clan thought that he was a sell-out. So that little subliminal thing was going on too. Aight, cool. So dude’s are sayin’ their little somethin’, whatever. So Kris went and made “Build and Destroy”. That song was absolutely an answer to X-Clan. So then when Kris was doin’ a interview, he heard about PM Dawn. A writer say “So how do you feel about PM Dawn dissin’ you?” and he was like “I don’t know what you talking about”. The guy repeated what he said in the article, so Kris was like “Damn! Now I got a dude like PM Dawn tryin’ to diss me! And he said my name! What’s goin’ on? OK, now I’m gettin’ pissed off”.
So now that was the climate. It just so happens that maybe two weeks or a week after he heard this, I found this flyer at some party, and it was the MTV party. I think it was Leaders of the New School, Nice & Smooth, Supercat and PM Dawn, and I think somebody else was on the bill. And I came to Kris with the flyer, we were in the studio, and I said, “Yo, PM Dawn got this show!” So he was like “You know what? I’m gonna go there and I’m gonna challenge him right there on stage. I’mma throw on a couple of my records, hype up the crowd, them I’mma challenge him to battle me right there.” That was the initial mindset. “I’m gonna go up there, and I’m gonna be like ‘KRS One’s a teacher, a teacher of what?’ I’m gonna show you right now”, and that’s that. That was the initial mindset that we talked about – me, Kris and Willie D. The show was five days later, so we was like OK, some of us is gonna go down to the place and we was gonna meet a couple of other people, and we was gonna go in. So I think the initial people that went down there – Freddie Foxx was supposed to meet us, but he never showed up – it was me, it was Kris, it was Willie D, it was ICU, it was Just-Ice. I don’t remember if K-Def was there, but I know Larry-O was there – I’m gonna say both of ’em were there, but I’m sure Larry-O was there.
So we initially got there – there was, say, nine of us – initially went to the club. Now Kool Kim was sayin’ twenty dudes came on stage with all hoodies and black shirts on. It wasn’t even that organised, like we were all gonna wear the same clothes or whatever. We just hooked-up and we went. Kris actually had a hoody on that day, ’cause I remember he came in the club – we came in there early – and Kris doesn’t usually hang out in clubs unless he’s trying to get on and rock – so for him to just come to a club and hang-out was out of his norm. I remember he came there, we sat in the corner by the stage and he had a hood over his head and he was just chillin’. We chilled there for about two hours.
Was he wearing the hood so no one would recognize him?
Yeah, he was tryin’ to be on the low. We was just chillin’ there with the crowd, but you couldn’t really see him. But the stupidity was, I was just there chillin’! So people that knew me, they’d be looking to see Kris! [laughs] So it was really stupid, that was the stupidity. A couple of guys we knew were in there and they’re like “Yo Kris, what’s goin’ on?” and he’s like “Yo, PM Dawn tried to diss me! I’m gonna run-up on his set”, so they was like “OK, we’re down”. So now nine or ten became fifteen. Then we saw Naughty By Nature – Treach and ’em – and we was like “We’re gonna run-up on stage”, so of course Treach is down, and of course they was deep as hell, so now fifteen becomes twenty-five! I’m not gonna say Naughty was down with us to rush PM Dawn, but if Kris is like “Yo, I’m goin’ on stage, it’s about to happen”, then Treach is like “Whatever, I’m wit’chu”. That’s how I recall it, I don’t wanna put words in Treach’s mouth. And Latifah was there too.
So we had two plans. The first plan involved me – to get control of the DJ both. “By any means necessary – Kenny, you get control of the booth”. That was it, that was the only real plan we had. And Kris says “When I get the mic, you throw on “Still #1′”. So that was the plan. So I had a couple of guys with me, we went to the DJ booth around twenty minutes before PM Dawn was meant to go on. I had never even seen him, I didn’t even know he was in the place. Clark Kent was deejaying, so I went up there and I said to Clark: “In about ten minutes I’m gonna need the turntables for a second”, and he was kinda reluctant. I guess he thought like I was tryin’ to get on his set – like he was the DJ for the night and because it was a packed crowd, I just wanted to get on. He had a look like “C’mon man, I’m deejayin’ up here!” So I was like “Look, something’s about to happen, Kris is about to run on stage. I need to be set-up and I need to be ready.” He was like “Aight, cool”, and he wasn’t deejayin’ at that moment ’cause there was shows goin’ on. So we chilled. I think Leaders went on first, then there was a break and I’m like “Is PM Dawn goin’ on?” Then PM Dawn comes on stage and starts doin’ his show – and nothing happens! So I’m like “Aww man, Kris backed-out. He’s not gonna do it”. I remember I had “Still #1″ on a big acetate, ’cause there was no instrumental of “Still #1″ on wax. It’s really hard to cue-up those acetates – I had to keep checking to see if it was ready, ’cause you have to really move it to get it started. In my mind I’m like “Yo, this acetate is gettin’ on my nerves! What is Kris doin? Is he gonna do it? What’s goin’ on?”
Then all of a sudden, “Set Adrift On Memory Bliss” comes on, and PM Dawn starts doin’ his thing, and then you see Kris comin’ up – there was like a ramp comin’ up the stage – and you see people comin’ up the stage, so I start cuing up. Now let me say this – Kris actually never hit PM Dawn. I think that’s like a big misconception. The guy who actually did – I’m not gonna repeat his name – but there was one guy in our crew, his attitude was like “I’m wylin’ out!”. Right when we came in the club, he said to Kris “Whatever happens Kris, make sure you bail me out”, and we all started laughin’. So they rushed the stage, and PM Dawn’s music…he had a DJ up there, but the music wasn’t on his turntables – it was on a DAT – coming from somewhere else, maybe the side of the stage. So Kool Kim said he heard a “Rrrrrippp!” and the music go off – that’s not what happened, he wasn’t even on turntables! So that’s not true either. So this guy with us takes the record off the turntable and smashes it, but the music is still playin’. I guess whoever saw what was goin’ on stopped the DAT. PM Dawn had some girl dancers up there – this guy pushes one of the dancers into the crowd – hard! And I remember she tried to sue Kris a few months after that. While this guy’s doin’ this, Kris comes up. PM Dawn is not knowin’ what’s goin’ on – imagine, he’s in show mode and his music stops – and Kris grabs the microphone, so they both have it. Like a tug-of-war for a second, and then Kris pushes him and takes the microphone in his hand. Right at the same time, the guy who pushed the girl into the crowd punches PM Dawn in his face – POW! Then he punches him again – POW! In the face, twice. Then, if I recall, Just-Ice pushed him off [the stage] and Prince Be fell into the crowd. I don’t remember dudes jumping him and beating him up. The crowd in the front backed-up when he fell – you couldn’t really see what was goin’ on, it looked like a robbery. Then Kris has the mic and he goes “BDP is in the motherfuckin’ house!” and then everybody was like “Hooo!”, the whole crowd was like that, and right at that moment I threw on “Still #1″ [does the horn part]. It was over! People was jumping up and down and they was goin’ crazy and screamin’…it was like a riot!
Clark Kent turned to me and he said “Yo, that’s the greatest thing I ever seen in my life!” Where I’m at is across the room, upstairs on the second level, looking down. That’s how the DJ booth was set-up. When Clark Kent said that, I remember bending down to get “The Bridge Is Over” out of my bag, and when I came to cue it up, Clark Kent had already left the DJ booth, went downstairs and ran across the crowd to climb up on stage! I think Queen Latifah was on top of a speaker, just whylin’ out. Everybody was goin’ crazy. So I threw on “The Bridge Is Over”, and then Kris was – Kris was supposed to rhyme, too! If I threw on the song, he was supposed to do the rhyme! But it was just so wild that he never even rhymed! He was just goin’ “Jump! Jump!” and everybody was just goin’ crazy. All I remember him doin’ was “The Dawn is over, the Dawn is over!”, like that. I think the third record I threw on was “Duck Down”. That hadn’t even had a video or nuttin’, I think that was really new when I threw it on. Kris was just talkin’ shit. He was goin’ “What?! What?! Anybody that try to diss BDP! What?!” He wasn’t even rhymin’! I remember seeing T-Money, it was his party, and he was up up stage, jumping around. The stage was packed now! The wack part was that later on, when all the flack came, T-Money was like “Ahh, man, that was bullshit. Kris messed-up my party!” I knew that he worked for MTV at the time, but I thought that was bullshit that he said that, ’cause I saw him goin’ crazy on stage.
So out of the corner of my eye, I saw security come rushing in, onto the left side, but then when they saw it was Kris and they saw it was like a party-like atmosphere, they just stopped – they was just looking. I guess they thought something happened, but when they ran in it was like a show, almost. Now Kool Kim said that PM Dawn was rocking the party? Let me set the scene for you real quick – this is a party with LONS, Nice & Smooth and Supercat – now a party that those people would be rocking…PM Dawn wouldn’t rock in that setting. His record might’ve been number one in the country at that moment, but in that setting I don’t think he was rocking. What happened was, there was a lot of record company people there from Island. When he came out, they was clapping. His people were clapping, but it wasn’t like the whole crowd was lovin’ him ’cause it wasn’t that type of crowd. Actually, Clark Kent was playing some new Das-EFX stuff on a reel-to-reel. When I went up to the booth I asked him what he was playin’, and he said, “This is my group, Das-EFX”. It wasn’t “They Want EFX”, it was somethin’ else, actually I think it was somethin’ that wasn’t on the album. So in a place where you’re playin’ Das-EFX reel-to-reels and Leaders of the New School is performing, I just don’t see PM Dawn ripping like Kool Kim said. I saw a handful of people that looked like record company reps there that was rockin’, but there was like a thousand people there! It wasn’t all those people rocking to PM Dawn. I’m gonna say “No” to that.
After all this happens, Kris rushes out. Kris is gone. He told his wife “When I go up on stage, bring the car ’round, so as soon as I leave out the building I can jump in the car”. But somehow she didn’t leave off the stage until after he was already rocking, so she was late bringing the car ’round. So when I came outside it was just me and another guy. She was all upset, goin’ “Where’s Kris?” and I’m goin’ “I don’t know, he was supposed to be with you!” So she was like “You gotta go back in there and look for him”. The crowd was so wild that they started fighting amongst themselves – that part that Kool Kim said was true – they was so wild, it looked like you could throw raw meat out there. They were so savage…like somehow they just turned on each other and started fighting! When she said “Go back in” I was like “Go back in? Oh my god!” So I go back in the party, it’s a mess. There’s no more music, it was like a riot to me. I saw the Awesome Two – Teddy Ted and Special K – and they looked at me and they was like “Yo, are you alright?” and I’m like “Yeah, I’m fine! I’m cool!”
After that, I didn’t see Kris, I left and we went back to a meeting spot where we were always gonna meet-up, on Christopher Street somewhere, in the Village where he used to live. When I got there, he was outside talkin’ to Just-Ice and they was all laughing. So we got in the car and we went to his house in Jersey. It was just me and him after this whole thing, and we was up half the night, just talkin’ about it. It was like ‘Can you believe how wild it got?” It wasn’t even supposed to be that, but it just became that. I think it was just a classic case of “entourage gone wild”. [laughs] Ultimately, Kris is responsible because it is his people, and he is the absolute leader. Everybody follows what he says and does, in our crew at that time. But they just blacked-out. When they just got up there and started, they was just outta control. They just took it upon themselves. I’m not tryin’ to defend Kris, but he actually didn’t hit him! Kool Kim said he took the microphone and was hittin’ him on the head and you could hear it through the speakers – that’s bullshit. That absolutely did not happen. He just had the mic in his hand. the people that was really involved was KRS, Just-Ice, maybe ICU and this other guy. Those four guys were absolutely involved, and everybody else was just up there.
Boogie Down Productions – The Kenny Parker Show [Edutainment, Jive, 1990]
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