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Sound of Da Police

Sound of Da Police


by KRS-One


One of KRS-One's musical signatures is his integration of Caribbean/Jamaican sounds into his hardcore rap style. Raised in Brooklyn by a Jamaican mother and then transplanted to the Bronx as a homeless youth, KRS often raps in a Jamaican accent. In "Sound of Da Police," both his (semi put-on) accent and his Caribbean musical inspirations come through. As hip-hop scholar Wayne Marshall observes, Boogie Down Productions played a significant role in the popularization of a distinctly Caribbean sound within hip-hop. Although hip-hop had gotten its start in the Bronx among a mixture of African-American youth including a significant West Indian population, the Jamaican/reggae sound was not yet "cool" in the mid-1970s (partially due to anti-immigrant sentiments even within the black community). "That BDP's expression could at once be so Bronx and hip-hop, and yet so Jamaican and reggae bears witness to the degree to which Jamaican music and culture had become part of the texture of New York life by the mid-1980s," Marshall wrote in 2005.

"Sound of Da Police" shouts out to the minimal, beat-driven style of the earliest hip-hop to come out of the Bronx on the turntables of DJ Kool Herc and the like. DJ Showbiz employs classic samples from Tyrone Washington's 1971 track "Submission," Grand Funk Railroad's 1969 "Inside Looking Out" and Sly and the Family Stone's 1969 "Sing a Simple Song." "Sound of Da Police" has since been sampled by dozens of other artists, most notably Jay-Z's 2001 track "The Takeover."

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