April 06, 2015

KRS-One vs. MC Shan "Rap Attack" (Spin, 8/87)

"On record, M.C. Shan is the mortal enemy of Boogie Down Productions' Scott LaRock and KRS-One. They've been trading insults and waging a dis fest the likes of which are usually reserved for Yankee/Red Sox games. At stake in this 12-inch war is which borough of New York rules rap. And like any street battle, it's been lowdown and nasty all the way. Shan started it with "The Bridge," a rap celebrating the Queensbridge housing project where he, producer Marley Marl, and Roxanne Shante lived. These claims of local supremacy begat Boogie Down's "South Bronx," in which KRS-One traced the beat back to his home neighborhood in the mid '70s and advised Shan to get his "homeboys off crack." Shan and Marley Marl counterpunched with "Kill That Noise," which intercut the sampled chorus of "South Bronx" with a description of Shan's gun and the threat. "Those who try to make fame on my name die." Boogie Down answered with "The Bridge Is Over," which questioned Shan's manhood more than his sense of history and told the Juice Crew (the umbrella outfit that includes Shan, Marley, Shante, Biz Markie, T.J. Swan, and Mr. Magic) what to suck."

"Though neither side will stick to one version of the facts, both Shan and Boogie Down claim that the feud is confined to vinyl. They even claim to like each other ... sort of. So what gives? Is all the fuss just a publicity gimmick? "Shan's the voice of the Juice Crew," says Scott LaRock, "so he bought the bullet. But our beef ain't with Shan, it's with Mr. Magic." LaRock says the group first met Mr. Magic, a WBLS DJ who airs two of New York's four weekly rap shows, at Power Play studios. They were newcomers, and Magic asked, "Who are y'all n-bombs?" Since then, things just haven't been right. Magic scoffs at the notion of a hip hop feud, but adds that he's under "advisement" from WBLS's lawyers not to discuss any details of it. "I can't play a record where someone's talkin' 'bout me," he says by way of explaining his noninvolvement in this nonfeud; "that doesn't make any sense." One fact that all the parties involved will agree on is that the war is fueling record sales. Both Shan and Boogie Down claim the other's dissing has done wonders for their respective careers. "People want to hear this stuff, they expect it - it's show biz," remarks Shan. The two are waiting to perform together, if the price is right. "Face it, in hip hop, two crews battle each others," waxes KRS One philosophically..." - Spin Magazine, August 1987. (Updated audio links and photograph). 

You can check out the full article in Spin below (click to enlarge)...