KRS-One, one of the greatest and most important rapper of all time, has through his 25 years in the music industry blessed us with a bout 40 albums and a couple of dope books between 1986 and 2012. One of the most prolifical arrtist to say the least, that has managed to keep his name alive in the hip-hop community by being an innovator that's pay attention to what's going on in the underground community. Through most of his career, Kris always been open to work with amazing underground producers and artists. He's also the #1 spokesperson for hip-hop as a culture; a true hip-hop historian that truly cares about the culture and its health. Even if you're not a huge fan of Kris music you should at least have an enormous respect for his work in those areas.
Between 1987 and 1997 he released plenty of classics as Boogie Down Productions, five albums that should end up in any serious hip-hop collectors crates one day. Maybe what most younger fans know him of, however, is the trio of albums he released on Jive Records when he finally started using the KRS-1 moniker and top "solo" albums. This resulted in impeccable trilogy from '93 to '97 that was "Return Of the Boom Bap" (with DJ Premier, Showbiz, Kid Capri, Norty Cotto and KRS on production duties), "KRS-One" (w. Preemo, Diamond D, Showbiz, Big French Productions, Notto Corty and Kris) and "I Got Next" (w. Showbiz, DJ Muggs, Domingo, Comissioner Gordon, Jesse West and a lot of KRS beats). These three album are all amazing stuff in their own right,; even more or less classics. After 1997 we had to wait for four years before "The Sneak Attack" hit, which simply didn't live up to expectations. And the waiting time of four years take away from it even more.
But was it really four years between those two discs? The answer is a loud NO. KRS-One had one last album to fullfill his contractual obligations to Jive Records, his label home for the last twelve years. He recorded and turned in "Maximum Strength", a slamming album that I personally feel was just as good as its closest predecessor. In fact, Jive had already started a marketing campaign for the LP with ads in magasines like The Source and released the 12"/CD single "5 Boroughs" (which even had a video) BW "Temple Tactics"; another banger intened for apperance on the album. Kris also made several interviews around this time saying how the album was complete and done but the label situation wasn't the best and constantly kept pushing it back. Instead, to fullfill the contract they scrapped the album altogether and released their BDP/KRS Greatest Hits album spanning from 1988 and 1997 which is nothing short of a real shame. True KRS heada obviously already had every single song on that compilation. I'm still mad at this decision as, still to this day, fans have not heard the complete album and the songs that made up original tracklist and even in the cases we've heard them. It's a huge difference between hearing radio rips, cassette rips and vinyl rips than a properly mastered CD/LP/cassette. Oh well...
After KRS-One said in 2008 that he was gonna finally put it out and even marketed it with the original tracklist, it had most fans hyped as hell agaub (myself included). Once it makes it to the shelves it turns out that KRS has changed his mind in the last minute and released a rather weak album called "Maximm Strength" that didn't have jack with the OG Jive release. The real album became somewhat of an obsession for me and I was determined to put together a version of the it as close as possible to what was intended to have been heard back in '99 or 2000. I had the original tracklist to work from and several tracks from the album has been released on various KRS albums, mainly "The Sneak Attack", "D.I.G.I.T.A.L." and of course the original CDS featuring "5 Boroughs" and "Temple Tactics". A few of the tracks was of course harder to find, like the rare radio rip of the amazing posse cut "Yeah Yeah Yeah" (Ft. Outsidaz, Channel Live and Last Emperor) and the hot "Let it Flow" appeared on the legendary compilation "Buffalo Gals Back to Skool" put together by Malcolm McLauren. To make it an album I had to fill out the songs that remains unreleased with five of the , imo, dopest of the many Front Page Entertainment 12" singles that KRS released by himself in the late '90s. These were all very likely recorded for the album since they have a similiar vibe and was released around the same time.
As far as production goes on "Maxium Strength" there's obviously no definite credits list, but "5 Boroughs" was produced by BDP veteran Ill Will together with Hitmen Yogi; "Aquarius" is a Showbz production, making him the only producer who worked on all KRS' solo stuio albums in the '90s; "Warning Shot" is one by the extremely underrated Domingo who also laced "Temple Tactics"; "Let it Flow" and probably many of the other joints was produced by KRS himself; "Boogie Down (Better Run)" is a Wyclef Jean beat; "Protect Yourself (Ghetto Lifestyle)" was produced by long-time BDP partner and cousin DJ Kenny Parker and originally had a verse by Tragedy Khadafi; "Bring it to the Cypher" with Truck Turner was produced by DJ Premier and I can't remember who prodduced "Satisfaction" right now but I know I've heard it somewhere. I believe it was one of The Hitmen.
I know I posted this before but it's one of my absolute favorite compilations/shelved album revisits I ever did and I had a lot of mails asking me for a re-up so why not make a new post for it. That way latecomers to the party will get their first taste of this incredible music in its album format,. To not completely repeat myself I added a little bonus disc featuring ten additional songs that might very well have been recorded in the same session.. So grab your links, enjoy and most importantly TURN IT UP! because KNOWLEDGE REINS SUPREME!
CD1 - "MAXIMUM STRENGTH" [c7 Revisit]
01. "5 Boroughs" (Ft. Buckshot, Vigilante, Keith Murray, Cam'ron, Prodigy, Killah Priest and Rev. Run)
02. "For Example..."
03. "Warning Shot (Clap)"
04. "Boogie Down (Better Run)" (Ft. Wyclef)
05. "Tell the Devil Ha"
07. "Protect Yourself (Ghetto Lifestyles)
08. "I Will Make It"
09. "Yeah" (Ft. Outsidaz & Last Emperor)
10. "Bring it to the Cypher" (Ft. Truck Turner)
11. "Aquarius" (Ft. Courtney Terry)
12. "Let Ir Flow" [Hip-Hop Version] (Ft. Courtney Terry]
13. "No Wack DJ's"
14. "Temple Tactics"
15. "Purified" [Accapella]
CD2 - "MAXIMUM STRENGTH" [Bonus Knowledge]
01. "Happy Verse Day" [Street] (KRS-One / Mad Lion / Channel Live)
02. "Gunplay" (Ft. Mo' Money & Apocalypse)
03. "C.I.A. (Criiminals in Action)" (KRS-One / Last Emp / Zack De La Rocha)
04. "I Will Make It" [Original 12" Version]
05. "Blade" (Ft. Channel Live)
06. "Ocean Within" (Ft. Saul Williams)
07. "Ey Yo! (The Reagge Virus) (KRS-One / Mad Lion / Shaggy)
08. "Why" [Original Mix]
09. "Happy Verse Day" [Tapemaster Mix] (KRS-One / Channel Live)
10. "Why Call Yourself An MC" (Ft. Mic Vandalz)