In the late '80s he supplanted Public Enemy
's Chuck D as the angriest man in hip-hop. In 2002, he released a surprisingly gospel-centric album, one that proved time had not dulled the sharp edge of KRS-One
's rhymes. And the Blastmaster never does things by half-steps; Spiritual Minded
isn't a gospel crossover record at all, it actually is
a gospel record. Although his messages on tracks like "Come to the Temple," "Lord Live Within My Heart," and "Take It to God" are strictly uplifting and even rooted in doctrine, there's no tempering his aggressive delivery and skeletal productions. The highlight, "Take Your Tyme," features KRS-One
talking directly to young women about the pitfalls of premarital sex; it's easily one of the most encouraging hip-hop tracks heard in several years. As for weaknesses, Spiritual Minded
certainly doesn't have the gloss of most major-label rap albums, and occasionally the production and hooks are sacrificed for the message in the material. Still, it's intriguing to hear one of the best rappers in history turning out a gospel album; contemporary gospel, including Christian hip-hop, is actually much more artistic than most would give it credit for. Though much of his new audience may not even recognize one of the most famous names in rap history, it's likely they'll enjoy hearing this level of talent.