Jonah Weiner
June 27, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Barking no-logo rants and cred spiels, KRS-One sees mainstream hip-hop being overtaken by bling and fancies himself its conscience. Trouble is, the rapper’s become a tiresome caricature, soapboxing (”Same Sound,” ”Underground”) with as little imagination and as self-indulgently as the cash-‘n’-ho’s rim twirlers he scorns. He’s noble-minded, maybe, but preachy: His ninth album makes you glad purists are on the losing side.

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