Hip-hop pioneer KRS-One says he hasn’t lost his “homeless consciousness” from when he lived on the streets 25 years ago. He took a break from his book tour for “Gospel of Hip Hop: First Instrument” to talk to Metro about volunteering — not just during the holidays — to help the city’s hungry and homeless.
How did you end up homeless?
Runaway. I got an epiphany when I was 12 years old that I was supposed to be an emcee and a philosopher. ... I dropped out of junior high school. I educated myself in the Brooklyn Public Library.
When I was 18, 19, 20, 21, I was sleeping in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. It got too dangerous. ... I walked across the Williamsburg Bridge, landed in Chinatown. Somehow found my way to Tompkins Square Park. Then it was called Tent City. Brilliant time — poets, writers, thinkers. ... My career begins right there.
Hunger is an act of terrorism in New York. Imagine being hungry and all you smell is food everywhere. You can’t have that.
Do people volunteer enough?
We’re losing our spirit. Where’s love? Where’s compassion? I know when I show up there’s gonna be happy people there. So why wouldn’t I show up? I want a do-gooder memory in my mind.