By All Means Necessary

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By All Means Necessary
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 31, 1988[1]
RecordedSeptember 1987–March 1988[2]
GenreHip hop, Political hip hop
Boogie Down Productions chronology
Criminal Minded
By All Means Necessary
Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop
Singles from By All Means Necessary
  1. "Stop the Violence"
    Released: 1988
  2. "My Philosophy"
    Released: 1988

By All Means Necessary is the second album from American hip hop group Boogie Down Productions, released on May 31, 1988[1] on Jive Records. After the 1987 murder of DJ-producer Scott La Rock, MC KRS-One moved away from the violent themes that dominated his debut, Criminal Minded, and began writing socially conscious songs using the moniker the Teacher.[2]

Album information[edit]

Accompanied by minimalist production and hard-hitting drum beats, KRS-One covers social issues that include government and police corruption, safe sex, government involvement in the drug trade, and violence in the hip hop community.

As of September 25, 1989, the album was certified gold in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America.[3] Both the album cover, depicting KRS-One, and the album title make reference to Malcolm X. The album's cover art is a reference to the iconic photo of Malcolm X peering through his window while holding a M1 carbine rifle. The album title is a modification of Malcolm X's famous phrase "By Any Means Necessary."


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[4]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[5]
The Great Rock Discography7/10[6]
MusicHound R&B4.5/5[6]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[8]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4.5/5 stars[9]
The Source5/5[10]
Spin Alternative Record Guide8/10[11]
The Village VoiceB+[12]

The album is widely seen as one of, if not the first, politically conscious efforts in hip-hop. AllMusic described the album as a landmark of political hip hop and Rolling Stone praised its social commentary.[4] Anthony DeCurtis of Rolling Stone wrote, "Over irresistible beats provided by his BDP cohorts, KRS delivers the word on the drug trade, AIDS and violence—three forces that threaten to destroy minority communities."[8]

In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums.[13]

In 2008, the single "My Philosophy"[14] was ranked number 49 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.

Track listing[edit]

  • All songs were written, produced and performed by KRS-One.
1."My Philosophy"5:41
2."Ya Slippin'"4:56
3."Stop the Violence"4:42
4."Illegal Business"5:22
6."I'm Still #1"5:13
7."Part Time Suckers"5:32

Samples used[edit]



Chart (1988) Peak
US Billboard 200[15] 75
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[16] 18


Year Song Chart positions
1988 "Stop the Violence" 76


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[17] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b Sha Be Allah (2018-05-31). "TODAY IN HIP HOP HISTORY: BOOGIE DOWN PRODUCTIONS' 'BY ALL MEANS NECESSARY' ALBUM TURNS 30 YEARS OLD!". The Source. Retrieved 2019-12-08.
  2. ^ a b "The 20 Best Five-year Runs In Rap". Complex. 2013-10-15. Retrieved 2019-12-08.
  3. ^ RIAA database search item By All Means Necessary Archived June 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 22 May 2008
  4. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "By All Means Necessary – Boogie Down Productions". AllMusic. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  6. ^ a b "By All Means Necessary". Archived from the original on 2012-02-25. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  7. ^ Wallace, Emanuel (April 20, 2010). "Boogie Down Productions :: By All Means Necessary :: Jive/RCA Records". RapReviews. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  8. ^ a b DeCurtis, Anthony (October 6, 1988). "Boogie Down Productions: By All Means Necessary". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on May 28, 2009. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  9. ^ Relic, Peter (2004). "Boogie Down Productions". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 94. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  10. ^ The Source. New York (150). March 2002.CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
  11. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  12. ^ Christgau, Robert (May 24, 1988). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  13. ^ "100 Best Rap Albums + 100 Best Rap Singles". Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Boogie Down Productions Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  16. ^ "Boogie Down Productions Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard.
  17. ^ "American album certifications – Boogie Down Productions – By All Means Necessary". Recording Industry Association of America.