Criminal Minded

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Criminal Minded
Criminal Minded Album Cover.jpg
Studio album by Boogie Down Productions
Released March 3, 1987 (1987-03-03)
Recorded 1986
Genre Hardcore hip hop,[1] gangsta rap[2]
Length 46:36
Label B-Boy Records
BB 4787
Producer Scott La Rock, KRS-One, Ced-Gee
Boogie Down Productions chronology
Criminal Minded
By All Means Necessary

Criminal Minded is the debut album by Boogie Down Productions, released on March 3, 1987 on B-Boy Records. Considered a highly influential hip hop album,[1] it is also credited with providing a prototype for the East Coast gangsta rap which emerged in the following decades. The album's samples and direct influences were unusual at the time, ranging from liberal use of dancehall reggae (as well as the more commonly used James Brown) to rock music artists such as AC/DC, The Beatles and Billy Joel.

The songs “South Bronx” and “The Bridge Is Over” ignited the rivalry with the Queens-bred emcee MC Shan and the Juice Crew. These songs and others on the album spoke of the role the South Bronx area of New York City played in hip hop's early history.[3] Other songs told streetwise tales of the evils of drugs and prostitution. In 2003, the album was ranked number 444 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.


Production on the LP is credited to 'Blastmaster' KRS-One (Lawrence Krisna Parker) and DJ Scott La Rock (Scott Sterling), with a special thanks to Ced-Gee (Cedric Miller) of The Ultramagnetic MCs on the back cover.

The cover, which showcases Parker and Sterling surrounded by an arsenal of weapons, was hip-hop’s first major release to feature members brandishing firearms. The album also contained several seminal hardcore songs such as “9mm Goes Bang,” one of the first hip-hop songs to be based around a first-person crime narrative, and "P Is Free," which details an encounter with a drug-abusing prostitute.

The liner notes of Criminal Minded read, "Peace to Ron Nelson and the Toronto posse." This statement is evidence of BDP's involvement with Toronto's hip hop scene in the 1980s, which produced artists such as Michie Mee, Dream Warriors, and Maestro Fresh Wes.[4]


Initially, the album sold at least several hundred thousand copies; however, the relationship between the group and B-Boy Records quickly deteriorated when the label, headed by Jack Allen and Bill Kamarra, was allegedly slow to pay royalties. A lawsuit was launched, which was eventually settled out-of-court. Having left B-Boy Records, new friend Ice-T introduced BDP to Warner Bros. Records' Benny Medina, head of the label’s Black-music division, who promptly agreed to sign the duo in principle to a new record deal. However, it was rescinded after La Rock's death.

By this time, Sterling had befriended a neighborhood teenager named Derrick "D-Nice" Jones, who did a human beat-boxing routine for the group. One evening, Jones was assaulted by some local hoodlums and he later called Sterling to run interference. The next day, Sterling and a group of others came to the stoop where the offending parties lived. Sterling’s intention was to try and mediate things, but one of the hoods pulled out a gun and began shooting at random. In the ensuing confusion, Sterling was hit in the neck. Critically wounded, he died an hour later in hospital, leaving behind an infant son.

Warner Bros. reneged on the new deal in the aftermath of Sterling’s death. Parker, however, decided that the group should continue. A handful of friends were brought into the collective, including Parker’s new wife Ms. Melodie and brother Kenny Parker, with whom he had just recently reunited. Original member and Criminal Minded co-producer, Lee Smith, was dropped by Parker in pursuit of a deal. Signing with Jive/RCA Records, Parker recorded eight albums for that label in a 10-year period, eventually dropping the Boogie Down Productions moniker and billing himself as a solo performer. R.E.M. and others recruited him for collaborations, and he was among the few hip-hop acts at the Beastie Boys’ Tibetan Freedom Concerts.

Meanwhile, Criminal Minded became notoriously hard to find, falling in and out of print every few years, surfacing with a different distributor every time. Eventually, the Boston-based independent label LandSpeed Records purchased the rights of the B-Boy Records catalogue, hence a re-release in 2002. An expanded re-release titled The Best of B-Boy Records: Boogie Down Productions includes longer versions of the album's tracks and several 12-inch singles that didn't make Criminal Minded's original pressing.[5] The album was re-released again in 2006—original art intact—when LandSpeed became Traffic Entertainment Group.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B+[6]
Dusted (favorable)[7]
RapReviews (9/10)[8]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars [9]
The Source 5/5 stars[10]
Spin 10/10[11]
Trouser Press (favorable)[12]
Virgin Encyclopedia 4/5 stars[11]

In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums .[13] ranked Criminal Minded #9 in its list of greatest hip hop albums of all time.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 444 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Vibe (12/99, p. 157) - Included in Vibe's 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century.

Vibe (6/02, p. 108) - Ranked #3 in Vibe's "Top 10 rap albums."

Complex Music named the song "South Bronx" as the #9th best diss song of hip-hop.[3]

Track listing[edit]

# Title Songwriters Producer(s) Performer (s) Length
1 "Poetry" L. Parker, S. LaRock Ced Gee, DJ Scott La Rock, KRS-One KRS-One 5:01
2 "South Bronx" L. Parker, S. LaRock Ced Gee, DJ Scott La Rock, KRS-One, Partner Lee Smith D-Nice, DJ Scott La Rock, KRS-One 5:10
3 "9mm Goes Bang" L. Parker, S. LaRock DJ Scott La Rock, KRS-One, Partner Lee Smith KRS-One 4:19
4 "Word from Our Sponsor" L. Parker, S. LaRock Ced Gee, DJ Scott La Rock, KRS-One, Partner Lee Smith KRS-One 3:52
5 "Elementary" L. Parker, S. LaRock DJ Scott La Rock, KRS-One DJ Scott La Rock, KRS-One 4:07
6 "Dope Beat" L. Parker, S. LaRock Ced Gee, DJ Scott La Rock, KRS-One, Partner Lee Smith KRS-One, DJ Scott La Rock 5:12
7 "Remix for P Is Free" L. Parker, S. LaRock Ced Gee, DJ Scott La Rock, KRS-One KRS-One 4:20
8 "The Bridge Is Over" L. Parker, S. LaRock Ced Gee, DJ Scott La Rock, KRS-One, Partner Lee Smith KRS-One 3:26
9 "Super-Hoe" L. Parker, S. LaRock Ced Gee, DJ Scott La Rock, KRS-One DJ Scott La Rock, KRS-One 5:30
10 "Criminal Minded" L. Parker, S. LaRock Ced Gee, DJ Scott La Rock, KRS-One KRS-One 5:17
11 "Scott LaRock Mega-Mix"* S. LaRock DJ Scott La Rock DJ Scott La Rock 6:49

[*] Bonus track found on later pressings.


Samples appearing on the album[edit]

"Poetry" contains samples from the James Brown recordings "Soul Power Pt. 1" and "Don't Tell It" (scratches by TR Love).

"South Bronx" contains samples from the James Brown recordings "Get Up Offa That Thing" and "Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved".

"Word from Our Sponsor" contains samples from First Choice's "Love Thang".

"Dope Beat" contains a sample from the AC/DC recording "Back in Black".

"Remix For P is Free" contains a sample from the Yellowman recording "Zungguzungguguzungguzeng".

"The Bridge Is Over" contains an interpolation of a bassline from the Super Cat recording "Boops" (played on the studio piano by KRS-One) and a short melodic and lyrical interpolation of the Billy Joel recording "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me".

"Super Hoe" contains samples from the Captain Sky recording "Super Sporm" and the Esther Williams recording "Last Night Changed it All (I Really Had a Ball)".

"Criminal Minded" contains samples from the Syl Johnson recording "Different Strokes" and the Trouble Funk recording "Let's Get Small", and begins with a melodic and lyrical interpolation of the Beatles recording "Hey, Jude".

Samples from the album by other artists[edit]


Chart (1987) Peak
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[14] 73


  1. ^ a b c Allmusic review
  2. ^ Echeverria, Jr., Steve (2 February 2007). "20 albums you should own". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 12 July 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "The 50 Best Hip-Hop Diss Songs". Complex Music. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  4. ^ Maestro Fresh Wes on hip-hop up top
  5. ^ Boogie Down Productions—The Best Of B-Boy Records at Discogs Discogs, Retrieved on August 13, 2011
  6. ^ Robert Christgau review
  7. ^ Dusted review
  8. ^ RapReviews review
  9. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City, New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 94. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  10. ^ Kazeem (August 4, 2010). "The Complete List Of 5 Mic Hip-Hop Classics". The Source. Retrieved on 2010-12-23.
  11. ^ a b scores
  12. ^ Trouser Press review
  13. ^ Rocklist
  14. ^ "Boogie Down Productions – Chart history" Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for Boogie Down Productions.