By The Time I Get To Arizona. KRS-One Blasts the State for Declaring His Teachings Illegal.

In 1991, Public Enemy released the song “By the Time I Get to Arizona”, a scathing commentary on the state’s reluctance to observe Martin Luther King Day. The state was infamously the second last in the country to celebrate the day, even forgoing an opportunity to host a Super Bowl in Phoenix due to their omission. The holiday was eventually recognized by the state in 1992, six years after it had been declared a federal holiday.

Fast forward to 2015 and the state has now raised the ire of another political Hip-Hop luminary: KRS-One. According to Rolling Stone, the state of Arizona’s Department of Education has ruled that a class on ethnic studies being taught in a school in Tucson was illegal due to its inclusion of materials by KRS-One and lyrics by Rage Against the Machine. According to the state, the law prohibits courses that “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals,” and Hip-Hop was deemed to promote such ethnic solidarity.

KRS One Course Illegal in Arizona

When KRS caught wind of the decision he decided to visit the school in a show of support. Rolling Stone caught up with the activist MC while there. Here are a couple of excerpts from the interview:

“What do you make of the law?
Their conclusion was that hip-hop was seen as promoting a specific ethnic group. The state would like to promote individualism over collectivism. Of course the predominantly Mexican population out here in Arizona just went up in flames. But no one even knew that the law existed. Even the teachers and the principal was shocked at this. In [the state’s] view, they felt that this curriculum was turning kids toward the specific view of hip-hop.”

“What would you propose for the future?
When prayer was taken out of public school and Christian private schools exploded, the idea of private school became a billion-dollar industry. So if you look at hip-hop, where they’re rejecting us again, you can say, “OK, Jay Z, 50 Cent, Cash Money Millionaires, we need to create our own school system.” Not just one school, I mean a franchise school system like Kentucky Fried Chicken, like Burger King. And we need to be everywhere on the globe, teaching hip-hop. We call it the Hip-Hop Community College. Obama already said he’s giving two years free. So why not?”

Click here to read Rolling Stone’s article and interview in full.

Related: KRS-One Says He Cannot Make Money In America, Discusses Hip-Hop’s Global Impact (Video)