MC Shan Challenges KRS-One To Settle The Bridge Wars Once & For All…With A Battle (Audio)
In the late 1980s, the Juice Crew and Boogie Down Productions were involved in one of Hip-Hop’s most legendary battles. KRS-One and Scott La Rock released records dissing Marley Marl, Mr. Magic, Roxanne Shante, and MC Shan, among others. However, nearly 30 years later, MC Shan refutes the history that he and KRS-One ever battled by definition.
Following Shan’s Marley Marl-produced 1986 single “The Bridge,” B.D.P. responded with “South Bronx” and “The Bridge Is Over.” Both records attacked the Queens, New York-based Juice Crew members—over what was the real founding borough of Hip-Hop. Shan would respond on his 1987 Down By Law debut with “Kill That Noise.” Both MC figureheads of “the Bridge Wars” would trade shots on albums into the 1990s. However, Shan maintains that battling on wax—or records is completely different than doing it on stage.
Speaking with Murder Master Music Show, MC Shan said, “Me and [KRS-One have] never battled, ever. I don’t care [what some say]; any Hip-Hop historian knows a battle is two cats on stage, doin’ what they do. I just went off on him a couple of months ago. He’s my man and all that, but yo, I’m tired of [KRS-One] sayin’ that [he] took me out, when you ain’t never did shit!” MC Shan says that he wants a promoter to pay for he and KRS-One to battle on stage, as done in the Battle Rap leagues. “I’ve got a fuckin’ five-page [verse] in the drawer. See, what niggas thought I was gonna do was make the rhyme and put it out there and give him a chance to rebut that shit. No, nigga! When we come to that point when a [promoter] will pay for us to [battle], I’m gonna have some shit [that] you won’t be able to understand where it’s coming from.”
Notably, Big Daddy Kane and Rakim—two peers of the 1980s Hip-Hop movement, have also discussed battling on stage. In late 2014, Kane said he would agree to such an event for $500,000. MC Shan did not disclose his desired sum to take on his Bronx, New York opponent.
Shan elaborated on why he feels he would win such a battle. “Let’s be real, [KRS-One] is a book-smart mothafucka. You know all that book shit—that’s some shit that you interpreted from somebody else’s [writing]. Yeah, you do your lil’ activist shit and all that shit, but when it comes down to mothafuckin’ lyrics and makin’ stories and metaphors, nigga, you can’t fuck with me! If you listen to my songs and his from back in the day, they are two different types. He’s a boom-bap, go-in-the-club and hype-the-club-up MC. Nigga, you’ll kill me at a show! Any day. I’ll give that to him. At a show, nigga, you will tear me down.” However, while Shan concedes that KRS-One may be a better Rap performer, he asserts that he is the supreme lyricist. “My lyrics gon’ speak. I ain’t gotta make niggas jump up and down. I’m there to make your mind mothafuckin’ [stimulated]. I’m there to make you say ‘oooh.’ The closest me and him to face-to-face doin’ anything… I mean, we was on shows together, but we never actually stood toe-to-toe, rhyme-for-rhyme, back-to-back, and did anything—other than the Sprite commercial, and I duffed you on that!”
In 1996, the Coca-Cola Company used Shan and KRS-One to spoof their battle in a television ad campaign:
Twenty years later, Shan accuses KRS of repeating part of his verse, and losing count of the “strikes” he referred to.
The Queens MC who collaborated with KRS-One, Ras Kass, F.T., and others on 1999’s “Line Of Fire” says that KRS-One’s logic is twisted. “So all this ‘I took Shan out’ [talk], if that’s the case, I could say that I took LL [Cool J] out. But I’m not gonna say that. [The] only thing that happened is I made [‘Beat Biter’] about LL, and he didn’t respond. So that doesn’t give me the right to say, ‘Oh, I took LL out.'” In the interview, Shan does not address “Kill That Noise” as his initial, and perhaps most notable reply. The Marley Marl-produced Cold Chillin’ Records song did not mention KRS or Boogie Down Productions by name, while “The Bridge Is Over” did mention Shan’s name. Shan believes that he was restrained by the Juice Crew founder and producer from going further at KRS-One and B.D.P. “That was Marley [Marl’s] fault; Marley didn’t want nothing to do with [Boogie Down Productions].”
Near the 7:00 and at the 11:00 mark, MC Shan does whet the appetite of battle-goers with some of the bars he has aimed at KRS-One:
“Nigga, you’s the Hip-Hop Cyrano De Bergerac / Not only is ya flows, but ya words are wack.” Later, he shares, “These 50 bars I give you, nigga, gonna feel like 50 lashes /And Simone gonna have to find a spot up on the mantle for your ashes / The nerve of you to think that you could beat me at a joustin’ / And if you alive when I’m finished, she gonna kick you out the house, nigga / They put us in a boxing ring and thought that would end the fight / But I outlast your ass, but they gave you the Sprite.”
Simone refers to KRS-One’s wife and manager, apparently making the competitive challenge between friends a bit personal.
“I got some shit for you, Kris. You know I’ve never been scared of you, on any level.” He added that he wants the battle to be acapella “so they don’t mistake what’s going on [and miss] the actual facts.” He closed, “I’m not goin’ round about, I’m goin’ straight for your head.”