Boogie Down Productions – “The Bridge is Over”: Throwback Video of the Day
In 1986, Boogie Down Productions' “Blastmaster” KRS-One, DJ Scott La Rock, and “The human 808” D-Nice made a calculated move when they dropped the diss track, “The Bridge is Over.” “BDP wanted to be members of the Juice Crew and they were not allowed,” Roxanne Shante told VladTV. Originally called "12:41," KRS and Scott gave their cassette tape, "$ucce$$ I$ The Word" over to DJ Magic, who had the kind of influence that jumpstart a burgeoning rapper’s career.
“Magic took their record and broke it on-air saying ‘No.’ ‘Cause that’s how you could tell people if they could be down or if they couldn’t," she continued. "He was like ‘I don’t like it. I don’t like it. I don’t like it.’ And then before we knew it, BDP was like, ‘Well, if we can’t be part of the crew, we gon’ go after the crew.' It was a blow to the ego, but it also presented an opportunity for the up-and-coming rap group."
“Obviously, Mr. Magic is like who are you? Get outta here! At the same time, Mr Magic was also supporting other artists that were collectively called Juice Crew,” KRS-One said in the 2003 documentary, BEEF “We left like ‘Magic dissed us. He wouldn’t even give us the time. Who he think he is? Now, somewhere along the line, we get the impression, that Magic said our tape was wack.”
Juice Crew’s MC Shan had released “The Bridge” leading KRS to believe Shan had said, not implied, that hip-hop started in Queensbridge. “I believed Magic heard [our track] and said it was garbage. I said ‘garbage? MC Shan is garbage.’ So I went back to my shelter. I’m sittin’ on the edge of my bed. And was like ‘South Bronx.’ Their rebuttal was recorded in one tape. They then gave it to DJ Red Alert, another party-rocker around town who also had the power to make-or-break the rap careers of young hopefuls. ‘That’s when your heart stops because if he says, you don’t have a shot, then your career is over," KRS-One said. But Red Alert took a liking to the track and played the tune in the clubs and on the radio.
But MC Shan wasn’t feeling it. “Chris claimed that I said hip-hop started in Queensbridge, which I didn’t," Shan said. "At the beginning of the song you hear Marley Marl say, 'They wanna tell you a story about where they come from.’ That’s the difference. Everybody knows hip-hop started in the Bronx,’” Shan explained in the BEEF documentary. Not one to be played the fool, Shan came back with his own track, "Kill That Noise," which ultimately led to “The Bridge Wars” "If you said anything about me I was gonna get you, no matter who you was, where you were from, why you were there. I’m still the only, I’m still the only guy in the whole game who could represent it and battle the whole borough, by myself."
KRS-One followed-up with “The Bridge is Over,” which was the lead track on BDP’s studio album, Criminal Minded, released on B-Boy Records, a year later. The song took shots at members of the Juice Crew, the line “Roxanne Shante is only good for steady fucking” took things to a whole other level. While Shante was not the first female behind the mic, she was the only female in Juice Crew. And the rapper, then a teen mother, was already a polarizing figure in hip-hop. “I had gone out of the country. ‘When I came back, they were like, ‘Did you hear that?’ I was like, ‘What?’ Then I heard it and I was like ‘What is that?’ Then it got to my part I was like ‘Where are they? Who is that?’
Her crew revealed it was KRS-One from BDP, who was enjoying his new-found success from his controversial track. “I was with my little sister at the bank and I saw KRS-One and I was like ‘Hold the baby’ and I was ready to fight,” Shante recalled during her VladTV interview. ‘He was like ‘Hold up, wait a minute.’ That’s how I took hip-hop. I expected him to say something. To defend. I expected him to speak like “The Bridge is Over.” But he was like, ‘You’re right.’ He truly humbled himself.” Criminal Minded went gold, and “The Bridge is Over” would become an era-defining moment in hip-hop.
Many years later, when KRS-One would perform his seminal hit, he’d want to change the lyrics, but Shante told him to stay true to the game. “I would say to him, so, you can’t un-write history. If it didn’t break me when I was 15, it’s damn sure not gonna break me now.”
MC Shan’s career was over, but KRS-One believes he was the true champ. "MC Shan coulda won the battle simply by ignoring me. It was because MC Shan understood hip-hop,” he said. One of the greatest stories ever told.