Life and career
Parker grew up in Soundview and Mott Haven (Millbrook Housing projects being directly referred to in his lyrics) neighborhoods of the South Bronx section of New York City to parents of Jamaican descent. In his teenage years, he frequently accompanied the Hare Krishnas and was subsequently nicknamed "Krisna", hence "Kris". "KRS-One" was originally Parker's graffiti tag, short for "Kris Number One". He began using it as his stage name and later devised a backronym for the name: "Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone."
Boogie Down Productions
KRS-One began his recording career as one half of the hip hop group Boogie Down Productions or BDP alongside DJ Scott La Rock. They met during a stay KRS-One had at the Bronx's Franklin Avenue Armory Shelter. La Rock (real name Scott Sterling) worked as a social worker there. The duo would begin to create music. After being rejected by radio DJs Mr. Magic and Marley Marl, KRS-One would go on to diss the two and those associated with them, sparking what would later be known as The Bridge Wars. Additionally, KRS had taken offense to "The Bridge", a song by Marley Marl's protege MC Shan (later on, KRS One produced an album with Marley Marl in 2007); the song could be interpreted as a claim that Queensbridge was the birthplace of hip hop. Though MC Shan has repeatedly denied this claim. Still, KRS "dissed" the song with the BDP record "South Bronx"; a second round of volleys would ensue with Shan's "Kill That Noise" and BDP's "The Bridge Is Over". KRS-One, demonstrating his nickname "The Blastmaster", gave a live performance that devastated MC Shan, and many conceded he had won the battle. Many believe this live performance to be the first MC battle where rappers attack each other, instead of a battle between who can get the crowd more hyped. 
Parker and Sterling decided to form a rap group together, initially calling themselves "Scott La Rock and the Celebrity Three". That was short-lived, however, as the two peripheral members quit, leaving Parker (now calling himself KRS-One) and Sterling. They then decided to call themselves "Boogie Down Productions". "Success is the Word", a 12-inch single produced by David Kenneth Eng and Kenny Beck was released on indie Fresh/Sleeping Bag Records (under the group name "12:41") but did not enjoy commercial success. Boogie Down Productions released their debut album Criminal Minded in 1987. While KRS-One "The Teacha" was equally known for his furiously political and socially conscious raps, the album, whose cover pictured BDP draped in ammunition and brandishing guns, is often credited with setting the template for the burgeoning genres of hardcore and gangsta rap. Scott La Rock was killed in a shooting later that year, after attempting to mediate a dispute between teenager and BDP member Derrick "D-Nice" Jones and local hoodlums.
KRS-One also gained acclaim as one of the first MCs to incorporate Jamaican style into hip-hop. Using the Zungazung melody, originally made famous by Yellowman in Jamaican dance halls earlier in the decade.  While KRS-One used Zunguzung styles in a more powerful and controversial manner, especially in his song titled, "Remix for P is Free", he can still be credited as one of the more influential figures to bridge the gap between Jamaican music and American hip-hop.
KRS would be determined to continue Boogie Down Productions through the tragedy, and was joined by beatboxer D-Nice, rapper Ramona "Ms. Melodie" Parker (whose marriage to Kris would last from 1988 to 1992), and Kris's younger brother DJ Kenny Parker, among others. However Boogie Down Productions would remain Kris's show, and their content would become increasingly political. KRS-One was the primary initiator behind the H.E.A.L. compilation and the Stop the Violence Movement; for the latter he would attract many prominent MCs to appear on the 12-inch single "Self Destruction". As Parker adopted this "humanist", less violent approach, he turned away from his "Blastmaster" persona and towards that of "The Teacha."
KRS-One performing in 2007.
After four largely solo albums under the name "Boogie Down Productions," KRS-One decided to strike out on his own. On his first solo album, 1993's Return of the Boom Bap, Parker worked together with producers DJ Premier, Kid Capri and Showbiz, the latter providing the catchy-yet-hardcore track "Sound of da Police". His second album, 1995's KRS-One, featured Channel Live on "Free Mumia", a protest song about the persecution of hip hop by C. Delores Tucker among others. Other prominent guest stars on KRS One included Mad Lion, Busta Rhymes, Das EFX and Fat Joe.
In 1995, KRS organized a group called Channel Live, whose album Station Identification he produced most of, along with Rheji Burrell and Salaam Remi.
In 1997, Parker surprised many with his release of the album I Got Next. The album's lead single "Step into a World (Rapture's Delight)", containing a sample of punk and New Wave group Blondie, was accompanied by a remix featuring commercial rap icon Puff Daddy; another track was essentially a rock song. While the record would be his best-selling solo album (reaching #3 on the Billboard 200), such collaborations with notably mainstream artists and prominent, easily recognizable samples took many fans and observers of the vehemently anti-mainstream KRS-One by surprise. However, in August 1997, Parker appeared on Tim Westwood's BBC Radio 1 show and vociferously denounced the DJ and the radio station more generally, accusing them of ignoring his style of hip hop in favor of commercial artists such as Puff Daddy. Although having not been in the UK since 1991, due to the fact he does not fly, he claimed "to be in touch with the people", and said that "they weren't feeling Westwood, he's a sell out and has sold his soul to the dark side." This sparked controversy in the UK since Radio One was one of the main supporters of the single "Step Into My World" and caused the album to be his best selling.
In 1999, there were tentative plans to release Maximum Strength; a lead single, "5 Boroughs", was released on The Corruptor movie soundtrack. However, Parker apparently decided to abort the album's planned release, just as he had secured a position as a Vice-President of A&R at Reprise Records Maximum Strength was released in 2008. He moved to southern California, and stayed there for two years, ending his relationship with Jive Records with A Retrospective in 2000.
Parker resigned from his A&R position at Reprise in 2001, and returned to recording with a string of albums, beginning with 2001's The Sneak Attack on Koch Records. In 2002, he released a gospel-rap album, Spiritual Minded, surprising many longtime fans; Parker had once denounced Christianity as a "slavemaster religion" which African-Americans should not follow. During this period, KRS founded the Temple of Hiphop, an organization to preserve and promote "Hiphop Kulture". Other releases have since included 2003's Kristyles and D.I.G.I.T.A.L., 2004's Keep Right, and 2006's Life.
The only latter-day KRS-One album to gain any significant attention has been Hip-Hop Lives, his 2007 collaboration with fellow hip hop veteran Marley Marl, due in large part to the pair's legendary beef, but also the title's apparent response to Nas' 2007 release Hip-Hop Is Dead. While many critics have commented they would have been a lot more excited had this collaboration occurred twenty years earlier, the album has been met with positive reviews.
September 11 comments
In 2004, KRS engendered a controversy when he was quoted in a panel discussion hosted by The New Yorker magazine as saying that "we cheered when 9/11 happened". The comment drew criticism from many sources, including a pointed barb by the New York Daily News that called Parker an "anarchist" and said that "If Osama bin Laden ever buys a rap album, he'll probably start with a CD by KRS-One."
Parker responded to the commotion surrounding his comments with an editorial written for AllHipHop.com, stating:
I was asked about why hiphop has not engaged the current situation more (meaning 9/11), my response was "because it does not affect us, or at least we don’t perceive that it affects us, 9/11 happened to them". I went on to say that "I am speaking for the culture now; I am not speaking my personal opinion." I continued to say; "9/11 affected them down the block; the rich, the powerful those that are oppressing us as a culture. Sony, RCA or BMG, Universal, the radio stations, Clear Channel, Viacom with BET and MTV, those are our oppressors, those are the people that we're trying to overcome in hiphop everyday, this is a daily thing. We cheered when 9/11 happened in New York and say that proudly here. Because when we were down at the trade center we were getting hit over the head by cops, told that we can’t come in this building, hustled down to the train station because of the way we dressed and talked, and so on, we were racially profiled. So, when the planes hit the building we were like, "mmmm, justice." And just as I began to say "now of course a lot of our friends and family were lost there as well" I was interrupted...
On April 29, 2007, KRS-One was once again forced to defend his statements on the September 11 attacks during an appearance on Hannity's America on the FOX News network to discuss, amongst other things, the Don Imus scandal and the use of profanity in hip-hop.
In late 2005, KRS was featured alongside Public Enemy's Chuck D on the remix of the song "Bin Laden" by Immortal Technique and DJ Green Lantern, which blames American conservatives, the Reagan Doctrine and U.S. President George W. Bush for the World Trade Center attacks, and indicates a parallel to the devaluation, destruction, and violence of urban housing project communities.
Randy Hubbard Parker, stepson of KRS-One, was found dead in his Atlanta, Georgia apartment on Friday, July 6, 2007 in an apparent suicide; he was 23. Simone Parker, KRS-One's wife and Randy's mother, released a statement on Tuesday, July 10 that stated her son's death was related to his continuous battle with "severe depression." The Fulton County Medical Examiner's office stated that Parker died of a gunshot wound to the head, and listed the cause of death as suicide. Parker was a graphic designer and fashion entrepreneur. A private memorial service was held on July 18, which would have been his 24th birthday.