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SATURDAY

KRS-One is always on my shoulder, shouting, “You Must Learn!” in my ear whenever I commit some sort of sin against this thing called hiphop. He scolds me when I catch myself humming along to “Whistle While You Twerk,” taunts me when I fail to remember the words to “Going Way Back,” and laughs when I pretend to understand the message in his melodies when I’m really just idly nodding my head to the beat. KRS-One’s undying devotion to hiphop, his encyclopedic knowledge on a dizzying range of topics, and his reputation as an enlightened, universal teacher have always intimidated me. But confined to the 263 pages of his book, Ruminations, the legend seems far less imposing. Like his music, the work and its accompanying disc of lectures is dense and changes tone with little warning: Chapters move from philosophy lesson to hiphop how-to guide to the practice of “urban inspirational metaphysics,” an intellectual construct of the Blastmaster’s that explores the nature of existence for inner-city denizens too world-weary to dwell on abstractions. And though there is no replacement for his auditory “edutainment,” reading KRS-One is like being able to listen to him rhyme in slow motion—the passion and force remain, but there is more time to absorb the material. Still, Ruminations is no easy read, and it is likely that KRS-One planned it that way: Simply handing over one’s hard-earned life lessons to the world without making us work for it just isn’t hiphop. KRS-One speaks at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, at the University of the District of Columbia’s Building 46 Auditorium, 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW, $20; and at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, at the Urban Energy Center, 1522 U St. NW, $50. For reservations call (202) 387-4300. (Sarah Godfrey)