Gang Starr is a revered East Coast hip hop duo consisting of Guru & DJ Premier. Before disbanding in 2006 as well as Guru’s death in 2010, the 2 have made a name of themselves with arguably one of the greatest discographies in hip hop history. But with the 10 year anniversary of Guru’s passing coming up in 5 months, Premier has decided to commemorate him with 1 last album under the Gang Starr name.
After the “Sure Shot” intro, we go into the first song “Lights Out”. Where Guru & M.O.P. get bloodthirsty over an explosive piano-inflicted beat. The track “Bad Name” disses wack rappers over a soulful boom bap beat while the song “Hit Man” with [Q-Tip] sees the 2 comparing themselves to assassins over a gritty beat.
The track “What’s Real” with PRhyme finds both Guru & Royce da 5’9″ defining their versions of real over an instrumental that sounds like Moment of Truth era Gang Starr & after the “Keith Casim Elam” interlude, the song “From a Distance” with Jeru the Damaja sees the 2 reclaiming their prowesses over an orchestral boom bap beat.
The track “Family & Loyalty” with J. Cole finds the 2 talking about diamonds over a luxurious beat while the song “Get Together” with Nitty Scott sees the 2 getting romantic over a slow instrumental. After the “NYGz/GS 183rd” interlude, the song “So Many Rappers” talks about the rap game over a tense instrumental.
The track “Business or Art” with Talib Kweli sees the 2 talking about the industry over a haunting beat, but the next song “Bring It Back Here” is so short that it really shouldn’t have been placed on here. After the titular interlude, the penultimate track “Take Flight” is a cutthroat installment of Gang Starr’s “Militia” series. Then the closer “Bless the Mic” finds Guru flawlessly showing off his skills 1 last time.
I’m not a big fan of posthumous albums, but this is one of the better ones out there. Guru’s unreleased verses are well incorporated as are the features & DJ Premier continues to show that he’s one of the best producers in hip hop history.