DJ Premier Reveals Gang Starr’s “Just To Get A Rep” Was A True Story About Guru (Video)
There are few things in Hip-Hop more engaging than a great story. Artists like Slick Rick, Biggie, Nas, Scarface and others have been revered for years because of their ability to craft a narrative, in rhyme, that takes listeners on a true journey. What’s even more captivating is when those stories turn out to be based on real-life events. Recently, Kendrick Lamar blew listeners’ minds with his “DUCKWORTH.” song which told the true story of how more than 20 years ago, Top Dawg, the majority owner of Kendrick’s TDE record label and now Kendrick’s business partner, plotted to rob and possibly kill Kendrick’s father. The actions of both Top and Carl Duckworth, Kendrick’s father, in the 90s changed the fate of both men, and Kendrick likely would not have become the artist he is had things gone differently.
Recently, DJ Premier sat with Rob Markman of Genius Level to discuss his illustrious career. In recounting his days with Guru in Gang Starr, Preemo shared the mind-blowing revelation that Gang Starr’s classic song, “Just To Get A Rep,” was inspired by real-life events. In the song, Guru raps about a kid who gets stuck up for his belongings. Although the robbers get away with the kid’s jewels, karma eventually catches up with them and the robber is killed.
When asked about the song, Premier reveals to Markman that the “kid” who was robbed in the story was actually Guru. “That was a crazy moment, that record right there. That’s a true story. That happened to Guru, and he said, ‘I want to write a song about it.’ What happened was…that was the day we both got our brand new cars, when we got our major label deal, and we bought our cars. He went riding around, in some of the wrong spots, at the wrong time. He went back to that spot late at night, by himself. He was with people [the first time], so he was good. [We advised him not to go back there alone because some people might still be there]. They were still out there; one of ’em stuck him for the car and took it.” And, in a rare case where real life is even crazier than the art it inspires, Preemo says the ending to Guru’s story is wilder than the one in the song, where the robber gets shot. “Guru [acted the same] way they say Tupac was [after his 1994 Quad Studios shooting]. He started rollin’ a blunt and said, ‘This is f*cked up.’ Guru starts rollin’ a blunt on the corner while we’re on our way to make sure he’s good, and find out who did it. [Laughs] He’s just sittin’ there yellin’ at the other guys [on the street] going, ‘You know this ain’t right! This ain’t cool! Things come back to people who do bad things to you.’ He’s saying that to them. So fast forward to maybe a week or two weeks later, we see the guy in [Guru’s] car, and we start chasing after him. Cops come out and start chasing us. We’re like, ‘That’s our car; they stole it!’ ’cause they’re trying to pull us over ’cause they’re seeing a high-speed car chase. We’re [still going]: the cops, us, dude. Dude turns the wrong way, hits an ice cream truck, and dies right on the spot. Yeah…and we did the record the next day. And that’s why we did the video [the way we did].”
Justin “The Company Man” Hunte recaps the story in a special edition of Ambrosia For Heads’ LastSeven, where we recap the biggest stories in Hip-Hop and more from the last seven days. If you like what you see, subscribe to our YouTube channel for more.