Gang Starr Has An Album Coming & Their New Song Is Classic Material (Audio)
Gang Starr’s legacy is everlasting. What Guru and DJ Premier assembled more than 30 years ago has influenced and informed Hip-Hop culture. In early 2010, the group’s creator, Keith “Guru” Elam passed away from cancer in a New York City hospital. At the time, it had been more than six years since he and DJ Premier released a Gang Starr album. Each had focused on other pursuits. Although respected by many fans, 2003’s The Ownerz album never felt like a proper farewell in one of music’s most respected discographies.
That end is changing. DJ Premier now confirms that Gang Starr is releasing one more album. One Of The Best Yet will arrive on November 1 and is available for pre-order. What’s more, the 16-song collection (artwork and track-listing below) features Gang Starr’s close-knit family of affiliates. M.O.P., Jeru The Damaja, Freddie Foxxx, Big Shug, and Group Home all appear. Meanwhile, other guests include Q-Tip, Talib Kweli, Royce 5’9″, and Nitty Scott MC. True to Gang Starr’s previous six albums, all songs are produced by DJ Premier.
Beginning in September of 2017, DJ Premier went to work on Gang Starr’s seventh album. “This album means everything to me,” Preemo said in a press release. “It’s a continuation of what I never wanted to end. It’s a very foreign place for me and very emotional. I get happy, sad, excited; my feelings are kind of all over the place. But predominantly, just very happy to be making music with Guru again.” Notably, Premier previously revealed that he assembled this album with some of Guru’s ashes present in Headqcourterz Studios. As Premier had done on many Gang Starr albums, he named the seventh release. One Of The Best Yet stems from one of Guru’s “You Know My Steez” verses, which also prominently part of “Full Clip.” The album arrives on Preemo’s TTT (To The Top) imprint in conjunction with Gang Starr Enterprises.
The news follows last month’s J. Cole-assisted video single, “Family And Loyalty,” which had Guru’s son appearing in the visual. A teaser video in September featuring voice-over from Nas also hinted that an album was coming.
However, a new single drops with this exciting news. “Bad Name” is trademark Gang Starr. Over a sinister DJ Premier beat (scratching in some vocals from his collaborator Edo. G), Guru says another rhyme that appears straight out of 2019.
“Word to God, if Big and Pac were still here / Some of these weirdos wouldn’t act so cavalier / We all know that the game has changed / It’s crazy out here, Rap’s got a bad name,” the smoky-voiced legend spits. “Think about it, what if bling never happened / And the true artists were gettin’ rich from rappin’ / Word to God, some should give / Less politics so real Hip-Hop can live.” The Ill Kid waves the flag for his culture, worldwide. He sees the decline in revenue in a changing climate, while briefly nodding to a Gang Starr classic in “Who’s Gonna Take The Weight?” He kicks more Guru greatness. “Nowadays, it feels like everybody’s losin’ it / Instead of preservin’ it, they’re all abusin’ it / It’s mad drama, they want us reachin’ for the llamas,” he says of gunfire. “And they forgot about the blood, sweat, and tears / Now we see the results of all the blunts, chicks, and beers.” Premier creates a chorus with the opening verse.
This song and its message sound relevant to today and always, true of Gang Starr’s gift.
Gang Starr’s One Of The Best Yet artwork and tracklist:
1. ‘The Sure Shot’ (Intro)
2. ‘Lights Out” feat. M.O.P.
3. ‘Bad Name’
4. ‘Hit Man’ feat. Q-Tip
5. ‘What’s Real’ feat. Group Home & Royce Da 5’9”
6. ‘Keith Casim Elam’ (Interlude)
7. ‘From A Distance’ feat. Jeru The Damaja
8. ‘Family and Loyalty” feat. J. Cole
9. ‘Get Together’ feat. Ne-Yo & Nitty Scott
10. NYGz/GS 183rd’ (Interlude)
11. ‘So Many Rappers’
12. ‘Business Or Art’ feat. Talib Kweli
13. ‘Bring It Back Here’
14. ‘One Of The Best Yet’ (Big Shug Interlude)
15. ‘Take Flight’ (Militia Pt. 4) feat. Big Shug & Freddie Foxxx
16. ‘Bless The Mic’
Notable songs include the fourth installment to 1998’s menacing “Militia” series featuring original Gang Starr member Big Shug and Bumpy Knuckles. Meanwhile, the Foundation’s Jeru and Group Home return to Gang Starr albums for the first time in more than 25 years. These were three New York City artists that Gang Starr signed to Payday Records in the mid-1990s. Preemo’s PRhyme partner Royce joins Group Home’s Lil Dap and Melachi The Nutcracker on “What’s Real.”
At AFH TV, DJ Premier provided a 20th-anniversary “Making The Music” in-depth interview regarding Gang Starr’s Moment Of Truth. There are other videos related to Preemo and Nas. We are currently offering free 7-day trials.
“Bad Name” and “Family and Loyalty” are presently included on the official AFH Playlist.