Am I to understand people here aren't talking about the new Gang Starr record?

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
What do people think? I quite like it, actually, despite their stalwart refusal to acknowledge that the last five years happened.

Ess, Friday, 25 July 2003 13:10 (sixteen years ago) link

Bleh. It's boring, derivetive, and stuck in some imagined golden age. The beats generally lack any kind of grace or snap; they're all just a monochromatic blur. And Guru's lyrics keep getting more and more embarrassing. The whole thing feels just like a genre excercise, like Jurrassic 5 or something. There was no reason to make this record.

The best parts are the guest spots. My favorite is Snoop, who comes on this "conscious" track talking about educate your mind and blah blah blah but just can't help himself; by the end of his verse he's talking about a car full of heaters and senioritas and stuff. Too funny.

Tom Breihan (Tom Breihan), Friday, 25 July 2003 13:31 (sixteen years ago) link

by the end of his verse he's talking about a car full of heaters and senioritas and stuff.

hee hee. to thine own self be true, & such.

Kingfish (Kingfish), Friday, 25 July 2003 13:40 (sixteen years ago) link

It's boring, derivetive, and stuck in some imagined golden age. The beats generally lack any kind of grace or snap; they're all just a monochromatic blur. And Guru's lyrics keep getting more and more embarrassing. The whole thing feels just like a genre excercise, like Jurrassic 5 or something.

Ouch. I don't know why, but for me, Premier's beats are just the most beautiful sound in the world -- it's like they're hardwired into my brain somehow. I know they're sort of graceless and a little anachronistic -- he's still scratching in vocal samples of other people for choruses! -- but that boom bap is just... (trails off, drooling).

And Jurassic 5? The rap Sha Na Na? That's not fair, is it? I always thought Gang Starr were more like rap's Ramones.

Ess, Friday, 25 July 2003 13:55 (sixteen years ago) link

If they're rap's Ramones, then this is what, their Too Tough to Die? Mondo Bizarro? When did the Ramones start sucking?

I love Premiere's beats in general, but the ones on this album just don't resonate for me at all. It's like I can barely even hear them. He's on autopilot. Exception: "Werdz from the Ghetto Child" is one minute and twenty seconds of awesome.

Tom Breihan (Tom Breihan), Friday, 25 July 2003 14:00 (sixteen years ago) link

"Werdz from the Ghetto Child" is one minute and twenty seconds of awesome.

I love that the guy on that song is named Smiley.

Ess, Friday, 25 July 2003 14:17 (sixteen years ago) link

And I love that Guru isn't on it. How awkward is he on the album? "Do that dance like Aphrodite cuz you mighty / might be the chick to make me trip just slightly" I mean, come on. That's just lazy and clumsy.

Tom Breihan (Tom Breihan), Friday, 25 July 2003 14:40 (sixteen years ago) link

I hear you on the lazy/clumsy front, but Guru's always been lazy and clumsy. From the beginning, he's always lagged a little bit behind the other MCs of the moment. This is, after all, the man responsible for the fabled "lemonade is a popular drink line" -- hardly a high point for rhymed verse by any standard. I find it sort of endearing or, maybe after dubbing this season the summer of Full Clip, I'm just used to it.

Ess, Friday, 25 July 2003 14:55 (sixteen years ago) link

After Hard to Earn (which was great), why did they even bother to continue?

In Guru's defense, I always heard that the verses on "Dwyck" were all off the dome, which makes a good case for the man, really - that "here's how it goes I am a genius, I mean this..." shit is pretty dope

roger adultery, Friday, 25 July 2003 15:26 (sixteen years ago) link

I'd heard the "Dwyck"-as-freestyle theory before, but Guru's work is so littered with clinkers that I'm inclined to think he's a little short on skeeelz. (One of the things I actually really like about Gang Starr is that so many of their songs center around mic aptitude while their MC is essentially a spirited amateur.)

After Hard to Earn (which was great), why did they even bother to continue?

This, on the other hand, is the thing that makes me sort of ambivalent about them. Their stated reason for continuing, which I prett much buy (I find it difficult to believe Preem, for example, is hurting for money), is that they're "protecting" "real" "hip-hop," which is to say hip-hop that sounds more or less like Gang Starr. I don't know if that's hip-hop rockism or something, but jeezis, what a puddish thing to say.

Ess, Friday, 25 July 2003 15:41 (sixteen years ago) link

Totally. And protecting it from who, exactly?

roger adultery, Friday, 25 July 2003 15:53 (sixteen years ago) link

Its a great fucking record. I think its probably their most solid album since Daily Operation - Hard To Earn and Moment Of Truth just had some throwaways. Its just nice to have something you can count on, and Gang Starr is about the most dependable and consistent hip-hop group there is. They've always kept it real simple - just a DJ and an MC. Beats and rhymes. Word em up. Word em out.

Johnny Badlees (crispssssss), Friday, 25 July 2003 16:31 (sixteen years ago) link

Totally. And protecting it from who, exactly?

"Fakes," presumably. Sigh. It's difficult when a band whose aesthetic you love embraces that aesthetic for profoundly dumb reasons.

Ess, Friday, 25 July 2003 16:46 (sixteen years ago) link

Guru's always had clunkers, and some of them have been really, really bad (although I think the "lemonade was a popular drink and it still is" line is kinda charming). But there's nothing else on this album. Nothing that sticks in my head, at least, and I don't want to listen to the album again to try and dig anything out, mostly because the beats aren't good enough to keep me entertained.

On earlier albums, especially Moment of Truth, Gang Starr seemed sort of at one remove from the pop-rap landscape, like they just didn't have too much to do with it and that was fine. On this one, they're like, "Fuck you, Nelly! Fuck you, Sean Paul! Fuck you, Chingy! We're gonna openly disparage all the fucking great production of the past five years! Come and get some of this monochromatic snare loop and cliche horn sample action!" And it's just not on, especially since the past couple of years have been very, very good to the pop-rap landscape.

I'm gonna go drink beer and listen to DJ Quik cuz it's Friiiiday. If anyone wants to argue with me about the fundamental shittiness of the new Gang Starr, save it till Monday, when I'll be bored enough to care again.

Tom Breihan (Tom Breihan), Friday, 25 July 2003 19:28 (sixteen years ago) link

This, on the other hand, is the thing that makes me sort of ambivalent about them. Their stated reason for continuing, which I prett much buy (I find it difficult to believe Preem, for example, is hurting for money), is that they're "protecting" "real" "hip-hop," which is to say hip-hop that sounds more or less like Gang Starr. I don't know if that's hip-hop rockism or something, but jeezis, what a puddish thing to say.

Wait, a Hip Hop artist, being egotistical? While I never!

The new single, with Jadakiss = best rap single I've heard in a longgg time. I love love love that beat. Very emotive.

David Allen, Friday, 25 July 2003 19:35 (sixteen years ago) link

Wait, a Hip Hop artist, being egotistical? While I never!

It's not the egotism of the statement that bothers me. It's the artistic philosophy behind it, which reads, essentially, "That which is not grimy and jazz-sampling and full of raspy voiced invocations of skills is not to be countenanced! It is still 1993!"

Unfortunately, I really like rap which is grimy and jazz-sampling and full of raspy-voiced invocations, etc. It's just not the only thing I like. And since this philosophy has effectively ruined NY underground rap (aside from the Def Jux willful avantgarde types, who have been ruined by pretension), I don't like to hear it from bands I like.

Ess, Friday, 25 July 2003 20:19 (sixteen years ago) link

After Hard to Earn (which was great), why did they even bother to continue?

I thought "Royalty" was a great cut of the record after Hard to Earn (Moment of Truth) but yeah ... the rest of that record was garbage. esp. the song about getting fitted at the mall ... I believe it was called "The Mall".

Daily Operation is a classic and is totally solid from top to bottom though. They did have their defining moment ... it was just years ago..

tk, Friday, 25 July 2003 20:48 (sixteen years ago) link

agree with johnny. plus, the stalwart refusal to acknowledge that the last five years happened is one of the reasons this is one of my favourite albums of right now. no it's not as good as albums 2 to 4 but so what ?

kieron, Saturday, 26 July 2003 05:25 (sixteen years ago) link

If I'd heard it and loved it I wouldn't talk about it on ILM, where pop-hop rules the roost. There's another old-school MC whose new album fucking slays but I'm just enjoying it in silence so as to avoid accusations of corniness, rockism, etc

J0hn Darn1elle (J0hn Darn1elle), Saturday, 26 July 2003 05:28 (sixteen years ago) link

please tell...

kieron, Saturday, 26 July 2003 05:30 (sixteen years ago) link

Jemini The Gifted One, surely? Or Aceyalone.

JoB (JoB), Saturday, 26 July 2003 08:06 (sixteen years ago) link

if it's Mix-a-Lot
that J0hn D speaks highly of
then he's fuckin' right

Haikunym, Saturday, 26 July 2003 13:00 (sixteen years ago) link

as for new Gang Starr:
they aim for respect not LOVE
very Brechtian

Haikunym, Saturday, 26 July 2003 13:04 (sixteen years ago) link

a refusal to acknowledge the last five years of hip hop? what shitty reviewer did you pick that up from?

simple: gangstarr has a style.

john0000000000000000, Monday, 28 July 2003 08:55 (sixteen years ago) link

I really hope John's talking about the new Keith Murray album, which pretty much destroys the new Gang Starr.

Tom Breihan (Tom Breihan), Monday, 28 July 2003 14:30 (sixteen years ago) link

john yr straw men are burning

strongo hulkington (dubplatestyle), Monday, 28 July 2003 14:47 (sixteen years ago) link

Def Jux kids pretentious? Explain.

John ain't talking about the new Aceyalone, because it's not very good. Keith Murray? Possibly. Haven't heard his new one yet. Couldn't be PMD (whose new album "features EPMD"...??!?!?)

Daily Operation, while easily Gang Starr's finest, is hardly without it's clunkers. "Mostly Tha Voice" comes to mind.

roger adultery, Monday, 28 July 2003 16:09 (sixteen years ago) link

Def Jux kids pretentious? Explain.

Well, I guess we're assuming that you agree with me that Def Jux is, to one degree or another, "ruined." (This is not, of course, unilaterally true.) But there's a high level of "We are not fun! We are not listenable! We are innovative!" in a lot of the Jukies work. Which wouldn't be bad if a lot of it weren't so unfun and unlistenable.

simple: gangstarr has a style.

That's true, and it's a style I quite like. But it's also true that there's no practical need for me to have as many Gang Starr records as I do -- except for a tendency to slow down and simplify as time has gone on, they sound almost exactly the same as they did nearly 15 years ago. There's nothing wrong with that, exactly, but my point is that the rhetoric that surrounds the aesthetic is stupid in the extreme.

Ess, Monday, 28 July 2003 16:52 (sixteen years ago) link

But there's a high level of "We are not fun! We are not listenable! We are innovative!" in a lot of the Jukies work.

Let me guess: you've heard one, no, two Aesop Rock songs and that I Phantom album-ending posse cut about nuclear apocalypse.

Nate Patrin (Nate Patrin), Monday, 28 July 2003 22:21 (sixteen years ago) link

Perhaps J0hn is speaking of the recent KRS One album?

JS Williams (js williams), Monday, 28 July 2003 22:33 (sixteen years ago) link

There's a recent KRS-One album? And nobody told me?

Nate Patrin (Nate Patrin), Monday, 28 July 2003 22:39 (sixteen years ago) link

(then again, I am reading the lyrics via ohhla.com and er um oh. Man. Uh...)

Nate Patrin (Nate Patrin), Monday, 28 July 2003 22:40 (sixteen years ago) link

Mostly the Voice was on Hard to Earn...and that beat is one of my favs.

oops (Oops), Monday, 28 July 2003 22:43 (sixteen years ago) link

Perhaps J0hn is speaking of the recent KRS One album?

Ding ding ding ding ding! We have a winnah!

Nate get your ass off ohhla and listen to the record, it's completely completely great

J0hn Darn1elle (J0hn Darn1elle), Monday, 28 July 2003 23:37 (sixteen years ago) link

"I rap about G-O-D/it's you that's frontin', not me" from the opening track singlehandedly relieved me of the terrible disappointment I'd had when Kris got born again

NB this is one of only a sprinkling of religio-ish lines on the record, which is part of why it's good

J0hn Darn1elle (J0hn Darn1elle), Monday, 28 July 2003 23:40 (sixteen years ago) link

Let me guess: you've heard one, no, two Aesop Rock songs and that I Phantom album-ending posse cut about nuclear apocalypse.

Naw. If anything, I'm responding more to older stuff -- Funcrusher, etc. -- and, aside from Rj and Can Ox (both of which are really great), it seems pretty obvious to me that the Def Jux crowd is kind of fun-averse. (Well, there's some punchline-heavy guys like Murs, but maybe he's not fun to me.) Especially when you put them against comparable work like the Stone's Throw crowd or even the Automator's stuff, the Jukie aesthetic is just too ahhhhhtistic for my tastes.

Ess, Tuesday, 29 July 2003 13:07 (sixteen years ago) link

there's some punchline-heavy guys like Murs, but maybe he's not fun to me

Murs got Humpty Hump to guest on his album = he is Fun Itself

J0hn Darn1elle (J0hn Darn1elle), Tuesday, 29 July 2003 14:37 (sixteen years ago) link

humpty hump is BACK
he guests on mix-a-lot too;
get looptid again!

Haikunym, Tuesday, 29 July 2003 14:44 (sixteen years ago) link

Murs got Humpty Hump to guest on his album

Whoah. Whoah. How was I not informed of this? What have I been doing with my life? This changes everything.

Ess, Tuesday, 29 July 2003 14:46 (sixteen years ago) link

I, Phantom has moments of fun mixed with moments of gravitas and little real "pretension" unless you make the mistake of glomming onto how expositional the liner notes are; any album that contains a song with the line "dead boss/somebody call Red Cross" is hellafied fun. Amidst all the beatnikularity of Fantastic Damage there's plenty of subtle (and unsubtle) humor/actin' retarded to ease the brunt ("when I strap on the blue cardigan we can be neighbors/DUDE, LASERS!"). And I've heard SA Smash called lots of things, but "artsy" wasn't one of them.

But oh dear lord stay AWAY from PFAC.

Nate Patrin (Nate Patrin), Tuesday, 29 July 2003 22:27 (sixteen years ago) link

Daily Operation, while easily Gang Starr's finest, is hardly without it's clunkers. "Mostly Tha Voice" comes to mind.

Yes, oops was right, that was on Hard to Earn.

That beat ... YUM. Shuffling, swanky, and that bass line is DEEP.

tk, Wednesday, 30 July 2003 06:14 (sixteen years ago) link

That Humpty Hump guest has a great bass line but don't expect too much: It's a Risky Business knockoff!

My date tonight told me a great Guru story, but I don't have permission to retell it yet, and it involves a gun...

Pete Scholtes, Wednesday, 30 July 2003 06:36 (sixteen years ago) link

I agree that Gang Starr's 'keep it real' ethic (& ditto aesthetic) can be extremely pointless and tiring. But that said, the new album ROCKS! I think that the beats are among Premo's best, and certainly better than most of the stuff on 'Monment Of Truth'. Especially the 'Put Up Or Shut Up' bassline's got me, and the production of 'Skillz' ( almost a 'Full Clip' II) is luvly.
I do recofnize the argument that not much water, if any, has passed under the bridge for the duo for the last many years. But hey, Tony Bennett still rocks, too. And Van Morrison. So view, if you will, Gang Starr as an oldies act that still knows how to roll the dice even thougn they don't really develop any more.

Jay K (Jay K), Wednesday, 30 July 2003 08:11 (sixteen years ago) link

sixteen years pass...

???

j., Tuesday, 5 November 2019 02:19 (two weeks ago) link

it's surprisingly good

corrs unplugged, Tuesday, 5 November 2019 10:20 (two weeks ago) link

so good to hear Jeru again

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 5 November 2019 17:17 (two weeks ago) link

it was fine, but it inspired me to revisit the ownerz, which is way better than i remembered

kanye kendrick frank kendrick frank kanye (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 5 November 2019 17:20 (two weeks ago) link

xp and group home guy

j., Tuesday, 5 November 2019 17:20 (two weeks ago) link

huh I didn't even notice Jeru

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 5 November 2019 17:21 (two weeks ago) link

yeah that's a fine review good work Whiney

Xia Nu del Vague (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 5 November 2019 17:22 (two weeks ago) link

richard pryor sample on the last track is a+

budo jeru, Tuesday, 5 November 2019 21:06 (two weeks ago) link

This is great until J Cole appears.

Matt DC, Tuesday, 5 November 2019 23:17 (two weeks ago) link

yeah that's exactly when i turned the record off then put on the ownerz instead lol

kanye kendrick frank kendrick frank kanye (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 5 November 2019 23:26 (two weeks ago) link

Lil' Fame & Billy Danze, national treasures

Yo, a wise man once said, "Fuck what a wise man said"
Bitch, gimme that bag otherwise y'all dead

......

Now fuck who ya crew is
fuck what the true is
Gang Starr forever
fuck what the new is

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 6 November 2019 17:26 (two weeks ago) link

I'm not a J Cole fan but his verse is fine

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Wednesday, 6 November 2019 17:34 (two weeks ago) link

i never listen to j cole so i don't recognize him when he comes on, win/win

j., Wednesday, 6 November 2019 17:54 (two weeks ago) link

Tom was wrong as hell itt

ILX’s bad boy (D-40), Wednesday, 6 November 2019 18:34 (two weeks ago) link

thanks, guys!

The Mandymoorian (Whiney G. Weingarten), Wednesday, 6 November 2019 18:40 (two weeks ago) link

I really hope John's talking about the new Keith Murray album, which pretty much destroys the new Gang Starr.

tbf this is a hilarious challop

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 18:50 (two weeks ago) link


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.