General Jimmy

Writer / DJ / PR Manager / Fat Bastard

Archive for the tag “gang starr”

Five for the Funk – Guru

It’s a sad week for Boston. Whilst the city is reeling in shock from the marathon bombings it’s also the anniversary of one of their strongest musical exponents death this week, and more precisely today. Three years ago rapper Guru, one half of legendary group Gang Starr, died.

The aftermath was a lot of guff dissing his Gang Starr comrade Preemo via the cryptic will cum chain letter administered by DJ Solar, and whilst the truth around that was murky at best one thing that wasn’t was the fact the duo made some serious music. They maybe aren’t the most influential or finest hip-hop group ever, but surely the most consistent, with every studio album rammed full of classic joints.

As well as that Keith Elam pioneered jazz focused hip-hop even more with his Jazzmatazz projects, as well as the occasional guest verse proving his clout over and over again. It’s only right that the monotone master gets some five for the funk love. Roll up…

‘Full Clip’

This was the first song that really got me into Gang Starr. They were on my radar as a teenager but this video was a permanent fixture on MTV Base in 1999 when sciving school was a necessity so I could stay up all night watching hip-hop videos. The cameos in the video, the shout out to Big L (again someone who I was just abotu to discover properly), and Guru

I copped the album shortly afterwards as well and realised the full scope of the group’s longevity and ability. I’ve been head-nodding to them ever since.

‘DWTYCK’ ft Nice & smooth

Lemonade is a popular drink and it still is. That’s all.

‘Loungin’ ft Donald Byrd

Gang Starr’s early work in particular was very much focused on exploring old jazz, both from a sample perspective and the way DJ Premier approached his production ethos. Along with the Native tongues crew they were repsonsible for the re-appreciation of the genre in much the same way the music of three to four years earlier had grinded out the funk licks of James Brown and Amceo Parker. Gugu took the ideology one step further though with a number of high profile cooloborations with high profile jazz musicians on the Jazzmatazz projects.

This record featured trumpeter Donald Byrd, and was endemic of the kind of blissed out mellow brilliance capable when the two genres collided. Guru also took Byrd on tour with another legendary jazz supremo, Roy Ayers. Whether it’s been Nas teaming up with his father or ATCQ showing their love, the combination remains a potent one.

Digable Planets feat. Guru – “Borough Check”

Digable Planets were another crew that dug jazz, and this remains one of Guru’s dopest guest verses. Rhymes and rhymes and rhymes, this is a great smoky hip-hop joint.

‘You Know my steez’

Whilst Guru could do aggression he was best when mellowing it out, and even better when he was doing the former by being the latter. And it doesn’t get much better an example of that than this absolute gem. A hallmark Premier production, the melancholy melody sounding butter over the splurging bass, was met by a lyrical masterclass from Guru.

There’s gems everywhere, from the way “Dropping lyrics that be hotter than sex and candle wax, while one dimensional emcees can’t handle that” shows how to be about one thing yet in style the same minute he dismisses emcees for lacking his intelligence, the whole thing is perfect.

Hip-hop have had few as great in an understated manner.

B.I.G. Over Premier – DJ Premier And The Notorious B.I.G. Mix By DJ Finesse NYC

This is beyond mega. Preemo instrumentals with Biggie acapellas over the top, cut and spliced together with the right amount of deck technique. There’s nothing worse than a DJ thinjking his skills are more important than the music being played and Finesse lets Biggie’s bragging and Preemo’s pounding do the talking here. The result is astonishing.

Personal highlights include the laconic bounce of ‘Going Back to Cali’ riding deep over arguably Premier’s finest hour, the beat for CNN ‘Invincible’, and the feel-good genius of both Juicy and Nas is Like combining. And then he sacks it all off to let ‘Unbelievable’ sign things off. A fitting tribute to awesome talents.

Grab your dick if you love hip-hop.

DJ Finesse “B.I.G. Over Premier” Mixtape Tracklist:

1. DJ Premier Intro
2. Flava In Ya Ear rmx over I Gave You Power 

3. Big Poppa over Ex To Next Girl 

4. Dead Wrong over 2 Thousand 

5. 10 Crack Commandments over One Day 

6. Who Shot Ya over Come Clean 

7. All About The Benjamins over Supa Dupa Star (1994 Demo Version)
8. One More Chance over Recognize 

9. Long Kiss Goodnight over You Know My Steez 

10. Things Done Changed over The Format 

11. I Got A Story To Tell over Shit Is Real 

12. Real Niggas over Ready 

13. Juicy over Nas Is Like 

14. One More Chance rmx over Freaky Flow 

15. Warning (Freestyle) over Mind Ya Business 

16. ’95 Freestyle (7 Mac 11′s) over Who Got Gunz 

17. Victory over Project Boy 

18. Kick In The Door over Come Get Me 

19. Going Back To Cali over The Invincible 

20. Mo Money Mo Problems over Golden Child 

21. Party And Bullshit over Now Your Mine 

22. Unbelievable

DJ Premier – Five for the Funk

That Joey Bada$$ track ignited by Preemo got me excited for the hot Texan, so I decided to pluck five of my favourite beats he had gifted emcees over the years. Especially ones where he teased awesome performances out the of rappers sitting atop of them. Here we go…

Few rappers have been consistently brilliant with DJ Premier quite like Nas. During his ‘fallen’ years just before his career saving spat with Jigga, the only time Nas really sounded worthy of his Illmatic legacy was behind a Christopher Martin beat. On this track he may very well have exceeded anything on that album, the leisurely lyrical genius glides effortlessly over the beat which is an absolute master-class in eagle eyed sampling from Premier.

Technically this track isn’t a premier production in the classic bring the best out of a rapper mould, because he instead replaced the original production by Ron Browz after Lamont passed. That though misses the point, this takes an already amazing track and gifts it a relentless urgency such to the point most people sleep on the original. And of course Big L, one of the best braggadocio emcees of all time, delivers one of the finest deconstructions of slang that would prove the template for rappers across the globe to do the same.

Is this the best ever preemo beat? Hard to tell but it’s certainly up there, and the verse from ignorant shouter Noreaga is definitely the finest thing he has ever done as well. His penchant for getting head while he drives is mixed with the admittance his album was poor and a pleading to put it down to his dad dying; well out there for a rapper who had previously made a name for himself shouting whut a lot. Capone is ill too. Absolutely amazing.

This strung out soul classic came to light on D’Angelo’s ‘Voodoo’ album and the soundtrack to watchable but basically a bit shit Hype Williams film ‘Belly’. This however is so far from a bit shit it’s undeniable, an astonishingly deep and dirty track you can listen to over and over again.

Gang Starr were relentlessly consistent, such to the point that there’s a gluttony of records worth salivating over from the duo. However this is definitely my favourite, the opening salvo from Big Shug introducing the posse cut brilliantly (high point rhyming fear with square), Guru anchoring things perfectly before Freddie Foxxx annihilates the track at the end. His verse is one of the scariest and hardest things hip-hop has ever seen, encapsulating his appeal with the gambit “When you speak of who’s the dopest MC, I don’t come up, But when you speak of who’s the livest MC, I stay what up, what’s up?” which is one of about fifteen equatable in there. It’s breathless stuff and for the full lyrical content head here.

And if you’re still fiending for Premier dig his latest radio broadcast below.

Live From HeadQCourterz (01/11/2013) by Dj Premier Blog Radio on Mixcloud

Joey Bada$$ – “Unorthodox” (Produced by DJ Premier)

Oh this is heavy. Hip-hop’s new guard comes face to face with the old master as Preemo delivers a trademark beat for the Bada$$ to get heavy on. The result is a brilliantly produced and sonically clean track which is up there with some of the strongest beats the Gang Starr legend has ever delivered, all crafted with his squiggling scratches perfectly. And Joey definitely comes correct with his husky NY delivery. Get on it.

Greg Nice Live; Kane on the intro

Classic hip-hop in the building; Big Daddy Kane introduces Greg Nice for a performance as he tears into ‘DWYCK’. Smokin’.

Also dig the interview which led me to the video right here.

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