Tag Archives: Album Review

Old School Hip Hop Album Review: Gang Starr- Moment of Truth

Over the past year, we’ve made blogs about bands that we’re listening to and songs that we’re bumping. It’s all current stuff though so I figured it was time to do something a little different. Once every couple of weeks, we’re going to do an old school album review.

This time around, it’s

Gang Starr- Moment of Truth

This album dropped in 1998 or from my standpoint, my senior year in high school. So yeah, I listened to this CD while smoking a lot of weed and driving around with my friends. Gang Starr is epic for two reasons. The main reason is DJ Premier. He really came into his own and established the style that he would continue his career with. Unbelievable use of samples to make hypnotic beats and his go-to choruses, which were mash-ups of other rapper’s lyrics that fit together perfectly. DJ Premier has to rank in the top five beat makers of all times in my book. He never really was meant for commercial success but every dope east coast rapper from Biggie to Jay Z to naS have been blessed with Primo’s tracks.  The second reason for the success was the rapper of the group, Guru. While I’d never put him on any short list of my favorite rappers. He truly is distinct not only in his voice but in his elevated lyrics. Guru managed to mix in gangsta shit with raps about social consciousness and the struggles people (particularly people in the hood) went through. So, when you combine the sick beats with a distinct rapper with deep lyrics, you get something much realer than a lot of the other hip hop that was coming out at the time, and for that matter, what’s coming out today.

While Moment of Truth wasn’t their first album, I believe it’s their best. The album has an impressive twenty tracks and while there are definitely a few more that deserve their props, I’ve decided to focus on these seven bangers.

You Know My Steez- The first song on the album and a true, true banger. This beat is just as sick today as it was when it came out. One of the more recognizable tracks on this CD that has stood the test of time.

Royalty- Another banger of a beat, this song also features K-Ci and Jo Jo. A great example of how he can get much deeper on a track than your average mc.

Above the Clouds- This is the song when you fully realize that DJ Premier is in a zone on this album that very few DJs have ever been in. I don’t know where he came up with this beat, but it’s ridiculous. Also, a GREAT verse by Inspectah Deck. Inspectah was a true unsung hero of Wu Tang. Could never figure out how to put together a full album but was always good for an epic verse here and there.

JFK to LAX- This is a cool track and just shows the creativity of Gang Starr. Basically, it’s a song about Guru getting arrested and his views on the judicial system. Thumper beat as usual.

Moment of Truth- So, when you hear this song, working your way through the album, I think it finally sets in the type of CD this really is. One for the history books. This is a perfect example of how much deeper Guru gets in his raps than most MCs and combined with this hypnotic beat, it’s a true timeless classic. That and the cheesy chick with the accent at the very beginning always cracks me up! hahaha

My Advice to You- I wouldn’t rank this in my top songs on the album, but it’s still really strong. I had kinda forgotten about this track but as soon as I heard the background beat, it instantly clicked back in.

In Memory Of- There’s something both gangsta and touching about doing a tribute song to all the people in your life that have died in hip hop. It’s scary at how many people it is when compared to people in your life. This has such a strong beat and strong lyrics, it’s a great way to end the album. On on the topic of “In Memory of”, R.I.P. to Guru who passed away April 19, 2010 ago from a heart attack. Thanks for all the amazing music.

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