Monday, January 19, 2009

Old School Mondays:: Gang Starr (Posts we Manifest Edition)

Happy Monday friends, I hope where you are right now there isn't the insane combo of ice, snow, slush, and rain that we savoring here in Halifax. This past week the Ack used the word "manifest" in one of our many convos. Now what do you think of when you hear "manifest"? A Manifesto? Manifest Destiny? No, sorry poindexter, the answer is Gang Starr's Words I Manifest. Not only was the video for this song my intro to the legendary two man squad consisting of Guru and DJ Premier, but I think it's under-appeciated as far as old school classics go.

A quick bit of research revealed that we've only posted one Gang Starr song before on OSM, and that was the posse cut-esque DWYCK that was posted to highlight the awesomeness of Nice & Smooth. Well, that just won't do, because, like anyone who knows anything about hip hop and isn't a lame, I've always loved Gang Starr. Guru's simple-yet-dope flow and trademark voice have been long discussed, and considering Premo is still revered today as one of the best DJ/producers ever, if you have never heard any Gang Starr, you have some serious old-school homework to do. But no fear, let me help with some quick Gang Starr fun-facts:

- For some reason, I've long had a block on their name, spelling it in a number of incorrect ways: Gangstar, Gang Star, Gangstarr. Apparently, if the internet is to be believed, Gang Starr is the correct way to spell it.

- Guru was initially known as Keithy E. The Guru, but in the groups early days, he was often identified in photos by stellar publications such as Rap Pages or Word Up! as "Gangstar". This was confusing for junior high types like myself that devoured those magazines.

- Premier was known, awesomely, as Waxmaster C before he teamed with Guru. Would he have become as legendary if he kept the Waxmaster C moniker? Hard to say.

- Despite being widely credited as founding fathers of gritty NYC hip hop, neither is a native: Guru hails from Boston and Premier is a native of Houston.

- They've released 8 full-length albums, 2 of which (Moment of Truth & Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr) have gone gold.

Anyway, although Gang Starr's later albums like Step in the Arena and Hard To Earn are more likely to be brought up when people discuss the duo, No More Mr. Nice Guy is pretty great in it's own right. From Guru's leather pants and their Perfect Strangers-esque pose on the cover, to classic songs like the aforementioned Manifest to Positivity, Jazz Music, and the classic DJ track DJ Premier in Deep Concentration - which many DJ's have since done their own take on. So enjoy these jams, and check out the video for Manifest below, which is just classic golden age goodness (huge leather hats? Check. Malcolm X. glasses? Check. Rap dancing? Check. Purple long-sleeve shirt? Check. Five Percenter imagery? Check. Walks through abandoned buildings? Check. Yep, it's all here).


Gang Starr - Words I Manifest

Posted at 12:30 PM by naedoo :: 4 comments

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At 5:13 PM, Blogger The R.O.B. did sayeth:

Great pick.... my favs "Above the Clouds" (especially the Kennedy? quote at the beginning) "All 4 the Cash" "Discipline"


At 9:02 AM, Blogger naedoo did sayeth:

haha, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're way younger than me, because although I do enjoy Above the Clouds, choosing those jams over songs like Who's Gonna Take the Weight, Just to Get A Rep, Mass Appeal, The Militia, or even DWYCK is just wacky.


At 10:35 PM, Blogger The R.O.B. did sayeth:

Well, yeah, probably not WAY younger - but younger.

The problem that I have with those tracks (and that isn't to say that they're bad, or I dislike them) is that there's not enough of a flow with the production... for whatever reason, and this may be somewhat sacreligious around here, but I just don't digg Premier as a producer/DJ


At 8:49 AM, Blogger naedoo did sayeth:

Hey, we're done here, good night everybody!

I keed, and you're not blaspheming by refusing to submit to the cult of Premo, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But those jams I listed are kind of as close to golden age goodness as anything else I could think of, so I'm not sure there's much else to say.


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