Friday, September 26, 2008

Soundtrack of My Life

Song: Mass Appeal
Artist: Gang Starr
Album: Hard to Earn (1994)

This is one of those duos that I can't believe more people who claim hip hop don't love. But at the same time, I'm glad people don't appreciate Gang Starr, because it leaves them to me and the people who really know.

Gang Starr was tight.

Long before Timbaland and Polow da Don were making the beats everyone craved, DJ Premier was the man. And before Primo was the man for hire, he was the man on the wheels of Gang Starr. Standing in front of him, gracefully dropping intelligent lyrics was Guru, an MC who goes down as one of the most underrated of all-time in my books.

This track embodies what I always loved (and currently miss) about Gang Starr.

The beat is simplistic but catchy; it's not something you've never heard before, but it's certainly not something you're going to rush to turn off after you've heard it a time or two.

I miss scratching and Premier delivers throughout the chorus and outro of this song.

As a general question, what the hell happened to scratching? It's one of the fundamentals of hip hop, a DJ mixing beats on the turntables, layering them together with cuts and scratches and it's all but disappeared.

And then there is Guru, just talking to you.

He's comes intelligently and even his curses fit, unlike in many songs today where it sounds like someone is dropping an f-bomb or the n-word just because it's on the checklist of Things That Make Up a Hip Hop Hit...

Just like baggy slacks I'm crazy hip-hop
Check one two and you don't stop
Your head'll bop when I drop my crop
of pure bomb, just like the seashore I'm calm
But wild, with my monotone style
Because I don't need gimmicks
Gimme a fly beat and I'm all in it
Word is bond I go on and on
For you it's tragic I got magic like wands
So I'ma end this lecture and I betcha
Those who kick dirt and do time I'm gonna get cha
Cause I be kickin the real
While they be losin the race tryin to chase mass appeal

Gang Starr has been off the grid for some time now; a Best of compilation came out a few years back and neither DJ Premier or Guru can ever provide a concise answer as to whether they'll reunite again or not.

That's part of the reason I have been so onto this song for the last couple weeks - I miss tracks like this and groups like Gang Starr - and if they never do reunite to wreak havoc again, than this track with stand in my playlist as their legacy.

And now you have a chance to enjoy it too.

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