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Step In The Arena

Gang Starr

1991

Step In The Arena

Album Summary

Step in the Arena is the second studio album by hip hop duo Gang Starr, printed as a 1990 release, and commercially released on January 15, 1991. In 2007, it was named the greatest hip hop album of all time by IGN.com. HipHopDX called it "the album that cemented Gang Starr as a timeless tag team."

Wikipedia

Rating

3.18

Votes

5235

Genres

  • Hip Hop
Reviews
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Tue Feb 16 2021
5

This is one of the most important hiphop albums ever produced even though a lot of folks outside of the scene haven't heard of it. In a time when hiphop was fracturing and trying desperately to find out what it was and what it could be, Gang Starr brought heavy, intellectual, clever lyrics over deeply funky boom-bap beats. The influence of this album can be felt in modern artists like The Roots, Sho Baraka, Nappy Roots, and Blackalicious. Musical significance aside, it's just real damn good. Just DAMN good. An absolute pleasure to listen to.

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Tue Jul 20 2021
5

Some of the smoothest rhymes and rhythms I've ever heard. This album has aged like a fine wine. I imagine it was considered rather intense when it came out, but in the rearview, it is so mellow and enjoyable. I never wanted it to end.

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Wed Feb 24 2021
2

“Step in the Arena” by Gang Starr (1991) Never heard the album or this duo, and my familiarity with the hip hop genre is quite limited. Musically, the producer in the duo, DJ Premier, puts together a fine background, providing solid rhythms and scratching, with some tentative forays into sampling. I’m sure this was innovative in 1991, and likely very influential, but it doesn’t seem to stand the ‘test of time’. Guru’s voice lacks expressive range, and in rapid phrases he frequently mumbles to retain the tempo. His tone is subdued, letting the startling nature of the words carry the artistic freight. That’s appealing. In terms of meaning, his lyrics are marked by self absorbed boastfulness, with an expansive range of metaphors from gladiators to those who covet luxury vehicles. It’s illustrated in the title track, “Step in the Arena”, which compares rap competition to lethal one-on-one combat. But the lethality serves no goal other than entertainment. There’s no consideration of the moral standing of the purveyors and consumers of these nihilistic spectacles. The meaning is “I’m the best” and that is to your detriment. He seems to want his listeners to want to adopt the same attitude. Here’s a significant line indicating that he is aware, even in 1990, that the rap/hip hop world was overpopulated with junk: “Abreast of the best in this rap mess Oversaturated market full of wackness” There is a form of intellect on display here. Skillful use of internal rhyme and other poetic devices without being mechanical. This is not doggerel. Plus, Guru is a keen observer of his culture. In “Who’s Gonna Take the Weight?”, Guru advances key themes of the message of the Nation of Islam. After an opening sample of a couple of lines from Malcolm X, Guru declaims, “I was raised like a Muslim”, which is highly unlikely, given his solid middle class background, but the selective appropriation of NOI themes continues. Ultimately the lyric lacks persuasiveness, chiefly because it is so self focused. Guru needs to enter the heart of the listener. These lyrics generally lack drama. There’s plenty of violence, and elaborate imagery, but little storytelling, redemption, conflict resolution, or artistic closure. It’s simply a catalogue of unanswered questions and unsolved problems (unless the answers and solutions boil down to “give everything to me”). The poetry usually evokes little emotion other than pity and perhaps fear. The one grand exception to this bleak assessment is the track “Just to Get a Rep”. It tells a powerful tale of a man who unnecessarily uses lethal force on a victim merely to enhance his own reputation. The victim recovers and returns to kill him, also motivated by the desire “just to get a rep” (reputation). The poetic composition powerfully invites the listener to consider whether it’s worth it. Of course it’s not. But one wonders how many listeners were persuaded in that direction. Not the greatest hip hop, in my admittedly limited experience. 2/5

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Thu Apr 08 2021
5

This is the finest example of old-school hip-hop I've heard yet. The sound is clearly indebted to the East Coast, and while there's not as much Southern innovation as say, Outkast, touches exist. The production and turntablism is insanely good. The flows are all relatively familiar ones from the era, but they're convincing and use enough tempo and theme variation to remain fresh.

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Sat Jan 30 2021
4

Loving the cool flavour and rhythm of this album! I have heard some tunes by Gang Starr before, but totally forgot about these guys. The first full Step In The Arena listen was a lot of fun chillin' in the crib, and then kickin' it a 2nd time in the car on an hour drive to hike in the woods was smooth as well. Banjo was salivating on that drive, so I assume he was diggin' too. The song Take A Rest represents most what I am enjoying from this record. Thanks dudes, it was refreshment after the desert of yesterday's album!

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Thu Jan 20 2022
1

This is not the album to convince me that hiphop is worth my listening time.

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Thu Feb 03 2022
1

I simply don't like rap. These two definitely don't have the most annoying voices in rap, so this is at least 1.5 stars instead of 1, but I'll still round it down for being super boring. I didn't make it past the fifth track. The pseudo-intelligent-sounding lyrics don't help either.

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Mon Aug 31 2020
5

Probably prefer Moment Of Truth but man, this is some great stuff. Just To Get A Rep is up there with the best they've done.

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Sat Jan 30 2021
5

Perfect! Brings me back to my love of hip hop. The rhymes and rhythms created by the rappers’ deliveries is east coast at its finest!

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Tue Jul 27 2021
5

I don't think anything Guru touches could be less than a 5. Absolutely love GangStarr and Guru is one of the best MCs of all time. 5/5

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Thu Jan 27 2022
5

A fantastic rapper and one of the best producers create an album full of brilliant, classic hip-hop tracks.

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Wed Feb 23 2022
5

You Gotta be kidding me, this is a top 10 hip-hop classic for me. Right up there with Illmatic, 36 Chambers and Low End Theory. Banger after banger on this Jawn. Straight fire!

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Fri Mar 04 2022
5

Never took the time to check out Gang Starr, but this was a pleasant surprise. It's hit and miss for me with hiphop and rap, but this hit me for sure. Smooth and groovy, just the way I like it.

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Thu Feb 18 2021
4

90s hip hop will always have a special place in my heart. It may not be for everyone, but this album demonstrates both great 90s hip hop production from DJ Premier, and great lyricism from Guru, in a collaboration that has gone on to be considered among the best for it's time, and onwards too, considering the latest releases from Gang Starr (posthumously from Guru). I have never heard this debut album, but I see why Gang Starr became so popular. This has everything you want out of that era, the jazzy samples, the social commentary topics, the little humorous skits, and the real chemistry that both artists demonstrate working together. The only reason I wouldn't give this a 5/5 is because I prefer other albums from that time (Tribe Called Quest do this all better IMO) but it's still fantastic.

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Tue Oct 26 2021
4

Hip hop with a purpose. Lyrically sound - good beats. Fun to listen to. Can definitely hear their influence in a lot of later hip hop. Only a few songs didn’t age as well because of that early 90’s “starter jacket” type feel. (Not that it’s a bad thing - just sounds dated today) Fave tracks: “Check The Technique” “Step In The Arena”

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Tue Mar 15 2022
4

It may be that rap albums hit some kind of pinnacle in the early 90s where the clean lyrics and fun rhymes grew into something more complex but also more raw in its content. Maybe that was an East vs. West type of thing. Notably, the album's sound includes a lot of jazz elements, simple beats, and a very modest yet effective DJ. Lyrically, it comes off as an inviting narrative to 'come and sit while I tell this story' and the listener is indeed compelled to do just that. Where rap music eventually turned into various outlets of strong expression, this album is way more conversational in its delivery and less confrontational. "Just To Get A Rep" or "Execution Of A Chump" stand out as the implications of violence that this portion of the hip-hop culture draws much of its emotion and content. Thing is, previously mentioned, the listener is compelled to hear this out. Over time, this subject matter has lost its importance because of its marketability and most people see it for that thirty years later as though Gang Starr knew that "Just To Get A Rep" is a reality moving forward. The album may have more musical reasons for being on this list, but for this listener and perhaps because of an old soul, this album creates a nostalgic desire for 21st century rap/hip-hop to come back with that authenticity. An authenticity that perhaps Gang Starr prophetically touched on in "Form of Intellect" with "...oversaturated market, full of wackness" and "get real, get deep, so you can keep involved, resolve and solve, so you can make the calls". If one pays attention to the current entertainment industry, the power figures in rap/hip-hop seemed to have heeded this advice. They may have come up from the streets per se, but they did not stay there. These men and women are now moguls in their own right, kings and queen makers of that world. "Step In The Arena" is a challenging album, maybe even a bit preachy but that's the value here and perhaps a more philosophical reason this album is on the list.

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Thu Jul 08 2021
3

Good album. I liked all the songs except 'Love Sick' (and even that one was ok). I can see myself listening to this again, now just to decide between 3 and 4 stars...

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Mon Mar 08 2021
2

Nothing other than production stood out to me

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Mon May 24 2021
2

It's rap and nothing special

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Thu Nov 11 2021
2

Not a fan of Gangster rap. Lyrics were clean which is interesting.

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Thu Dec 02 2021
2

I'll give credit due when its due. Gang Starr have good rapping vocals and their sound isn't cheesy like a fair chunk of rap/ hip hop music around that time. There are a couple of decent songs here too. But as a whole this was as interesting as a ham sandwich, has the essential elements but nothing enticing for me.

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Fri Feb 11 2022
1

If this is the greatest hip hop album of all time, then I should probably stop giving hip hop a chance.

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Tue Mar 15 2022
1

Hip Hop - 0.5/5

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Fri Oct 16 2020
5

Old skool rap

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Wed Feb 10 2021
5

Some of the most solid roots of all good hip hop

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Sat May 08 2021
5

Really enjoyed this album. Need to revisit it again!

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Sun Feb 28 2021
5

For lange sanger

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Sat Mar 13 2021
5

Incredible. End to end amazing vocals lyrics and production. Love it.

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Sat Jan 30 2021
5

AWESOME. consistent and complete hip hop album

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Wed Jul 14 2021
5

GANG STARR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Mon Jan 25 2021
5

A revelation - really enjoyable

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Fri Mar 26 2021
5

Never listened to it all the way through, very good

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Wed May 12 2021
5

Old school hip hop at its finest

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Fri Jun 18 2021
5

Wow, the lyricism and flow are amazing. I think Check the Technique or Lovesick was my favorite, but honestly I enjoyed every track. I will be purchasing this and adding it to my collection :)

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Thu May 13 2021
5

DJ Premier!!! Super smooth old skool hip hop, very very good

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Fri Jul 09 2021
5

Ohhhh Shit, Gang Starr 4 Life!!!!

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Wed Jul 28 2021
5

5/5 - Forever Dope

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Wed Oct 13 2021
5

The prototype for 90s group gangster rap. Smoother than NWA but harder than west coast G funk, it's super awesome.

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Mon Nov 15 2021
5

like

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Thu Nov 18 2021
5

Okay więc jest bardzo dobrze. Mam wrażenie, że jeden z moich nowych ulubionych albumów hip hopowych. Nawet nie wiem co mówić bo wszystko mi się podobało. Ulubione kawałki: check this technique take rest say ur prayers just to get a rap step in the arena.

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Wed Dec 01 2021
5

Loved it

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Mon Dec 27 2021
5

Very cool album! I’m really trying to discover more rap so this really helped.

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Wed Jan 19 2022
5

18th January 2022 Listened on the way to book club at the standard. 90s hip hop. Love it.

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Wed Feb 16 2022
5

Wow c'est très bon. Je vais certainement réécouter l'album. 5

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Mon Mar 07 2022
5

Classic hip-hop that I had never heard before. I loved it though, and will definitely hunt out more of their stuff. Execution of a chump, and the meaning of the name were my favourites first time through, but I will revisit it to pick up the lyrics and flow of some of the denser tracks too

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Fri Apr 08 2022
5

Immaculate flow with a classic sound and classic beats. A genuine time capsule.

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Mon May 16 2022
5

Incredibly important hip hop record smooth beats and dangerous rhymes a truly enjoyable listen, influenced many artists like the roots etc

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Wed May 18 2022
5

So many samples!

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Tue Jul 05 2022
5

I liked it. Reminds me of ATCQ

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Thu Jul 14 2022
5

90s Hip-hop are one of my favourite genres. So safe to say this went down very well.

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Sat Jul 30 2022
5

Base

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Fri Aug 19 2022
5

4.6⭐️

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Mon Aug 29 2022
5

East Coast Hiphop,old school,smooth and tense,real Classic!

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Wed Sep 14 2022
5

Never heard Gang Starr before but this is amazing. Great flow. Old school hip hop Reminds me of J5 or Abdominal...

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Wed Sep 14 2022
5

Awesome album

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Sun Sep 25 2022
5

This is why I downloaded the app

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Mon Sep 26 2022
5

This is a band at the top of their game. Guru is greatly missed

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Tue Nov 01 2022
5

Listens: 2 Enjoyed: fuck yeah Never really delved into Gang Starr but fuck this is a great album. I don't think there is a single skipable track

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Thu Nov 03 2022
5

Always had a soft spot for these guys was shocked to hear Guru passed had no idea. At a time when hip was going going gangsta these guys did something different something jazzy. Hi class

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Wed Mar 03 2021
4

Don't normally listen to hip hop but this was enjoyable.

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Mon Feb 01 2021
4

Great early rap album.

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Mon Jul 05 2021
4

Another great album that is outside of my normal wheelhouse. I'm not sure which school of hip hop this one falls in, but I like it. Would definitely listen again. 4 stars.

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Thu Jan 21 2021
4

Really great album that flies under the radar! This is up there with Eric B and Rakim, but might actually be better! Great flow, and hits hard.

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Thu Jan 21 2021
4

Fav Song: Check the Technique

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Tue Feb 02 2021
4

4 stars

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Tue Mar 16 2021
4

I think I like early rap better than late 90s and 2000s rap. I think it had a different sound and purpose. And I think my own feelings of “I don’t like rap” from that time period were probably colored by my influences.

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Mon Jul 12 2021
4

and, for whatever reason, i liked this one way more than Ready To Die, which was yesterday's pick. just felt right

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Thu May 27 2021
4

I think I have learned from this challenge that I like hip hop! I guess I also associated rap with like Snoop Dog and 50 Cent and PDiddy and whatever was in the 90s/00s charts which was really shite. This though- there's great beats in this, love the 90s sound, dunno the right terms but like the sampling and scratching. The rapping is pretty chill and smoothly rhythmic, lulling and poetic.

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Wed Mar 24 2021
4

A little too long for this early 90s style, but I really enjoyed this album. Jazz beats and great wordplay make this a great departure from the previous hip hop we’ve listened to.

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Wed Feb 24 2021
4

I really enjoy this era of hip hop. Arrested Development, Public Enemy, De La then prearranging taste of music to come in the following years.

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Fri May 21 2021
4

Was für einen Unterschied Kopfhörer machen können! Zuerst dieses Juwel über Boxen und nicht besonders laut gehört - ganz nice, aber nun wirklich nicht aufregend. Hörte man bisschen so weg. Dann am späteren Abend noch mal mit - basstarken - Headphones, und oh my God: Primo, das biste ja! Dichte Samples, aber knochentrocken und locker gestreut, luftig, reduziert und (rate mal ...) jazzy. Schon fast jeepig, aber andererseits wahnsinnig kultiviert. Gurus Rapstyle - ja, das machte man damals so, mit dem Preaching und der Berichterstattung und der Consciousness. Vielleicht heute bisschen dated (im Gegensatz zu Premiers wirklich immer freshen Beats), aber trotzdem I like it. Wirklich schöne (wieder-)Entdeckung!

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Fri May 21 2021
4

„But yo I don`t look for hassles, my rhymes are like castles“ Gang Starr‘s soft power ist so heilsam genrefern, dabei stark und mit ordentlich Rückgrat gegenüber „the weak stuff you heard from those creampuffs“. Und wie ausgeglichen, gar aus männlicher Sicht feministisch „Lovesick“ mit toxischer Eifersucht umgeht, hab ich im US Rap auch noch nie gehört. Die Beats wirken anfangs altbacken, nehmen mit der Dauer an Schärfe zu, bleiben aber lässig und manche bass line könnten die Beastie Boys eingeschnürt haben, wie im ohnehin handwerklich großartigen „Take A Rest“. Sanftmütige 4.1

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Sat Feb 06 2021
4

My favorite type of hip hop

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Thu Jan 28 2021
4

Nearly a five after a couple of listens, laid back rap, like Erik b and rakim

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Wed Feb 17 2021
4

90's East Coast Hip Hop, yes please

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Thu May 27 2021
4

Really nice hip hop album, very chill

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Thu Mar 11 2021
4

Liked it

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Wed Jul 14 2021
4

DJ Premiere is the be of the greatest producers of all time and Guru is a great MC but there are better Gangstarr albums.

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Tue Apr 06 2021
4

Again, one song, but it's a bloody good one! Must have been hugely different from other rap when it was released.

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Tue May 04 2021
4

Relaxing

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Wed Apr 21 2021
4

Very consistent album filled with some nice beats and some good lyrical flow

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Wed May 19 2021
4

Great album. I enjoyed it and will listen again.

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Thu Jun 24 2021
4

Solid hip-hop. Lyrics along the lines of "Watch me rap better than you" which I prefer to the "I'm going to kill you" vibe. Samples were catchy but repetitive within a track.

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Wed Jul 07 2021
4

Niet mijn kopje thee, maar door de pure eenvoud van de muziek pakt het me stiekem toch. Ik zal het niet gauw zelf opzetten, maar waardeer het toch met 4 sterren omdat ik wel kan horen hoe goed het is

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Wed Jul 07 2021
4

Super album! Echt een aanrader wat mij betreft. Lekker oldschool met goede beats.

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Sat Jul 24 2021
4

Hugely influential. Some of the rhymes didn't age super well, but the influence on subsequent hip hop duos is clear. Best track: Just to Get a Rep

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Mon Aug 23 2021
4

Riiktigt bra. Dock för långt

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Mon Aug 30 2021
4

clean and unique sound. coulda done without a few filler songs. excellently produced. enjoyable good 90s hip hop 😈

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Fri Sep 17 2021
4

ЧТО: Второй студийный альбом хип-хоп дуэта из Бруклина. Признанная классика хип-хопа. Группа, каждый альбом которой продавался многомиллионными тиражами. КАКОЙ: Классический хип-хоп из 90-х. Много джаза, ритм-н-блюза, фанка и соула в сэмплах. Мелодичный ярко выраженный бас. Развитая техника сэмплирования. Я уловил только очевидное (например, сэмпл из Rapper’s Delight), уверен, там очень много всего. Чувствуется, что Gang Starr с Восточного берега. Они сочетают африканскую музыку с танцевальной, подхватывая свой уникальный стиль. Получился мягкий джаз-рэп времён расцвета американского хип-хоп олдскула, который заметно контрастирует с жёсткими остросоциальными мотивами в творчестве их, если так можно сказать, коллег: Public Enemy и Run-D.M.C. Довольно революционно звучит интерлюдия посреди альбома. Это сейчас их стали пихать когда можно и когда нельзя. В то время это было редкостью. О ЧЕМ: Лирика альбома, естественно, не обходится без сторителлинга. Альбом полон рассказов о женщинах, трудностях жизни чёрного человека в Америке, о религии. Важная тема - мастерство исполнителей. Они доказывают, что лучше всех управляются на битах. Об этом свидетельствует и название. DJ Premier и Guru предлагают всем, кто их критикует, выйти с ними на арену и разобраться. На Check the technique они советуют их соперникам в игре (как бы это не звучало) поработать над своей техникой, чтобы быть с участниками Gang Starr на одном ринге. Это те основы, без которых не обходится хип-хоп. Это базис хип-хоп культуры как образа жизни и принципа творчества. Это не мои выдумки; а то, что говорят об этом классические исполнители и преданные слушатели этой музыки. ИТОГ: Замечательный хип-хоп альбом. Повлиял на звук многих современных рэперов. Обильное использование джаза и интерлюдии - то, что стало можно значительно позже. Это альбом-заявление, который начинается с того, что участники дуэта представляются. Они не собираются прятаться и готовы доказать, что лучшие в игре (ещё раз извиняюсь за слово «игра» в этом контексте). Альбом не зря назван классикой хип-хопа.

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Mon Sep 20 2021
4

(Old S)Cool & the Gang

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Mon Sep 27 2021
4

good shit, really nice production and fun lyrics. i’ll give it a 7/10, overall just really cool.

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Mon Oct 04 2021
4

good shit 4

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Tue Oct 12 2021
4

Very cool hip hop album. Not perfect, but it's a fun classic rap album

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Tue Oct 19 2021
4

10/19 Smooth beats matched with superb storytelling and sharp lyricism. Standout Tracks: Execution of a Chump, Beyond Comprehension, Lovesick, Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, Just To Get a Rep, Precisely the Right Rhymes, The Meaning of the Name

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Tue Oct 26 2021
4

Strong album, I'd listen again!

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Tue Nov 02 2021
4

I’m not sold on these cats. They were influential on the East Coast rap scene, and in some ways, directly responsible for Wu-Tang Clan. There is a hardcore thread running through this record that definitely shows up in future artists. They had some sick rhymes with lyrical substance, but it never really gets cooking on the album. It’s reminiscent of ATCQ, but with none of the excitement or verve. It’s just kind of…there. (7/10) FT: Step in the Arena, Execution of a Chump

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Thu Nov 11 2021
4

Fantastic, obvious root and influence of many mcs to come

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Thu Nov 18 2021
4

Nie mam dużo do powiedzenia na temat tego albumu, uwielbiam oldschoolowy hiphop, a ten krążek mimo że nie zaskoczy nikogo niczym w 2021, to jednak nie zestarzał się ani trochę bo doskonale się broni od strony muzycznej i produkcyjnej jako takie klasyczne brzmienie HH, ciepłe, organiczne (dzięki charakterystyce sampli i wokali) i lekko niesforne. W chuj duży podziw dla głównego producenta za całokształt i consistence albumu, a dla guru za consistent flow (warstwie lirycznej nie miałem okazji przyjrzeć się z bliska gdyż nie jestem na tyle obeznany z tekstem). Ulubione kawałki: Step In The Arena (nostalgiczne wrażenia, mimo że nie grałem nigdy w GTA), Who's Gonna Take The Weight, Game Plan (fajny przerywnik, chociaż niekoniecznie ciekawe jest przejście z niego w nastepny utwór pod względem kompozycji), Take A Rest (ten jeden bardziej obskurny sample mnie kupuje wraz z dynamiką tego kawałka i przerzucaniem sie między samplami, które momentalnie zmieniają charakter kawałka), Just To Get A Rep, Precisely The Right Rhymes.

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Fri Nov 19 2021
4

Classic hip hop doesn’t get much better than this

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Sat Nov 20 2021
4

Really enjoyed this one. Great slab of hip hop

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Mon Nov 22 2021
4

Love 90s rap! Definitely will need to listen again.

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Mon Nov 29 2021
4

Everything 90s rap was trying to be.

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Tue Nov 30 2021
4

Lotta bars

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Thu Dec 16 2021
4

Super funky fresh flow and groooooovy

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Thu Dec 16 2021
4

Great flow, good beats. 90’s hip hop is the best.

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Mon Dec 20 2021
4

Not bad. Decent rap album

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Mon Jan 03 2022
4

Wow. Great album. Group I have heard spoken about a lot, and now I get it. Put this up there with Tribe Called Quest as some of my favorite rap progenitors.

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Wed Jan 05 2022
4

Pure, clean flow. I don't normally listen to rap, but this was actually a very good listen.

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Mon Jan 17 2022
4

Okay so I'm not really a fan of alot of mainstream rap mainly for lines like "never stop thrustin into your system" which kinda caught me off guard but some songs i really really loved on this album One of my fav tracks was the execution of a chump cos i really loved the beat and the sound 4/5 pleasantly surprised <3

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Fri Jan 21 2022
4

Wasn't familiar-now I am! Listened to Gang Starr all day. Who's Gonna Take the Weight was my fave song, but no bad ones here imo!

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Fri Jan 21 2022
4

I liked this one. Very smooth flow and great beats. Good lyrics too. Would definitely listen again.

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Fri Jan 21 2022
4

Surprisingly, I liked it. This just might encourage me to seek out more simmilar hip hop

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Wed Jan 26 2022
4

Funky Funky Funky - Funky Beats from Premier and Rhymes from the MC represented the common man. Had a lot of fun with this

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Fri Feb 04 2022
4

back to back, let's go!

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Thu Feb 17 2022
4

Prefs: Step in the Arena, Who's Gonna Take The Weight?, Check The Technique, Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, Street Ministry, Just To Get A Rep, As I Read My S-A Moins pref: Precisely The Right Rhymes

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Tue Mar 01 2022
4

Never heard this and really, really liked it.

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Tue Mar 01 2022
4

Fine - didn’t finish yet

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Fri Mar 04 2022
4

Step in The Arena, Daily Operation, Hard To Earn - they always sounded equally good to me - just very consistent, high-quality rap albums- and to have one of these albums included in the 1001 list is very nice.

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Tue Mar 15 2022
4

Guru has an iconic voice

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Fri Mar 18 2022
4

4.25

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Tue Mar 22 2022
4

I enjoyed this album quite a bit. The samples and beats were classic east coast hip hop with the jazzy feel and the vocal delivery was very intentional and methodical. Though this album was long, I was able to get through it without any fatigue

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Fri Apr 01 2022
4

dikke priem, wel veel van hetzelfde maar daarom juist chill om dit te luisteren tijdens het leren

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Mon Apr 04 2022
4

Very nice. I liked it!

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Tue Apr 12 2022
4

This is the second Gang Starr album that I've heard, and it’s much better than the one that I listened to. Production on this album isn't that crazy, but I can excuse that. I feel like when Dr. Dre released The Chronic just one year later is when production really got amazing, with all the amazing samples that he used. The chemistry between Gang Starr and DJ Premier is just fucking amazing. I mostly know DJ Premier for the stuff that he's done with Ye, Eminem and Royce Da 5'9, but he's been given us these amazing scratches for so long that it's obvious why people would have him on their album. The only times that I've really listened to Gang Starr is when his 8 Mile track comes on, but I feel like that has to change after this. The cover art is kind of basic, but I can forgive it. It was the 90's, and It’s cool to me such a young Gang Starr and DJ Premier. Also, the font that they use is pretty cool. Favourite track would be "Execution Of A Chump", because it sounds like this is something that actually happened to Gang Starr due to the rone that he is using. Least favourite track would be nothing, since I have no idea if I tracks are worse than other Gang Starr tracks, since I haven't heard many 9/10

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Sat Apr 16 2022
4

I always think of myself as someone who doesn’t like rap and hip-hop but whenever I hear this earlier stuff from the 90s I really like it.

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Sat Apr 16 2022
4

classic 80s/90s rap. solid beats and tight rhymes. nothing flashy, just simple and well-executed.

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Sat Apr 16 2022
4

I really loved the run of songs from "Who's Gonna Take the Weight" to "Check the Technique." I ended up loving this album. A nice refresher from the past few we've listened to as I was excited when each new song started. The lyrics were snappy, smart, and could be anything from funny to poignant.

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Mon Apr 18 2022
4

Great stuff. And the first time I've heard The Band sampled.

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Mon Apr 18 2022
4

I really dig it

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Mon Apr 18 2022
4

Guru could read a dictionary and I would listen to it

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Thu Apr 21 2022
4

This is yummy

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Thu Apr 21 2022
4

Guru's a great rapper but Premier's production in this is on another level. Great record.

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Fri May 06 2022
4

The execution here is on point. Everything solid about MC/rapper combos is here. The flow is confidently smooth and laced with intelligence. The 90's is heavily here without needing all the "it was the times" qualifiers. Those pieces of The Chronic, The Predator, and The Low End that aged horribly are missing here without losing the cultural relevance to the moment of its creation. That elevates the work. Maybe it wasn't on the charts like those other albums but the slow burn here is a legacy play that'll last longer.

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Fri May 06 2022
4

rap innit

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Tue May 10 2022
4

Very enjoyable chill album. Very easy to listen to the lyrics.

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Thu May 19 2022
4

Awesome 90s Hip-Hop album. Great lyrics.

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Sun May 22 2022
4

I've heard great things about Hard to Earn and Moment of Truth, so I'm glad my expectations were met with this record. In a time where gangsta rap was on the rise, we have rappers like Q-Tip and Guru with smooth verses and intricate samples. It's simple, no experimental sounds, the songs don't evolve much, and they're fairly short, with tracks in the 2nd half hardly ever passing 3 minutes. This just an MC and his DJ, and it's among one of the best I've seen. Excellent scratching, beats, mixing, and pacing. Samples are groovy: jazz, funk, and soul. It suffers as expected. It's a bit too long for 50 minutes. And I found myself spacing out for many of the tracks. By the 2nd half, there were only a few highlights that would attract my attention. Also the cut to "As I Read My S-A" was harsh and loud. Favorites: Step Into the Arena, Who's Gonna Take the Weight, Check the Technique, Precisely the Right Rhyme

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Wed Jun 08 2022
4

4.5

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Wed Jun 15 2022
4

I well enjoyed this. I liked that some of the songs were about quite banal things like your girlfriend getting jealous and changing weekend plans. I thought it was really easy listening with fun samples. I think Avalanches must have re sampled some of these. Would listen again

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Sun Jul 10 2022
4

Relaxed, vibey, chill 90's hip hop. I could put this on to unwind to, and the interplay between the flow and the beats seems to bring out more than the sum of their parts. Who knew Ringo's son had this in him?

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Wed Aug 03 2022
4

Great rhymes, solid vocals, classic hip hop production. Always a solid listen!

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Fri Aug 12 2022
4

Very solid old school. Where Premier came from before PRhyme. Understated beats and conscious lyrics.

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Tue Aug 16 2022
4

Cool classic 90s rap music. I enjoyed the lyrics, flow, and beats. I will definitely check out more of their discography.

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Sun Aug 28 2022
4

Smooth

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Sat Sep 03 2022
4

Great example of old school rap. This came out at a time where the world was getting tired of it so I don't think this really got its due. I think if it came out a couple of years earlier more people would be aware of it. I sort of dismissed it at the time but looking back it really equals if not surpasses anything else like it. No real variety in sound but clever and smooth lyrics make up for that. These days though I don't really have a reason to listen to old school rap unless it's for nostalgia and this doesn't do that for me.

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Sun Sep 04 2022
4

Þetta kom á óvart. Frábært stykki

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Tue Sep 06 2022
4

Dj Premier is my favorite producer of all time. All of his beats are classic & you can hear the hunger in Guru's rhymes. This is definitely old school with the squealy beats & melodies & admittedly I much prefer their late 1990s beats, but it's fun to go back and see where they started.

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Fri Sep 09 2022
4

I enjoyed this one a lot. Negative: the flows get a little tedious and after a while it’s tough to pay attention to all the raps. Positives: interesting subjects, great rhymes and lyricism, great beats. 7/10

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Mon Sep 12 2022
4

Great album. I'd previously only heard a couple of Gang Starr songs however I'd imagine a few of these will make their way into regular listening.

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Thu Sep 15 2022
4

This was a good album! I enjoyed listening. I appreciate a good rap album like this one. Notably, 'Lovesick' 8/10

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Fri Sep 16 2022
4

Not my thing, but it can be heard in the back.

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Sat Sep 24 2022
4

Nice to listen to in the background, good beats and good rhythm

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Mon Sep 26 2022
4

Old school rap. Love this stuff. The tunes take me back to high school, and even though back then I truly didn't get the lyrics or the music, it's something I really appreciate now. Pieces like "As I Read My S-A" have a lyrical acumen that you don't hear in a lot of rap nowadays. It reminds me a lot of De La Soul, actually. And it wanted me to look for more. Definitely not something I do with a lot of albums. No skits or throwaway songs, these were all coherent to the album, fitting very well. If you had not heard of Gangstarr, this is probably a good one to listen to because it sold me on them.

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Fri Sep 30 2022
4

nice and mellow with a bit of an ladies love Cool James vibe. a little bit irritating that he just banged on about how bloody good at rapping he is.

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Sat Oct 08 2022
4

This is solid

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Tue Nov 22 2022
4

In general I like the groove in this album. It<s slow and sensual. There are some annoying noises in a couple of the songs but in general I can easily swing to it. The rapping is subtle and understated which works for me. Reminds me of Rapture by Blondie or Grandmaster Flash. As with many rap albums it sounds a little samey by the time you get through the middle and for me it can be difficult to make it through the whole album, thankfully though it does clock in at less that 50 minutes (barely), so that's a plus. 2nd time through better than the first. Getting the idea that each song is a vignette, a character study that gets its point and theme across and then moves on. No unecessary fat. I tend to like this rap style like Tribe Called QuestI'm tempted to give it 4 stars. In fact I will.

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Wed Nov 23 2022
4

Gang Starr (Guru i DJ Premier) su jedan od najjačih dueta u hip hopu. Meni su u top 5, ako ne i u top 3. Guru sa svojom vještačkom rimom, flowom, glasom na mikrofonu i Premier sa svojim nikad lošim produciranim stvarima naprave kaos u pozitivnom smislu. Jest da su se još pronalazili ovdje kako bi dalje napravili bombe od albuma - svejedno, ovaj album je važan za slušati ukoliko želiš ući u njihov teritorij iliti arenu. Miris stare škole.

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Wed Nov 23 2022
4

Zapravo dost dobro. Pjesma who's gonna take the weight mi je najdraža.

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Thu Nov 24 2022
4

Definitely must the same era as Public Enemy who I'm sure came first.

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Mon Nov 28 2022
4

Gang Starr - one of best yet. But maybe not yet fully developed at this stage. Similar vein to Eric B & Rakim and Boogie Down Productions, a quality duo with classic samples and awareness in the lyrics. The album just got a bit macaroni cheese for me: I like Macaroni, I like cheese but after 50mins of nothing but macaroni and cheese I need something else in the mix to spice things up.

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Thu Dec 01 2022
4

Really enjoyable and I don't tend to like sample loops. Guru is just super chill and smooth.

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Thu Feb 25 2021
3

More song I knew than I realised! Good chilled out early hip hop!

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Wed Jun 02 2021
3

Melko solidia old schoolia

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Mon Oct 19 2020
3

This is amazing. I love the musicality of this album. The production does have an 80's vibe but not in the synth way that I usually think of 80's music. I will be listening to this again for sure.

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Fri Jan 29 2021
3

Good lyrics, not my favorite delivery. Beats are okay, “softer” than most rap from the time.

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Sat May 29 2021
3

A great rap album from the early 90s.

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Sun Jul 11 2021
3

Enjoyed this one more than some of the other 90s hip hop. Lyrically strong without unnecessary excessive profanity. I'm trying to focus more on the lyrical quality of this genre to help me enjoy it more.

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Mon Mar 29 2021
3

Some good beats and classic messages

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Sat May 08 2021
3

That bell sound is back on Say Your Prayer, fucking love that little bell. This was a 3 until I read that all this is produced with two turntables. The production was getting a bit repetitive but if all they're working with is samples on a turntables then fair enough. His rhymes are a bit cheesy at times but all up pretty sick.

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Wed Mar 31 2021
3

DJ Premiere! Otherwise, sure it’s pretty good.

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Mon Jun 14 2021
3

Consistently great, classic, sample-heavy production from DJ Premier. Guru is a solid rapper, but ESPECIALLY in this early album, it's a lot of early, not-very-interesting cliched styles.

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Sat Feb 06 2021
3

Solid rap and beets. I wasn’t wowed by anything.

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Sun Feb 21 2021
3

Liking the low-key delivery and presentation; this drink goes down smooth. 6/10

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Fri Apr 09 2021
3

Ganstar rap is exactly what it is: old school rap. Not particularly great, but not bad either

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Mon Mar 08 2021
3

This is old-school rap at its finest, plenty of great classic soul/funk loops and thoughtful rhymes.

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Tue Jan 26 2021
3

Old school hip hop. It might be key record back in the day, now it sounds dated and not special...

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Sun Mar 28 2021
3

5.5

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Tue May 04 2021
3

3.3 - Classic old school hip hop sound. Sunny, poppy, "conscious." Some corny rhymes here and there, but overall there's plenty to like.

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Thu Jan 28 2021
3

Ayy I've listened to this one before. Big Mos Def vibes but not as good

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Fri Mar 26 2021
3

Not quite sure how these guys had passed me by until now. Coming to it 30 years late it obviously sounds pretty old school but you can see the influence they had on loads of people who came after them, including some of my favourite artists like Jurassic 5. Enjoyed it, but probably enjoy what it led to more.

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Sat May 08 2021
3

Not usually my kind of tunes, but surprisingly enjoyed this. Witty rhymes and lyrics that are actually interesting and I also really liked the music. Cool strings/ brass and piano up in there. Getting Diggable/ tribe called Q vibes. *who's gonna take the weight, beyond comprehension, Check the technique, as I read my S-A

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Thu Jun 03 2021
3

Decent grooves.

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Wed Feb 17 2021
3

Good album. It is the sort of hip hop I like.

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Wed Feb 17 2021
3

Enjoyed this, not listened to these two before though I've heard of Premier. Good 3*

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Thu Feb 18 2021
3

Had three listens. I do really like it, but... BAD THINGS: I never pay any attention to actual lyrics (besides the enunciation of individual phrases) and that's the main appeal of rap music, so I'm unlikely to ever score hip-hop a high mark because my brain just ignores all the best features of this music. Hopefully I can get out of that trap over time. GOOD THINGS: Great style, love the brass and guitar samples making it all jazzy, and all the basslines are incredibly groovy. I like that the lyrical content isn't so vulgar like in some hip-hop, but the lyrics are delivered in a very assertive manner which comes across well. FAVOURITE TRACKS: "Take A Rear", "Who's Gonna Take The Weight", and "Step in the Arena".

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Fri Feb 05 2021
3

Meh. The problem with 90's hiphop is that we have Kendrick Lamar now and he is the King.

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Thu Feb 18 2021
3

Ah 90s hip-hop, feels like a distant paradise in a sea of mumble-bumble bollocks. I'm not saying there isn't a time and a place for mumble rap, it just doesn't fit into my schedule very often. Anyway... Step In The Arena was an album that gave me a brilliant feeling. I love the old school beats and the old school everything to be honest. Only reason it isn't getting higher is due to the album not having any absolute stand out tunes on there for me. I liked Step In The Arena but generally, this is an album full of pretty good tunes. I'm loving it more for the vibe.

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Tue Jul 06 2021
3

Cool beats

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Fri Apr 16 2021
3

ух ты нихуя себе реп хз почему этот альбом сунули, он самый слабый т.к. самый первый да и 91й год это ж пиздец базовый уровень. слышно прям явно как все реперы того времени вдохновлялись ракимом - тематика без особой жести, слабенькие панчи про то какой я КРУТОЙ, а вы ФУФЛО максимально поверхностные, за такие щас засмеют. хотя на то время это было пиздец прорывом и потом лет 5 все так и звучали. строчки с плотно уложенным текстом на всю длину такта и иногда выходящие на новую строку тоже отличительная черта. про биточки уж че и говорить, два прихлопа да погнали зато сигнатурный скретчинг премьера в первозданном виде кек вместо этого альбома лучше б 1998 Moment of Truth включили, раз уж репа тут так мало рип гуру хули

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Fri Apr 16 2021
3

Нормальная тема, хоть ни в одну тему особо и не залип. Особенно удачным показался второй трек. Флоу бодрый, но не слишком харизматишный или технишный. Думаю, продукт своего времени, для которого было збс. Ныне немного скушновато. Но эстетикой олдскула норм веет, понадобилось бы - спиздил бит.

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Fri Mar 26 2021
3

Classic Guru rhymes on dusty premier beats. You can't go wrong with this pairing. Nothing especially stood out on this ablum, and it is hard to rate it higher when I think of the other work these two did.

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Thu Jul 01 2021
3

Background music

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Mon Jul 12 2021
3

nice start. *takes notes* apparently the dj's name is premier and this dude's the guru. well so far it's exactly what i expected from the intro + year this came out. i like this well enough. i'm on song 3 and i'm bored already help. 'you puny protozoa'. this whole song is too much. he's not like the other rappers. 'strangely enough i've been struck, affected by her smile' lmao. it's a short thing but my fave track was 'say your prayers'. other than that one i liked 'precisely the right rhymes'. i'm most likely not coming back to this record but his lyrics were fun, the music was boring though. 2.5.

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Sat Jun 05 2021
3

Typical gang starr. Beats cah get repetitive but there are some good ones.

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Mon May 31 2021
3

Very cool and chilled. Great lyrics, great beats. That said, like a lot of hip hop I find it's in one ear, out the other, but that's just me. I don' think I really pay enough attention to it.

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Fri Jun 11 2021
3

-Seems like a step between early rap and more modern rap, with slightly more complex rhyme schemes than old school rap -"Lovesick" stood out as the best track -"Step In The Arena," "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow," and "What You Want This Time?" were pretty solid

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Mon Jun 14 2021
3

This album sounds like it must have been innovative at the time, and clearly Gang Starr is extremely talented. But it was not really our thing.

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Fri May 07 2021
3

Need to make a Playlist with Gangstarr and Aesop Rock.

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Tue May 11 2021
3

Very well made, great poetic lyrics. Quite repetitive on a full play through. “Love Sick” and “Take a Rest” are the standouts for me

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Wed Jun 02 2021
3

Alright album. Lyrically it’s above average. Beats are true to the 90s and only a couple songs stand out. Mostly it’s a standard 90s rap album. 6.5/10

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