From 1994 Album: “Hard to Earn”…..
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“Gang Starr is a reflection of the heart and soul of hip-hop culture and music. They are one of my favorite groups and one of the groups I’ve been most influenced by. I love Primo and Guru.” – Common
Hollywood, California October 9, 2006 – Critically acclaimed hip-hop duo Gang Starr first hit the scene in 1989 and more than a decade of chart hits followed. Mass Appeal: The Best Of Gang Starr, to be released December 26 by Virgin/EMI Music Catalog Marketing, gathers 20 of their best tracks for their first ever single-disc hits collection, including six Top 10 hits and two songs originally released on film soundtracks. The new package includes liner notes by music journalist and author Soren Baker and a Deluxe Edition CD/DVD, to be released the same date, adds 11 music videos to the collection.
Gang Starrs DJ/producer, Premier (Primo) and MC/lyricist, Guru, experienced their first critical embrace with the release of 1991s Step In The Arena. The album, an upfront sociopolitical departure from the prevailing style of the time, reached #19 on Billboards Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #121 on the Top 200. The title track and Just To Get A Rep both hit #5 on the Hot Rap Singles chart, while Lovesick reached #11.
Through the 1990s, Gang Starrs chart success improved steadily with each new album release. 1992s Daily Operation peaked at #14 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and reached #65 on the Top 200, fueled by the #1 Hot Rap single Take It Personal and the #5 single Ex-Girl To Next Girl. 1994s harder-edged Hard To Earn took the #2 position on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #25 on the Top 200, with the chart-crossing hits Code of the Streets, Mass Appeal, and Dwyck.
Four years later, Gang Starr returned with what would become their sole #1 album, 1998s Moment Of Truth. The album topped Billboards Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and reached #6 on the Top 200, and The New York Times praised it as classicism of the best kind. Moment Of Truths radio hits found success across Billboards Rap, R&B, Dance, and Hot 100 Singles charts.
In 1999, a 2-CD hits collection was released and Gang Starr toured across the U.S. with Rage Against The Machine. The Gold-certified Full Clip: A Decade Of Gang Starr reached #11 on Billboards Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #33 on the Top 200.
Gang Starrs most recent studio album, The Ownerz, followed in 2003, peaking at #5 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #18 on the Top 200. The Austin Chronicle praised the duos career in an album review: For more than a decade, Gang Starr has presented itself as one of the most dependable staples of the hip-hop universe.
Throughout Gang Starrs run and beyond, both DJ Premier and Guru have enjoyed great solo success. Throughout the 1990s to today, Premier has been one of the most important producers in hip-hop, with Jay-Z, Mos Def, Christina Aguilera, Common, DAngelo, Jadakiss, Snoop Dogg, and Notorious B.I.G. among the artists he has produced, in addition to his own Gang Starr recordings with Guru. Hell create a completely new sound, Christina Aguilera told journalist Soren Baker of DJ Premier in a February 2006 interview, excerpted for Mass Appeals liner notes. The acclaimed singer had DJ Premier produce several songs on her chart-topping 2006 album, Back To Basics. Hell make a song out of bits and chops and pieces, Aguilera continued, I know a lot of producers do it nowadays, but hes so clean and so creative when it comes to that. I have so much respect for him.
Since 1993, Gurus jazz roots have been showcased in his acclaimed solo recordings and performances. For his own album releases, Guru has collaborated with a whos-who of jazz, hip-hop and soul luminaries, including Roy Ayers, Herbie Hancock, Branford Marsalis, the Roots, Erykah Badu, Macy Gray, and Isaac Hayes. The longevity comes from being in touch, connected with the streets, being a fan, Guru told Baker in a July 1999 interview also referenced in Mass Appeals liner notes. “Premier and I are fans of the music. We listen to everything. We maintain that hunger, that same energy that we had when we first started in the game.”
Lets take it back to when the water was clear and not contaminated. Gang Starr is like a fresh glass of water… They hit the spot every time! Primo is my brother from another mother 4 real, and Guru just sets the lyrical content straight as usual. This kinda music you can find in Pete Rock’s CD changer, no doubt!” -Pete Rock
Extended & updated info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gang_starr