On November 1, Gang Starr released its first album in more than 16 years. DJ Premier carefully crafted sounds around some previously unreleased vocals from Guru. In the autumn, Heads got two singles before One Of The Best Yet, the album which was later named to Ambrosia For Heads‘ Best Of ’19 list. The first single, “Family And Loyalty,” featured J. Cole in a way that bridged generations and showcased Gang Starr’s impact. The second preview, “Bad Name,” was the tried-and-true Guru and Premier formula, updated for 2020. The song later became a video starring Guru’s son, Keith Casim, paying tribute to his late father.
Heads are now getting the official remix, which features Redman and Method Man. As always, Red’ n’ Meth’ bring energy to the track right from the top. Then, they drop respective verses after Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal. DJ Premier adds new scratches to his fiery beat as well as his juggle of Edo G.’s mahogany vocal. Preemo laced “Sayin’ Something” nearly 20 years ago, the song that gave the Gang Starr song its title.
Notably, while Guru shouts out slain rappers Biggie and Tupac in the original, Redman big-ups Gang Starr affiliate (and D.I.T.C. member) Big L. “Nowadays, when I hear bars, I watch URL / If Big L was here, you wouldn’t act so cavalier.” Reggie Noble also condemns lip sync rappers’ stage shows and celebrates the pen games of the 1990s MCs. In his closing verse, Method Man, acknowledges Guru. “Word to God, if Guru was still here / A lot of you weirdos wouldn’t have a real career,” begins Iron Lung, before telling the fake gangsters that they would not have made it a year back in the early 1990s.
Previously, Preemo produced “Rap Phenomenon,” a posthumous Biggie track that appeared on Born Again. Premier also did Limp Bizkit’s “N 2 Gether Now,”which featured Meth’. The Wu-Tang Clan MC also sat with Gang Starr in the studio for “The Militia Part II,” but reportedly never wrapped his session as D&D Studios after taking a break. Rakim would later join WC and Guru’s vocals on the second of what has become four volumes of the song.
New music by Gang Starr and Method Man is currently on the official Ambrosia For Heads Playlist. Earlier this month, Redman released a three-pack of new songs. “Slap Da Sh*t Outcha” was recently released as a video. Mr. Mef’ is presently gearing up for a collaborative album with 25-year affiliate Streetlife. They partnered with Havoc for video single “Squad Up.”
Press Photograph by Daniel Hastings provided by Gang Starr.