After dropping a new song on us for the first time in sixteen years, Gang Starr is back with a video for “Family and Loyalty” featuring J. Cole. Directed by Fab 5 Freddy, clips of the late, great Guru are weaved into a set of visuals where DJ Premier and Guru’s son are dropping jewels off to friends and family while J. Cole can be scene delivering his verse inside a basketball gym.
Although Guru is gone, he will never be forgotten. The legacy of Gang Starr will live forever and DJ Premier has preserved that memory and extended its reach into 2019 with a brand new song titled “Family and Loyalty” that finds previously unreleased Guru vocals over DJ Premier production with a touch of today as J. Cole blesses the song with his presence.
“I never lost faith, or wavered. I still felt it inside of me, it just happened to be nine years later (after Guru’s passing)” Premier says. “We all want the things we want right now, but I am a patient guy. I hung in there and I just kept believing.”
It’s quintessential Gang Starr brought to the masses and J. Cole appearing on the song gives it a very current feel that vibes with the classic Gang Starr sound.
“When it comes to this generation of emcees, ones that are lyrically on the level that Guru was on and someone that he would want to work with; Cole is that guy” Preemo confidently asserted. “When Cole heard the record he got the chills and knew it was a classic.”
In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Gang Starr’s Moment of Truth album, DJ Premier sat down with Billboard to offer some behind the scenes stories to many of the album’s standout tracks. Here are a few choice quotes from that interview.
On “Militia” (Feat. Big Shug & Freddie Foxx a.k.a. Bumpy Knuckles)…
I remember Bumpy Knuckles came in wearing all mink everything and said, “Yo, when I spit my verse, I gotta pull my guns out and aim them.” He was serious! I told him that I was going to duck in the event that those guns accidentally went off. He pulled out the twin glocks, spit his verse in one take and said, “I’ve got a meeting to go to” and left! He came in at 10am, pulled out his guns, kicked his verse and then said he hoped we did a video —which we did — and then was gone.
On “Moment of Truth”…
The day we went back after he beat the case was the day he wrote the song “Moment of Truth.” When I heard his lyrics, I remember how emotional it was. We were going through deaths around us. The passing of my accountant Mary Coleman who was the first person I shouted out on “In Memory of…” was particularly devastating for me. She was beyond my accountant. She was my mother away from home.
That song made me want to cry. I’m not really a crying type. But to hear those lyrics and knowing everything that he was going through at that time was very, very emotional. Today, I perform it with my band and every time I damn near fall apart, but in a good way. Like when James Brown would drop to his knees when he performed. I didn’t know what to expect until he did it.
Ever wonder how “Mass Appeal” came to be? Well, allow DJ Premier to take you down memory lane and discuss the creation of the legendary song.
How’s this for a random team up? Guru is joined for a freestyle by Harlem World’s Ma$e and Blinky Blink when all three were at the Tim Westwood show back in 1998. It’s more of a Blinky and Ma$e showcase with Guru dropping in here and there but it’s certainly you should check out.
ESPN’s new African American culture website “The Undefeated” recently spotlighted the artwork for Gang Starr’s classic Daily Operation. The site spoke to photographer Matt Gunther about the photo shoot that led to the legendary cover and here are a couple of excerpts.
As happens in the creative process, ideas changed. Soon it was decided that the cover would have a Last Supper theme — as Gang Starr affiliates Group Home and Jeru The Damaja were featured on the project. “We rented an old mansion on Madison Avenue [in New York City] because we … needed a big space,” says Gunther. “We were supposed to shoot during the day … had the venue from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.” Gang Starr and their crew of about 20 didn’t show up until 6 or 7 that night. Label representatives fumed. “We slept during the day while waiting for them,” he said. And when they did arrive — Gunther wasn’t caught off guard by the amount of marijuana smoke and malt liquor that followed the crew into the mansion. “It was,” he says, “a fun, s— show.”
Read the rest at The Undefeated.
Thanks to Jay Z’s nod to Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal with his lemonade line, Chi Duly and Mick Boogie add Guru to the remix to the Fat Joe, Remy Ma and Jay Z anthem “All The Way Up.”
Tim Westwood continues to drop excellence in the form of these vintage freestyles. For this edition, he digs back to the year 2000 when the late Guru and the artist formally known as Sense kick rhymes over Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode.”
The good folks at WatchLoud drop this installment of their series “That Thing” where artists talk about one of the things they simply cannot live without.
In “That Thing” we ask artists about the things they just can’t live without and in our first clip DJ and producer Statik Selektah tells us about his pool obsession.
A slew of demos from Jeru The Damaja have surfaced that were all produced by the legendary Guru. Recorded back in 1991-1992, the demos are vintage Jeru and precede the release of his debut album The Sun Rises In The East. Definitely dope to listen to Jeru and Guru work together on these songs.