Sunday, April 25, 2010

Gang Starr's Guru R.I.P

The first news came on Thursday night but Tom and I, both fans, were out in inebriated twatmode so ignored the elliptic text-as-lyric - 'lemonade is a popular drink and it stil is' - but gamely filled in the rest of the couplet with 'I've got more props and stunts than bruce willis'. When I found out properly about Guru's death from myeloma cancer it was a chastening moment, and as a fan if not fanatic of the group's work over several albums (I even bought, and enjoyed at the time of admittedly fairly preference for flakey funk, Jazzmatazz) I want to at least record my thoughts here, unlike with McClaren's passing which was comprehensively missed. But then Gang Starr's work means more to me than that of the artful ex-Pistols manager and in the BBC doc it was acknowledged that the music in some ways was the least of the things you take from the Pistols. Guru and Premo combined the former's stentorian delivery with fresh beats and great use of jazz samples to produce several stone cold classics over three or four decent albums. They deserve their place in the rap pantheon, so linked is the video for every G Starr song and below are a couple of personal faves.

Who`s Gonna Take The Weight? No mistake, wild pitch scratching was the new J.A.Z.Z thing, with 'Consciousness' too. From Step Into the Arena.

That lyric was off Dwyck, and that is still one of my favourite moments in hip-hop, as strong as any from the 'golden era'. Nice and Smooth on the guest mic, clean but forceful Premo production powered by low-end bass.

And the keys-laden', melancholic Mass Appeal, like Dwyck on Hard to Earn.
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