4 Great Gangstarr Tracks

Dropped as a single in 1994, ‘DWYK’ featuring Nice, Smooth and Kid Capri was a non-single/single from their fourth album ‘Hard To Earn’. I say non-single/single as outside of Japan this cut didn’t make the album as apparently Premier himself didn’t think this tune would be as popular as it was and they released it as almost a throw away track.

Whilst they’ve made better tunes, this is still supremely catchy and has a great laid back vibe which is only enhanced by the video which predominantly features chicks in G-bangers running up and down the beach near Coney Island as Guru, Greg Nice and Smooth B throw down a verse a piece and Premier transformer scratches horns over the top .

With a forceful beat based around the ‘Synthetic Substitution’ break and a good filtered pass of the bass line from Clarence Wheeler and The Enforcers instrumental cover of ‘Hey Jude’ by the Beatles, the track is a driving force to be reckoned with and features scratched in snippets of another Nice & Smooth tune ‘Funky For You’ which is good in its own right.

<Check Red Alert in the background and the significant repping of Cross Colours >

Actually on a few of these old Gangstarr tunes, Premier loved cutting in samples of artists he either produced for or worked with, so tunes like ‘Just to Get A Rep’ which was on 1991’s ‘Step Into The Arena’ album, also feature a snippet of ‘Funky For You’, notably in the “Stick up kid is out to tax” line which is used prominently in the chorus (such as at the 25 second mark on the clip below).

‘Hard To Earn’ also featured ‘Now You’re Mine’, which stands as one of the best tunes Gangstarr made IMO.

Despite this album having some great cuts and being a little more hard ass than its predecessors (perhaps in response to the gangster rap onslaught of the previous two years), Guru and Premier took a break from recording after this and didn’t release another album for about 4 years. Whilst that is a shame, it allowed Guru the latitude to do his second Jazzamataz album and Premier to cut some great tracks for Group Home and Jeru (amongst others).

Although they wouldn’t hit the heights of this album again, Gangstarr certainly left a legacy of great material and ‘Check The Technique’ with its massive Marlena Shaw sample isn’t merely bragging or just trying to rip of Eric B and Rakim when it states:

” Your raps crazy wack, so don’t try to pull that
You’re lackin’ the vernacular, I’m slappin’ ya and cappin’ ya
And closin’ your jaw, cause you can’t mess with Gangstarr
The Guru and Premier always dope with the blessed beats
Dance your ass off hobbes, check the technique”.

Check it.

Written and Posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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