A Review of Gang Starr’s “Moment of Truth”


R.I.P. Guru

“Gang Starr has got to be the sure shot/And its like that”

What makes a group so successful and relevant through the eyes and ears of modern hip-hop listeners? Is it the combination of clever and crafty rhymes mixed with uncanny and unique beats all in one? If that is the case, then that has been the calling card of Gang Starr for almost 2 decades. The duo, consisting of MC Guru and DJ Premier, have collaborated with each other since 1989, the end of an era that featured the likes of Public Enemy and N.W.A. They broke up in 2003 over creative differences but reports have surfaced in the past few years that a return has been mentioned. Both Guru and Premier have gained notoriety as solo artists as witnessed with their continual impact on the industry but their chemistry together as a duo was nothing short of magical.

They have been considered one of the most influential East Coast hip-hop groups and were responsible for jump-starting the careers of such artists such as Afu-Ra, Jeru the Damaja, and Mobb Deep. The music that Gang Starr created was presented in a form that was very intellectual and well-versed. The subject matter found throughout the Moment of Truth is positioned at different angles and directions. Each track on the album is blatantly different from another, which is indicative of Premier’s talents on the board and Guru’s skills on the mic. The album is part of a tradition that Gang Starr has steadily upheld and the music is definitely a reflection of the reputation that Gang Starr has attained.

My favorite tracks on the album include: “What I’m Here 4” and “Make ‘Em Pay”. My introduction to Gang Starr was prompted by my interest in listening to new artists whose songs were not being played on the radio 25 times a day on the radio. A friend of mine then told me about a group called Gang Starr and for the past 2 years, I have managed to buy every Gang Starr album ever released. A wise investment in my opinion but my parents have often gawked at how much I spend on music. However, what matters to me is music that challenges me to think in a different light and to me, Gang Starr is one of only a few artists that do that for me.

If I could sum up Gang Starr in a sentence: A dynamic duo that sacrificed the evil intentions of the hip-hop industry for the good of making music without selling out or compensating for anyone else.

“Make ‘Em Pay”