Mar 9, 2012

RhoDeo 1210 Grooves

Hello, we leave the funk grooves today and exchange them for some hot hiphop jazz grooves, Gang Starr.

On a side note a new host today, Refile they gave me good speeds lately.

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The group was founded by Keith Elam in Boston, Massachusetts in 1985 (then known as Keithy E. The Guru) and DJ 1,2 B-Down (also known as Mike Dee) . Gang Starr was founded in 1987. The group initially released three records, produced by DJ Mark the 45 King, on the Wild Pitch Records record label, but these records received little attention. After a change in line-up, the group consisted of rapper Elam and beat maker DJ Premier. Gang Starr released its first LP No More Mr. Nice Guy on Wild Pitch Records; the group achieved a sizable following and released six critically acclaimed and influential albums from 1989 to 2003

In 1989, the group split and the only member willing to continue under the name Gang Starr was Guru. He soon got in touch with DJ Premier (then known as Waxmaster C) who sent him a beat tape which Guru liked. He invited DJ Premier to join Gang Starr and in that same year they released their first single "Words I Manifest" along with the album No More Mr. Nice Guy (1989). Between albums, in 1990, Guru and Premier contributed a song, "Jazz Thing," to the Mo' Better Blues soundtrack.

In 1990 the group was signed to the Chrysalis record label by then A&R director Duff Marlowe, a former DJ and Los Angeles Times rap music critic. The London-based label offered Guru and Premier unlimited artistic license and major-label distribution worldwide, a platform that the group used to become one of the most influential hip hop acts of that decade. During their career Gang Starr helped pioneer the New York City hardcore hip hop sound. Step in the Arena (1991), on which they perfected the approach of their debut, that is, a stark, hard-hitting jazz-rap production style, complete with Premier's masterful DJ cutting, over which Guru's battle-rap-hardened yet smoothly delivered lyrics -- often thoughtful, sly, and streetsmart -- take flight. Gang Starr's third album, Daily Operation (1992), furthered the duo's approach stylistically; widely considered an East Coast rap classic, it's arguably Guru and Premier's finest work, along with its predecessor.

Beginning in 1993, Guru and Premier began working separately. Guru's debut album, Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1 (1993), took the so-called jazz-rap style to a new level, featuring jazz musicians such as Lonnie Liston Smith, Branford Marsalis, Ronny Jordan, Donald Byrd, and Roy Ayers, along with guest vocalists such as N'Dea Davenport (of the Brand New Heavies) and MC Solaar (of French rap fame).

Meanwhile, Premier produced six tracks for KRS-One's solo debut, Return of the Boom Bap (1993); moreover, in 1994 he proceeded to produce three tracks for Nas' debut, Illmatic; two for the Notorious B.I.G.'s debut, Ready to Die; five for the self-titled debut of Branford Marsalis' Buckshot LeFonque project; the entirety of Jeru the Damaja's debut, The Sun Rises in the East; and also a handful of remixes for various artists.

Amid all of this activity, Guru and Premier found time to record their fourth album, Hard to Earn (1994), which was more hardcore-fashioned -- as was the style at the time, in the wake of Death Row's uprising -- than past Gang Starr albums and, also unlike past efforts, featured guest rappers. The album spawned the duo's biggest hit to date, "Mass Appeal."

Following Hard to Earn, Guru and Premier resumed their solo activity. Guru released Jazzmatazz, Vol. 2: The New Reality (1995) and a various-artists compilation, Guru Presents Ill Kid Records (1995), while Premier produced the bulk of Livin' Proof (1995), the debut of Gang Starr affiliates Group Home (who featured on Hard to Earn). Also in 1995, Premier produced three tracks on KRS-One's second solo album; and two tracks on Hold It Down, the third album by Das EFX; as well as assorted remixes and one-off productions.

In 1998, after four years between albums, Gang Starr returned with Moment of Truth, their first album to chart number one (on the R&B/Hip-Hop album chart, that is; it peaked at number six overall, still their best showing commercially to date). Moment of Truth was a significant departure from past Gang Starr efforts, very much contemporary in style.

A double-disc retrospective, Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr (1999), subsequently marked the duo's ten-year anniversary. In the years that followed, Guru and Premier continued to focus on their own work. Guru continued his Jazzmatazz series, beginning with a third volume, Streetsoul, in 2000; he also released solo rap albums, beginning with Baldhead Slick & da Click (2001)

As for Gang Starr, Guru and Premier did reunite for The Ownerz (2003), a celebrated return to form, but the reunion proved short-lived, leaving back-catalog collections such as Mass Appeal: The Best of Gang Starr (2006) to fill the void. Sadly, Guru died at age 43 on April 19, 2010 after battling cancer, suffering a heart attack, and for a time falling into a coma.

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Aside from some scrupulous lyrical stances by Guru and some of DJ Premier's hallmark brilliance behind the turntables, this Gang Starr isn't instantly recognizable as the duo who would soon become one of the most respected rap groups of the 1990s. Here the duo are still in a leg knee-deep in the old-school aesthetic. As a result, Premier's beats are quite a bit simpler and sometimes cruder than fans have come to expect (though they are still several cuts above the rest of the class), and Guru spends considerable energy talking up his own microphone skills and tearing down the next MC's. That is not the same thing, however, as saying that No More Mr. Nice Guy is a subpar album. It is not, by any means. In fact, it's quite good in its own way, but it's also safe to say that the recording is not representative of the Chrysalis-era Gang Starr that devotees would eventually come to revere. Approach this album on its own terms, though, and it has a lot to offer, namely its early, tentative steps into the sampling of jazz. The most conspicuous attempt in this direction is the fine "Jazz Music," which was, nevertheless, reworked to much better effect a few years later for the soundtrack to Spike Lee's Mo' Better Blues as "Jazz Thing." Indicative or not, fans of the group will want this album, as will those with a jones for the original new-school revolution.

Gang Starr - No More Mr. Nice Guy
Gang Starr - No More Mr. Nice Guy (427mb)

01 Premier & The Guru 3:22
02 Jazz Music 3:24
03 Gotch U 3:04
04 Manifest 4:55
05 Gusto 3:12
06 Positivity (Remix) 4:49
07 Manifest (Remix) 5:09
08 DJ Premier In Deep Concentration 3:07
09 Conscience Be Free 3:54
10 Cause And Effect 3:15
11 2 Steps Ahead 3:40
12 No More Mr. Nice Guy 3:14
13 Knowledge 3:38
14 Positivity 3:30

Gang Starr - No More Mr. Nice Guy (163mb)

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The album on which DJ Premier and Guru perfected the template that would launch them into underground stardom and a modicum of mainstream success. Guru's deadpan monotone delivery was shockingly different from other early-'90s MCs, many of who were either substituting charisma for substance or engaging in hardcore "realism" without really commenting on black inner-city life or offering ways to alter the situation for the better. But it is Guru who sounded like the real clarion call of and to the street on Step in the Arena Here we find the first real mature flowering of his street-wise sagacity. His voice would grow more assured by the next album, but here Guru imparts urban wisdom of a strikingly visible variety. Guru is not easy on any aspect of the inner city, from the "snakes" that exploit the community to those that are a product of it, and the result is a surprising but hard-fought compassion , where Guru pleads for the acceptance of responsibility, for not taking the easy path. He seems to have somehow developed a hopefulness out of the bleak surroundings. DJ Premier was already near the top of his game at this early point. His production seems less jazz-fueled on Step in the Arena, opting more for spare guitar lines and tight beats, as well as his unmistakable vocal cut-up style of scratching for a slightly warped and out-of-phase soundscape.

Gang Starr - Step In The Arena (274mb)
Gang Starr - Step In The Arena (274mb)

01 Name Tag (Premier & The Guru) 0:36
02 Step In The Arena 3:37
03 Form Of Intellect 3:40
04 Execution Of A Chump (No More Mr. Nice Guy Pt. 2) 2:41
05 Who's Gonna Take The Weight? 3:56
06 Beyond Comprehension 3:13
07 Check The Technique 3:58
08 Love Sick 3:27
09 Here Today, Gone Tomorrow 2:18
10 Game Plan 1:08
11 Take A Rest 4:21
12 What You Want This Time? 2:41
13 Street Ministry 1:25
14 Just To Get A Rep 2:42
15 Say Your Prayers 1:24
16 As I Read My S-A 3:02
17 Precisely The Right Rhymes 3:25
18 The Meaning Of The Name 2:55

Gang Starr - Step In The Arena (116mb)

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On Step in the Arena, DJ Premier and Guru hit upon their mature sound, characterized by sparse, live jazz samples, Premier's cut-up scratching, and Guru's direct, unwavering streetwise monotone; but, with Daily Operation, the duo made their first masterpiece. From beginning to end, Gang Starr's third full-length album cuts with the force and precision of a machete and serves as an ode to and representation of New York and hip-hop underground culture. The genius of Daily Operation is that Guru's microphone skills are perfectly married to the best batch of tracks Premier had ever come up with. Guru has more of a presence than he has ever had, slinking and pacing through each song like a man with things on his mind, ready to go off at any second. Premier's production has an unparalleled edge here. For an underground crew, Gang Starr has always had a knack for crafting memorable vocal hooks to go with the expert production, and they multiply both aspects on Daily Operation. Every song has some attribute that stamps it indelibly into the listener's head, and it marks the album as one of the finest of the decade, rap or otherwise.

Gang Starr - Daily Operation (274mb)

01 Daily Operation (Intro) 0:27
02 The Place Where We Dwell 2:27
03 Flip The Script 4:02
04 Ex Girl To Next Girl 4:39
05 Soliloquy Of Chaos 3:14
06 I'm The Man 4:04
07 92 Interlude 0:29
08 Take It Personal 3:10
09 2 Deep 3:39
10 24-7/365 0:24
11 No Shame In My Game 3:55
12 Conspiracy 2:47
13 The Illest Brother 4:44
14 Hardcore Composer 3:16
15 B.Y.S. 3:05
16 Much Too Much (Mack A Mil) 3:30
17 Take Two And Pass 3:17
18 Stay Tuned 2:31

Gang Starr - Daily Operation (115mb)

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