Archive for Gang Starr

Happy Birthday Keith “Guru” Elam (July 17, 1961 – April 19, 2010)

Posted in Culture, News with tags , , , , on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 by Tim Althaus


In the movie Sandlot, Babe Ruth made a quote that I will never forget: “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die”. Keith “Guru” Elam is exactly the type of human that personifies what the Colossus of Clout was talking about. For the better part of two decades, Guru wrote some of the most insightful and intelligent rhymes in Hip-Hop. From the humble beginnings, Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal was a potent emcee, and he only became stronger as the years passed.

There are a lot of emcees out there who always use the same monotonous flow, and after hearing  a vast portion of their catalog, listening to their music becomes a chore; the same cannot be said about Elam’s work. Dubbing himself “The King of Monotone”, Guru never changed his style or delivery once in his career, and it’s one of the biggest reasons that he remains an unforgettable emcee. If Bald Head Slick was on a track, everyone and their brother was looking for it.

One of my favorite albums of all-time without a doubt is Gang Starr, Moment of Truth; to me, it’s by far one of the most polished albums I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing. I would never discredit anything that Gang Starr released because I’m a huge fan of every album in their catalog, but Moment of Truth towers over everything else in my opinion. From rhyming with Inspectah Deck on the fan favorite “Above The Clouds”, to spitting bar-for-bar along side Freddie Foxxx and Big Shug on “The Militia”, Guru makes sure that every one of his stanzas are heartfelt and memorable.

One of my favorite songs of all-time is the title track from Moment of Truth. Guru spits forty-eight bars of real-life lyrics; everything that he says makes perfect sense, and if you take a minute to deeply digest the lyrics, you can apply it to situations in your own life:

“Sometimes you gotta dig deep when problems come near/don’t fear, things get severe for everybody everywhere/why do bad things happen to good people?/seems that life is just a constant war between good and evil/the situation that I’m facin’ is mad amazin’/to think such problems can arise from minor confrontations”

Guru would have been fifty-one years old today, and rest assured, he would still be rhyming with the best of them. I can personally say that he rests comfortably among my top ten favorite emcees of all-time, and I know a lot of people would put him in the same category. There’s no denying that Guru’s presence is missed greatly in Hip-Hop culture, and it will continue to leave a void for many years to come.

A couple of years back DJ Premier stated that he had enough Gang Starr material to compile a posthumous LP, but it’s never made its way into seeing the light of day. Personally, I would love to see another Gang Starr album, but if there isn’t one, it wouldn’t bother me; between the Jazzmatazz series and his work with DJ Premier, Guru has already left behind a legacy that most emcees would die to have.

DJ Premier Talks Slaughterhouse & Gang Starr

Posted in Media, Video with tags , , , , , , on Sunday, August 16, 2009 by Tim Althaus

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Premo is easily one of the greatest producers in the history of the game. As many would say, if he co-signs it you know it’s straight fire. In his interview with As The World Spins, he tells us (which I am highly grateful to hear) that Royce’s album Street Hop will be hitting the streets on October 11th, and that there isn’t a Premo beat on the Slaughterhouse album because he was mixing Street Hop. DJ Premier also mentions that he is down to do a new Gang Starr album as soon as Guru is ready, because he loves the chemistry that they have together. It’s also great to hear Premier talk about what he would consider “real Hip-Hop”, he couldn’t be more right.

Spotted @ Crate Kings

DJ Premier talks about his origins

Posted in Media, Video with tags , , , on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 by Tim Althaus

This is a great video interview that comes to you from Mass Denim & Hip-Hop.pl. This interview is focused mostly on the origins of Gang Starr and what was going on at that time, as well as Premo’s origins in production and major influences at the time. With both parts it’s just over 15 minutes long, but it is definitely time well spent. Premier is one of those guys that will never go out of style, because all he has is style. There is a reason why he is, and always will be one of the best producers the game has ever seen. My advice to you is to watch part one of the video up top, and follow me after the jump for part 2 of the video. Continue reading

Tim’s Top 10 Albums of All-Time (At Least To This Point)

Posted in Mind Inversion Exclusive, The Learned Man's Take with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 by Tim Althaus

Tim's Top 10 Albums of All-Time (At Least To This Point)

I have to tell you all that this list was one of the hardest things I’ve had to get myself to do, because I knew it wasn’t going to be anywhere near easy. Even while going through this list I had to constantly change things because I felt something was missing. This list (to the best of my abilities) contains the quintessential list of albums that shaped my taste in music. To be put another way, I don’t know where I would be without these albums. I can also say that I feel that each one of these albums is timeless as well a masterpiece. So without further ado…

Top 10 Albums of All-Time (In Order from 10-1)

live-at-leedsThe Who – Live At Leeds (Deluxe Edition): Honestly I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to this album. I remember buying it in the store years ago, and it cost me just about thirty-five dollars. It may be the best money I’ve ever spent on an album. This album truly shows the pure rock fury of The Who. If you have ever had a doubt in your life as to the legitimacy of The Who, please listen to this album. The original album was released with just 35 minutes of the 120, and this album has all of it. This is one of the greatest live albums of all time, no doubt in my mind. Every single member of The Who sounds precise and musically sound. This also might be the heaviest material you will ever here from The Who. From the rapid fire boulder crashing drums of Keith Moon to the lion roaring vocals of Roger Daltrey this album is everything a live album should be and more… Continue reading

Review: Cymarshall Law & Mr. Joeker, Hip-Hop in the Soul 

Posted in Music Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on Friday, January 9, 2009 by Tim Althaus

hip-hop-in-the-soul-front I have to start this post off by saying that this is an album that I found out about way too late. If I would have listened to this album last year right away when it came out I can guarantee that it would have made my top 5 last year. The chemistry that is shown on this album is absolutely amazing, somewhat similar to a Guru/Premier (Gang Starr) or Pete Rock/C.L. Smooth. Putting these two together on an album was a god-send for the soul of Hip-Hop (no pun intended) because they really take things to a whole new level.

The first thing that I want to point out is that Mr. Joeker is a very talented producer (from Hungary), and I haven’t heard a producer that can mimic so many different styles of production. This guy can go from a DJ Premier sound into a style of his own in one track flat. To be honest the beats on this album are so hot, they may put the sun out of commission.

Cymarshall Law is an emcee that is in a league of his own, and he is from New Brunswick, New Jersey. One thing is for sure about Cymar, and that’s that this guy can rap his ass off and very well at that. Cymarshall Law is going to be a benchmark when it comes to great emcees in the future. With the mic skills that Cymar possesses, it’s only a matter of time before heads start to notice.

When I listen to an album the intro usually means a great deal to me, because in my opinion it should set the expectation for the rest of the album and the tempo as well. The intro on this album “Intro to the Soul” does just that setting the bar for the rest of the album with Cymarshall Law kicking an ill flow over a straight fire laced beat by Mr. Joeker. “The Takeoff (Getting It)” might be the highlight of the album with a beautiful backdrop full of strings, enchanting vocal samples and as usual Cymarshall’s razor blade sharp flow. Every track on this album is absolute quality, I don’t think that there was a better collaboration album last year to be honest, with guest appearances from KRS-One and Supastition it only adds to the ensuing chaos.

Please do yourself a favor and check out one of the best Hip-Hop releases of 2008, like I said I wish I would have heard this album earlier last year because it would have easily charted on my list.

9/10