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Gang Starr | One Of The Best Yet

Late, great MC Guru & surviving DJ Premier return for one last ride into the sunset.


WHO ARE THEY? Boston’s legendary hip-hop duo of MC Guru and DJ Premier, who are “duelling again and ruling again” — despite the fact that Guru died in 2010 following a heart attack at age 48.

WHAT IS THIS? Their seventh and presumably final release contains new cuts fashioned from previously unused Guru vocal tracks — which Premier has fleshed out with the help of a long list of current and classic artists like J.Cole, Q-Tip, Talib Kweli, Ne-Yo, Jeru the Damaja, Royce da 5’9″, Nitty Scott and others.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? An unexpected visit from some sorely missed talents. Despite the challenging nature of its creation — which was delayed years by a court case between Guru’s family and another collaborator who refused to release the vocal tracks — these cuts don’t seem disjointed or pieced together. Even better: They honour the group’s storied past and rich legacy without slavishly reproducing it.

WHAT SHOULD IT BE TITLED? Famous Last Words. At Last.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? On a CD-R mix with all you other favourite rap artists from the ’80s and ’90s.

WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Celebratory, confident, welcoming, unexpected, flowing, well-crafted, reverent, nostalgic, bittersweet, consistent.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? Low-rolling jams like Lights Out, Hit Man and What’s Real; the sharp-tongued So Many Rappers, Business Or Art and Bring It Back Here.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS SAY? ‘Somebody should make a biopic about these guys. Oh, it’s already in the works? Never mind.’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? If you’re a fan of vintage rap, this is a comeback album that will keep you coming back.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE A VEHICLE, WHAT WOULD IT BE? A classic car that’s been rebuilt for one last ride.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? Pay up — after all, it’s not like they’ll be making any more albums.