Full Clip: A Decade Of Gang Starr
Virgin/Empire Records, 1999
REVIEW BY: Jason Thornberry
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/30/2003
If you ever simplified the genius of hip-hop music, or considered rap to be a violent, angry form of urban noise with nihilistic poetry over drum machines that anyone could do passably, then you never really listened to any of it, particularly New York's Gang Starr, a duo who lurk in the upper reaches of my skyscraper of all-time favorite artists. Full Clip is an excellent point of entry for the curious onlooker who's heard the names 'Guru' and 'DJ Premier' bandied about enough times in the past few years, but figures (correctly) that neither of them ever get "jiggy with it" much, or have time to jump up in silly suits and say "Propah!" clutching soggy chicken wings like The Funky Headhunter (MC Hammer).
This double-disc, twenty-one song set proves that Guru (the Mic Controller), and Primo (on the wheels of steel), together are easily one of the best reasons to drop whatever the hell you're doing and listen closely. "Now more than ever I've got my whole shit together. More than a decade of hits that'll live forever."
Gang Starr have five other indispensable albums that would make your music collection sound a lot better if you owned any of them (and don't download and burn copies of 'em either, you cheap sumbitch). Better yet, if you do own even one, like 1994's seminal Hard to Earn, but file it behind your Joy Division CD and lay them both casually on your coffee table (along with, say, anything by Fela Kuti) to impress your friends when they pop over, shame on you! And let's finally take that Diet-Cars (Weezer) bullshit out of your stereo and turn the disc into a coaster like it was intended.
The Clip is Full with such notable inclusions as "Just to Get a Rep," "You Know My Steez," the spooky "All Tha Ca$h," "Mass Appeal," "Soliloquy of Chaos," "Take It Personal," "The ? Remains" and the previously unreleased title track with the opening shout to the late Big L.
We're in a relatively good time period for hip-hop, but while there's lots & lots & lots of so-called "competition," I don't see many even getting close these two. I'm afraid you need this.