Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hip Hop Nostalgia 101, Session 32: A 25 Year Retrospective- Gang Starr's "No More Mr. Nice Guy" (1989)

This is the debut album from Guru (Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal) and DJ Premier, better known as Gang Starr.


Release date- April 22, 1989


All songs produced by Gang Starr and Mark the 45 King



1. Premier & The Guru

Sample check #1


Sample check #2


This was a dope way of introducing Gang Starr to the hip hop world. Guru is not only bringing forth (and complementing) his own skills, but biggin up that of his DJ as well, which we heard a lot of in the 80s, usually with successful results. This one is no different in that regard.
Grade- B+




2. Jazz Music

Sample check


Guru is already showing a love, appreciation, a sense of history and respect for Jazz music, and that comes across very clearly on this one. This certainly won't be the last time Guru touches on this genre.
Grade- A+




3. Gotch U

Sample check #1


Sample check #2


Sample check #3


The scratching, the classic James Brown samples and the confidence brought to the mic by Guru brings this one to life. Straight dopeness.
Grade- B+




4. Manifest

Sample check
 

This is the first classic from Gang Starr, and if my memory serves me correctly, this is the first song I heard from them, and I do remember being impressed with it. Manifest indeed.
Grade- A+


 
5. Gusto

 Sample check #1

Sample check #2


Considering this beat, complete with another classic sample, this time courtesy of Curtis Mayfield, Guru titled this song the right way. Just listening to this beat would bring out the "gusto" in an MC.
Grade- B

 

5. DJ Premier in Deep Concentration

This joint showcased DJ Premier and his skills on the wheels of steel.
Grade- B+


6. Positivity (Remix)

"Now let's get off this negative tip and go positive"

Sample check


There NEVER anything wrong with bringing a positive light to any situation. That was the case in 89, and it's certainly the case today.
Grade- B+




7. Manifest (Remix)

Sample check #1
 
This slightly fast paced remix (in terms of the beat) is a bit better than the original. And now when I think about it, THIS was the first Gang Starr song I ever heard.
Grade- A+



9. Conscience Be Free

Decent, apply titled song, nothing more or less.
Grade- C


10. Cause and Effect

Sample check


Remember when our teachers discussed "cause and effect" in English class back in the day? Well this certainly was the first (and probably the last) time it was done in a hip hop form. Guru brings it in a simple, easy to understand form as opposed to a deep one.
Grade- B+



11. 2 Steps Ahead

 Sample check


Guru is showing he's two steps ahead of the competition on this one, another fast paced track. The breath control he displayed throughout this album is pretty good.
Grade- B





12. No More Mr. Nice Guy

Sample check


While not aggressive by any means, then again Guru's delivery is aggressive but still relatively easy going. This is one example of when you push a cool, calm and collected man to the edge. I can relate to a song like this, lol.
Grade- B+





13. Knowledge
Featuring Damo D-Ski

Sample check

 Knowledge has been and always will be power.

Grade- C




14. Positivity

This is the original version of the remix previously covered.
Grade- B+







This was a very good debut from Gang Starr. Aside from "Positivity" and "Manifest", this album went totally under the radar in 89 amidst all of the dope material being released around it, which is not to say that this album was weak in comparison because it wasn't. Dope beats and rhymes were on full display with this album. It was only the beginning.


Final grade- B+

No comments:

Post a Comment