Hip-hop was founded on adaptability, and Gang Starr is no exception. As MC Guru plainly states on the intro to the duo’s 1998 classic album Moment of Truth: “We adapt with the times...but it’s always Guru and Premier.”
Four years removed from the seminal Hard to Earn, Guru’s street corner philosophies and Premier’s gutter-soaked production sounded more focused than ever. Leave it to a producer/DJ from Texas and an MC from Boston to refine the New York sound.
Hard to Earn was the apex of their climb to legitimacy, but Moment of Truth was their rebuttal from the safety of rap’s Iron Throne. They wrapped a wizened jazzman cool around everything from working with the youth and the prison industrial complex to good old-fashioned Black Power, helped further by the likes of M.O.P., Inspectah Deck, and Scarface among others.
“The rejected stone is now the cornerstone,” Guru affirms on opener “You Know My Steez,” a bold claim for bars and beats that have held strong for 20 years. Just ask a young Joey Bada$$, who credits Moment of Truth with inspiring him to pick up the mic.
“Beat Break: DJ Premier,” available exclusively on TIDAL, is a behind-the-scenes look at eight of the biggest records on Moment of Truth. Rest in peace, Guru.