On March 8, 1994, the legendary duo of Guru and DJ Premier, AKA Gang Starr, dropped one of the most influential hip hop albums of all time. “Hard To Earn” still stands the test of time.
Gang Starr “Hard To Earn” Full Album >>
Guru’s monotone flow and DJ Premier’s East Coast raw and gritty ensemble’s went hand and hand. No matter how many other projects the two worked on, Gang Starr was a destiny that the two couldn’t deny. Regardless of the caliber of emcee that have graced a DJ Premier track before or since, none were as perfect as Keith “Guru” Elam.
That says a lot. The list of MC’s who’ve worked with DJ Premier is a list of who’s who in the industry.
The match of two Brooklyn legends is a story in itself. Particularly when you consider Guru was from Roxbury, MA and DJ Premier was born in Houston, TX. Be that as it may, the two spent the majority of their professional careers in Brooklyn. Their sound defined the rugged terrain of the most famous concrete jungle on the planet. That’s why they call it “The Planet.”
“Never takin’ shorts cuz Brooklyn’s the borough…”
“Hard To Earn” hits from it’s intro through track 17. To this day, it’s one of my go-to albums to crank on a road trip. It’s not just for nostalgia purposes. It’s a virtual lesson in the teachings of two of the greatest professors in hip hop history.
The album was the fourth studio release from Gang Starr, but it quickly became their most acclaimed. From it’s most known tracks “Mass Appeal” & “DWYCK” to it’s hidden gems like “Speak Ya Clout” and “Code of the Streets,” hitting “next” to skip ahead was never a thought with this album. Front to back it’s a certified five-mic classic.
Guru left this Earth far too soon. When he passed away in 2010, the hip hop world lost an iconic emcee. DJ Premier lost his partner in crime and good friend. Luckily, albums like Hard to Earn will let their unique sound live on forever.
MC’s and DJ’s should still take notes today. Hard to Earn is a must-own for any true hip hop aficionado.
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