May 22, 2021

Gang Starr - One of The Best Yet (2019)

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Label Number: GSE001CD
.FLAC via Florenfile
.AAC 256 kbps via Florenfile

© 2019 Gang Starr Enterprises/To The Top/INgrooves
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman
One of the Best Yet seemed almost unimaginable until 2019. A few years earlier, DJ Premier acquired unreleased Guru vocals from DJ Solar, his ex-partner's close associate. Reportedly consisting of 30 recordings made from 2005 through 2009 -- the year before the MC died of cancer -- they were deemed by Premier to be sufficient raw material for a seventh Gang Starr album, the first since The Ownerz. The producer reanimates the vocal tracks, none of which amount to more than a couple verses or a hook, as only the master craftsman can, and calls upon many Gang Starr Foundation members, other peers, and a small number of younger artists for reinforcement. Guru never held back from expressing his dissatisfaction with the state of hip-hop, but his prevailing disgruntled monotone here -- at its lowest when "rap" is rhymed with "crap" -- often clashes with the justifiably reverential and adrenalized energy of the guests. In "What's Real," for instance, Royce Da 5'9" marvels at the presence of Guru's ashes in the studio, urging "Let his children eat off the proceeds," only a couple tracks after the late legend himself spits, "You used to support your fam off of this/Now you can't even buy Spam off of this." More striking is the anachronistic "Family and Loyalty," undeniably a moving and nostalgic high point but spiked with a rather voluble, very 2010s verse from J. Cole. That said, stitched together as it is, One of the Best Yet is a priceless benefaction. Premier was no doubt compelled to see it through for himself and the memory of his deteriorated union with Guru. That regard for the Gang Starr legacy is felt throughout the set, a gratifying listen for anyone who can get past Guru's incapacity to authorize it. Consequences notwithstanding, hearing the Guru Keithy E match wits with M.O.P., Freddie Foxxx, Big Shug, Jeru the Damaja, and Group Home, along with Q-Tip and Talib Kweli -- all over Premier's impeccable flips and scratches -- is an unexpected delight.
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tags: gang starr, one of the best yet, 2019, flac,