One of the Best Yet
The first song on One of the Best Yet—Gang Starr’s seventh studio album and the group’s first since 2003, and since Guru’s passing in 2010—features a DJ addressing a crowd while cycling through snippets of Gang Starr hits. Of these there are many, and the highlight reel makes a case for the album title as a declaration of the group’s well-earned status in hip-hop. “You know what fuckin’ time it is,” the DJ exclaims at the end of the track. And in case you still didn't, One of the Best Yet is here to hammer the point home.
Guru’s voice—one of the most distinct in hip-hop—is particularly unmistakable coupled with DJ Premier’s mid-1990’s era-defining sample chops and scratching. Whether Guru left room for guests or Premier made some, an extended list of collaborators like Q-Tip, Jeru the Damaja, Big Shug, Freddie Foxxx and M.O.P. are present, reinforcing the group’s place in the culture. Even MCs a few generations removed like J. Cole (“Family and Loyalty”) and Nitty Scott (“Get Together”) pay respects, relishing the opportunity to kick verses with the man whose name stood for Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal. To be clear, the Gang Starr legacy was cemented long before One of the Best Yet, but Premier has made it one of his life’s missions to keep the group’s name alive. And if that isn’t reason enough for you, Guru himself offers a posthumous co-sign on “Lights Out”, rapping, “I told y’all, this is the one I owe y’all.”