Legendary collective Gang Starr began way back in 1986, started by MC Guru. He was joined by DJ Premier in 1989, and over an action-packed 15 years, they released six studio albums, including hits like, ‘Mass Appeal’, ‘Take It Personal’, and ‘Above The Clouds’.
The group were known as pioneers of both jazz rap and the NYC hardcore hip hop sound. Both fans and critics alike of underground rap have a deep respect for their catalogue, with the group even providing the track, ‘Battle’, for the hit movie, ‘8 Mile’. Their track “Jazz Thing” also found its way into the soundtrack for the Spike Lee’s ‘Mo’ Better Blues’. In 2006 however, Gang Starr decided enough was enough, and hung up their mics, a collective no longer.
Fast forward to now, and nearly a decade after the untimely death from cancer of Guru in 2010, at the young age of 48, DJ Premier returns with a new track under the Gang Starr name, ‘Family And Loyalty’. It’s classic hip-hop: from the record scratches to the lyrics, which aren’t so much about diamonds, as the things that really matter in life – such as family, and loyalty. The track also features one of modern hip-hop’s biggest stars, J. Cole. The North Carolina native has multiple platinum albums, and has won several BET Hip Hop Awards and Billboard Music Awards, as well as countless nominations at the Grammy Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, and more.
A legendary song should be accompanied by a legendary video, and Gang Starr have teamed up with none other than Fab 5 Freddy, a visual artist, filmmaker, and hip-hop pioneer known for his graffiti art and his work with everyone from Blondie to Nas. The clip for ‘Family and Loyalty’ opens with a reading of Guru’s Last Will and Testament, and J. Cole appears via video call and on a basketball court as he spits out his verse. The clip flashes between past and present with scenes all around New York, honouring Guru’s legacy and celebrating all Gang Starr has done.
Find Gang Starr on Twitter. Watch the video for ‘Family And Loyalty’ below: