Da Bomb! (And We Say That Without A Hint Of Irony)

Guaranteed to be 100% filler-free.

Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr is everything a career

retrospective should be: a solid introduction for those not entirely

familiar with the group's work and a skip down memory lane for fans.

The collection also succeeds because it's a hip-hop double disc that

doesn't wear out its welcome midway through disc one—and because

the three new songs stand up to the (recent) classics.

Even though this isn't billed as a greatest hits collection, the

group's "hits"—in quotes because they didn't go gold until last

year's Moment of Truth—are sprinkled liberally throughout

(a possible disappointment for sonic historians, who prefer these

kinds of things to be presented in chronological order). Full

Clip isn't just a singles collection, however. "Suckas Need

Bodyguards" (1994) doesn't make the collection, while its even more

anti-fake-gangsta B-side, "The ? Remains" does. Same story with "Love

Sick" (1991), omitted in favor of the jazzy drum-and-piano-loop-fueled "Credit Is Due," a vinyl-only B-side that's finally gotten the wider exposure it's long deserved.

For those without a sonic historian's chronology fetish, however,

hearing Gang Starr classics such as "Take It Personal," "Ex Girl To

The Next Girl" (RealAudio excerpt) and "DWYCK" alongside relative obscurities such as

"Credit Is Due" and "So Wassup?!" is a revelation. As produced and

mixed by DJ Premier, Full Clip demonstrates that the group

started out at the top of their game with their 1989 debut and has

remained there ever since. The new songs—"Full Clip" (RealAudio excerpt), "All 4 Tha

Ca$h" and "Discipline" (RealAudio excerpt) — demonstrate Gang Starr's continuing

growth. Throughout the collection's 34 songs, Premier never fails to

keep the jazz loops lively yet mellow. And Guru's vocals manage to be

powerful without ever rising above a conversational volume level.

A stickler for Gang Starr history might grouse that this set contains

nothing from Guru's Jazzmatazz project or anything from DJ

Premier's expansive production catalog (Nas, KRS-One, Jeru the

Damaja, among others). Check it out, yo, this is a Gang Starr

collection, not the History of Guru and DJ Premier. Though the duo's

outside activities have definitely influenced their work as Gang

Starr—check out the harder-edged beats of "You Know My Steez"

and "The Militia," for example—by presenting such a fantastic

collection of hits, B-sides and remixes, Guru and DJ Premier

demonstrate they're strongest when together.

Given that last year's Moment of Truth was the first Gang

Starr album to go gold, it seems a lot of you have some catching up

to do. Consider Full Clip your textbook, and hit it!