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 oneand 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 Truthare 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
Starrcheck out the harder-edged beats of "You Know My Steez"
and "The Militia," for exampleby 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!