Way back in 1986, a legendary collective was born, when MC Guru created Gang Starr. DJ Premier joined in 1989, which was the beginning of a legendary career. Over an action-packed fifteen years, Gang Starr would release six studio albums, with hits like “Mass Appeal,” “Take It Personal,” and “Above The Clouds.”
Gang Starr were known as pioneers of both jazz rap and the New York City hardcore hip hop sound. Both fans and critics of underground rap have long respected their catalog, and they even provided the track “Battle” for the hit movie 8 Mile. Their track “Jazz Thing” was also included in the soundtrack for the Spike Lee film Mo’ Better Blues. But in 2006, it seemed they were done, and that Gang Starr would be no more.
Now, nearly a decade after the unfortunate passing of Guru, DJ Premier has returned with a new track under the Gang Starr name: “Family and Loyalty.”
“Family and Loyalty” is classic hip-hop, from record-scratches to lyrics that aren’t so much about diamonds as the things that really matter in life. But this track also has a feature from 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 “Family and Loyalty” video opens with a reading of the Last Will and Testament of Guru, and J. Cole appears via video call and on a basketball court as he spits his verse. The clip flashes between past and present with scenes all around New York, honoring Guru’s legacy and celebrating all Gang Starr has done.