March 08, 2020

Gang Starr "Hard To Earn" (March 8, 1994)

“All you kids [who] want to get on and shit,” Guru says as Hard To Earn begins. “Just remember this. This shit ain’t easy. If you ain’t got it, you ain’t got it, mothaf#cka.” ... The project, released March 8, 1994, is the fourth studio album from the Gang Starr duo and it features Gang Starr Foundation’s Group Home, Jeru The Damaja and Big Shug, among others. Gang Starr’s Hard To Earn is generally acclaimed by critics. AllMusic, for example, awarded the album a 4/5 in its review: “Gang Starr came out hard on their 1994 album, Hard to Earn, an album notably different from its two predecessors: Step in the Arena (1991) and Daily Operation (1992)... While those two classic albums garnered tremendous praise for their thoughtful lyrics and jazzy beats, Hard to Earn seems much more reactionary, especially its lyrics… There isn’t a song on the album that’s a throwaway, and even the interludes are stunning.” Rolling Stone also rated the album favorably, offering a 4/5 rating for the collection. “It’s a boom-boom-static revelation that bops cool and confident like a mack,” Rolling Stone said of the album at the time of its release. “It offers rugged and multilayered orchestral maneuvers – cinematic urban blues, tracks full of strafing noise, bouncy beats, gooey grooves and moody chanting that seems to evoke spirits. Wordwise, it gives up screams of protest, assertions of selfhood and no-bullshit examinations of the world… Gang Starr have brazenly defied trends, and the result is an achievement like Hard to Earn.“ Click play and keep reading about Hard To Earn...

Gang Starr’s Hard To Earn contains several notable selections often celebrated by Gang Starr fans. “DWYCK,” “Code Of The Streets” and “Mass Appeal” are among the album’s most critically applauded cuts. “DWYCK” and “Mass Appeal” were also listed in DJ Premier’s list of his Top 50 songs featuring Guru, a list published in 2011. In September 2013, DJ Premier spoke about his vision for “Mass Appeal” and how it came to fruition. “So, when it came to ‘Mass Appeal’ I already heard it in my head,” Premier said at the time. “Not the actual sample, but just what it should sound like. I’ve already kind of planned something in my head. We like to do our singles right when it’s due. That’s why it always sounds so fresh when you hear it. And it sounds like it was just made just now. A record like ‘Mass Appeal,’ the reason why we made it is because that’s right when radio started teeter-tottering towards watering down the Hip Hop and we were just really bugged out that it had gotten to that point…It’s like we knew this was gonna be one of our bigger records and it was one of our bigger records that went straight to radio.” - DX. Revisit & celebrate this classic today!