In the most exciting news that we’ve heard all week, DJ Premier took to Instagram last night to reveal that the new Gang Starr project is dropping on November 1. This may dethrone Jim Jones’s El Capo as album of the year. It will certainly be the soundtrack to the remainder of fall, and start of winter. The group followed up last month’s release of “Family and Loyalty” by unveiling another track titled “Bad Name” to coincide with the announcement. Listen to it above, preorder One Of The Best Yet here.
UPDATE 10.30.19: The New York Times published an article yesterday that gives the full story on how the new Gang Starr project came to be, and is a must-read piece before it drops on Friday. The editorial reveals that this will be the first of two Gang Starr albums made from 30 Guru recordings recovered posthumously by Premier from DJ Solar, who had been working with rapper up until the time of his death in 2010.
Premier was convinced there were unreleased vocals in the vault. “I knew there had to be material out there that [Solar] was sitting on, I could just feel it,” he said. “Guru’s like Tupac. He just records and records and records. I felt like it was a rescue mission.”
Premier and Solar weren’t on speaking terms, and the case was wrapped up in appeal. But in 2016, Premier received word that Solar was ready to sell. “Whatever the ransom’s going to be, I’ll pay for it,” he said he remembered thinking.
According to Premier, the parties settled on a figure in exchange for 30 unreleased recordings and made a deal. “Some of them had two verses, some of them had a verse, some of them just had a hook and then faded,” Premier said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, there’s enough to do something.’” He took the tracks and started to rework them into the songs that appear on “One of the Best Yet.”
And the album was recorded with Guru’s ashes in the studio. It really doesn’t get any more legendary than that.
Premier said he spent 18 months locked down at HeadQCourterz, retrofitting new production for his old partner’s rhymes. When he arrived at the studio each day, he’d perform a sage-burning ritual over an urn containing some of his friend’s ashes. “So many things surrounded him at the end, it was a good way to clear all the evil energy,” he said.
He added that Guru’s spirit guided the creative process: “I know what a Gang Starr album that’s done is supposed to sound like. I know what he would like.”
Read the full article here.