World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Gang Starr

Gang Starr
Gang Starr performing in Hamburg, 1999.
Background information
Origin Brooklyn, New York, USA
Genres East Coast hip hop, jazz, jazz rap
Years active 1985–2006
Labels Wild Pitch Records, Chrysalis Records, Virgin
Associated acts Gang Starr Foundation, M.O.P., Ed O.G., Nice & Smooth, Wu-Tang Clan, Termanology, Rakim, Reks, D.I.T.C.
Past members Guru (deceased)
DJ Premier

Gang Starr was an influential East Coast hip hop duo that consisted of the late MC Guru and the DJ/producer DJ Premier.[1]


  • Background 1
  • Death of Guru 2
  • Gang Starr Foundation 3
  • Discography 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The group was founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1985 by Keith Elam (then known as Keithy E. The Guru) and DJ 1, 2 B-Down (also known as Mike Dee) with various producers, such as Donald D, J.V. Johnson or DJ Mark the 45 King helping out. In 1987 and 1988, Gang Starr released three 12" vinyl singles on Wild Pitch Records.

Gang Starr in 2003.

In 1989, the group split and the only member willing to continue under the name Gang Starr was Guru. He soon got in touch with Houston native DJ Premier (then known as Waxmaster C) who sent him a beat tape, which Guru liked. He invited DJ Premier to join Gang Starr and in that same year they released their first single "Words I Manifest" along with the album No More Mr. Nice Guy (1989).[1] In 1990, the group was signed to the Chrysalis record label by then A&R director Duff Marlowe, a former DJ and Los Angeles Times rap music critic. The London-based label offered Guru and Premier unlimited artistic license and major-label distribution worldwide, a platform the group used to become one of the most influential hip hop acts of that decade. During their career Gang Starr helped pioneer the New York City hardcore hip hop sound. The entire Gang Starr catalog, especially Step in the Arena (1990), Daily Operation (1992), Hard to Earn (1994) and Moment of Truth (1998) are well respected among underground rap fans and critics. Gang Starr provided a track, Battle, for the sound track of the 2002 movie 8 Mile. Their track "Jazz Thing" was featured on the soundtrack to Spike Lee's film Mo' Better Blues.[1]

Guru was involved in a European Gang Starr tour in 2003-04 with an alternate DJ after DJ Premier's return to the United States. In 2006, Guru indicated in several interviews that Gang Starr had reached its end.[2]

DJ Premier recently stated that there is a posthumous Gang Starr CD/DVD project in the works, most likely to be released in 2014.[3]

Premier also confirmed that he is working on a Gang Starr biopic along with Guru's sister Patricia Elam.[4]

Death of Guru

In February 2010, Guru suffered a heart attack, went into a coma, and died on April 19, 2010. Solar, a long-time collaborator of the artist, said Guru chose not to go public with the diagnosis of myeloma that was made in 2000.[5] According to a statement released by his PR company upon his death, Guru appeared to have fallen out with DJ Premier seven years prior to his death and did "not wish my ex-DJ to have anything to do with my name, likeness, events, tributes, etc." There is speculation that the letter was not written by Guru, but was actually composed by his business partner Solar[6] The validity of the statement continues to be heavily questioned by Guru's family and many of his contemporaries within the Hip-Hop culture.[7]

Gang Starr Foundation

Both members of Gang Starr had roots in the New York hip hop scene, despite hailing from Boston (Guru) and Houston (DJ Premier), and have each worked with several artists.

The Gang Starr Foundation was a loose collective of various people who have worked closely with the group, through either Guru's now defunct Ill Kid label, DJ Premier's production work or the management company that Gang Starr was represented by, Empire Management. Members of The Gang Starr Foundation included Big Shug, Afu-Ra, Jeru the Damaja, Krumbsnatcha, Ed O.G., and Group Home.



  1. ^ a b c Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 371.  
  2. ^ " : Features". 2006-06-13. Archived from the original on 2006-06-13. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  3. ^ DJ Premier: New Gang Starr Album And DVD In The Works. Retrieved 2010-12-11.
  4. ^ After 'Compton' Succsess, DJ Premier Eyes Gang Starr Biopic. Retrieved 2015-08-28.
  5. ^ "Rapper Guru dies after battle with cancer". 2010-04-20. Retrieved 2010-04-23. 
  6. ^ "New York rap star Guru dies at 43". BBC News. 2010-04-20. 
  7. ^ "Gang Starr rapper Guru's family question 'death bed letter' | News". Nme.Com. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 

External links

  • Year Round Records DJ Premier's label site
  • "Jazz and Hip-Hop" by Jared Pauley, (
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.