Gang Starr
The Ownerz


4.0
excellent

Review

by LambsBread USER (18 Reviews)
December 11th, 2013 | 12 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Aiyyo, what the FUKK is this shit that y'all are listenin to Nowadays on the radio man? You call that shit hip-hop?... All you DJ's are lettin the program directors handcuff you And sit there and tell you how to mix?! YOU FUKKIN ROBOTS! FUKK Y'ALL!!!

Gang Starr is an old school hip hop group that adapted well to modern sounds and continued making superb music in the 21st century. The group consists of recently deceased and legendary emcee Guru, and the man that produced Illmatic, DJ Premier, who is widely considered the best DJ of all time. Although this album is far from as enlightening and enjoyable as their previous album, the timeless classic Moment of Truth, it does continue Gang Starr’s tradition of never putting out a single bad album, and it does have a number of quality tracks with superb beats that are on level with some of Gang Starr’s classic material.

Emcee Guru distinguishes himself from emcees in modern rap for a handful of reasons. As Guru’s name implies (Guru means Teacher in Hinduism) he never raps about trivial topics, and drops knowledge constantly on most tracks. Similar to other old school emcees, notably KRS-One, Guru is not the type of rapper to repeat subject matter and focus on making the songs catchy by perfecting the flow. Instead, he prefers a relatively simple and old-school style of rhyming, keeping his raps slow paced, which has the byproduct of making his lyrics distinctly audible. He drops a small amount of knowledge on this album (the most conscious track, by far, being “In This Life..”) but this ends up being one of Gang Starr’s least conscious albums. Some will appreciate this difference because these songs generally sound catchier and less distorted than most of their older material, but the subject matter (on most tracks) is noticeably shallower. The likely reason is that this album was primarily made for Gang Starr to cement their legacy through a number of braggadocio tracks and diss tracks that could be used to silence critics from the grave.

DJ Premier is the master of making something out of nothing. By using prolonged horns and a deep thumping bass, Guru adds huge amounts of energy to The Ownerz, to create fast paced boom bap beats that sound like they are theme songs to a gun shoot out. If you made a CD with just one clip of every sound Premier used on this album – it would be under two minutes long! Modern and casual hip hop listeners may find these beats slightly repetitive or “samey”, while old school fans will enjoy them for being raw and gritty. DJ Premier has never abandoned the style of using one extremely catchy sound/sample as a break, then playing the break over and over throughout the track. This comes from a restraint that Premier inherited by being raised in a time before today’s technology was available, when all producers had was two turn tables. He continued to find a way to excel using this style well into the 21st century by turning simplicity into a hardcore atmosphere reminiscent of the street life hew grew up in. More than any other DJ, Premier does an excellent job of matching up the beat with Guru’s style and is always on point with his beat drops, a skill that is entirely lost in most DJs today, which helps give every one of Guru's monotone rhymes an extra bit of needed enthusiasm.

This album is not a good starting point for someone new to Gang Starr (I would recommend either Moment of Truth – their best album, or Daily Operation – the first album in which they adopted their modern style), but, for those who enjoy Gang Starr and haven’t heard this album, it is a necessity that you hear this. While this album doesn’t flow as a whole nearly as well as some of their previous works, there is something for everyone on this album, except FUKKIN ROBOTS!

RIP Keith “Guru” Elam (July 17, 1961 – April 19, 2010)



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user ratings (70)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
LambsBread
December 10th 2013


3476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for reading. Feedback appreciated, please don't NEG without telling me whats wrong.

Digging: Ellay Khule - Holy Scriptures

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
December 10th 2013


6114 Comments


well this is surprising

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
December 10th 2013


6114 Comments


haven't read but "kill yaself" hindu is not a language

LambsBread
December 10th 2013


3476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol i fixed it

Inveigh
December 10th 2013


25006 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Skills will always be my jam

good review

Funeralopolis
December 10th 2013


11408 Comments


Walk here The Ownerz (level 126)
Follow The Ownerz (level 126)
Trade The Ownerz (level 126)
Cancel

Digging: Black Milk - No Poison No Paradise

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
December 11th 2013


6114 Comments


was that your runescape name or something

pacedown
December 11th 2013


174 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

watch as we do it again..
skillzzzz

old school roots, essential record. cool review.

LambsBread
December 11th 2013


3476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks. Damn I hate when people ghost neg, I know it's you gwyn!!!

Yeah skills my first favorite gang Starr track actually, as weird as that is, cuz I was only 13 when this came out and hadn't heard much of heir other stuff yet.

Cadda
December 12th 2013


162 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank you for reviewing this

HalfManHalfAmazing
December 30th 2013


565 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

great review!

mynameisSlimShady
January 10th 2014


114 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I prefer moment of truth (above the clouds is so good) but this album is pretty good too. RIP Guru



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