Gang Starr is a legendary hip hop duo composed of producer DJ Premier and rapper Guru. From 1989 to 2003, the pair released six studio albums, including the classics Hard to Earn and Moment of Truth. On April 19th, 2010, things would change forever as Guru passed away from blood cancer at 48-years-old. Last year, Premo honored his fallen running mate by putting his unreleased material into their critically acclaimed seventh effort, One of the Best Yet. Now being a year separated from this milestone, Gang Sarr and Guru’s legacy are being celebrated once again on the newly released One of the Best Yet (Instrumental)’s bonus track, “Glowing Mic”. With possibly the last song we will ever hear from this iconic duo, will it leave listeners with the ultimate satisfaction?
Opening the song, there are some violins softly playing, which makes everything feel heaven-sent. As the Preemo produced instrumental builds up, his signature scratches play out as boom-bap drums followed by a gleaming baseline appear. With this as the record’s main pattern, Guru finally enters with a verse that feels like it was sent from the clouds as his calm delivery and proficient wordplay allude to the resume he and Premier built for decades. Leading up to an eventual hook that only builds on these themes of introspection, between the sonic background and the late MC’s vocals, it may cause some fans to shed a tear. On the second verse, Guru gets much more technical as his rhymes enrich as he shows more love for himself and the crew around him while also passively scaring his rivals away. After this, the same bridge repeats once again, and the track’s closing leg features a scratch solo from Premier, which cuts up the 1999 Nas song “Come Get Me”. Soothing things out with the same instrumental from the beginning, this emotionally beautiful journey comes to a close.
Walking away from “Glowing Mic” and I’m honestly blown away. From Guru’s angelic vocals to the mellow production from DJ Premier, everything about this track feels perfect. Going forward, I’m not sure what the future holds for Gang Starr but with what the prolific duo has offered to hip hop culture over the years it is safe to call Guru and Premier two of the best hip hop artists to ever live.