So why is Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?
There’s a very specific vibe that Gang Starr conjures. In its spare production, break beats, and smooth and tasty jazz samples, Gang Starr is groovy and slightly menacing, often at the same time.
Gang Starr really is its own thing. It’s the kind of music that I usually need to be in a very specific mood to throw on, but when I do I’m always very happy and satisfied that I did.
Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr captures a huge array of the duo’s output and also frames how I personally discovered and to this day experience their music. What I mean by that is that while I was vaguely aware of Gang Starr – and songs like “Work” – during the 1990s (the “decade” that Full Clip covers), it was really during the post-2010s streaming era that I was able to fully dive into and appreciate Gang Starr.
Well, speaking of, let’s get to “Work.” You can really see what sets DJ Premier apart in the hip hop game here. The sample is pulled from the horn and drum break from a jazz song called “The Watusi” by The Vibrations, and it sets a light hearted, even pretty backdrop over which Guru’s flat yet smooth flow is perfect.
It’s those horns though that really set “Work” apart, as do the superior lyrics that are clever, boastful, funny, and a bit unsettling in turn.
“Jazz Thing” has the incredible feel of a live jazz concert, and is an amazing example of the question I’ve asked many times over the years along the lines of, “Why isn’t there more jazzy hip hop to listen to these days*? One of the reasons I ask that question is because “Jazz Thing” is simply outstanding.
* Part of the answer surely has to do with how much more difficult and expensive it is to secure the rights to sample music these days. That said, the good news in a sense is that the lo fi hip hop movement has in recent years succeeded wildly.
“The Militia,” featuring Big Shrug and Freddie Foxxx, is the premium example of Gang Starr at its most menacing, exciting, and effective.
“Full Clip” was actually a previously unreleased track that was recorded specifically for Full Clip. It wound up becoming one of Gang Starr’s most popular and iconic tracks, despite not being included on any of their previous albums. “Full Clip” features Guru and DJ Premier trading verses over a hard-hitting beat that samples music from the soundtrack of the 1971 blaxploitation film, “Shaft”.
Some stats & info about Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rap, Hip Hop, East Coast Rap, Hip Hop Golden Age, Jazzy Rap
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
- When was Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr released? 1999
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #503 out of 1,000
Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr on Spotify
A lyrical snippet from Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe
Now I’m a start collecting props, connecting plots. Networking like a conference, ‘cause the nonsense is yet to stop.
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.