Double Up: Gang Starr’s “Daily Operation” Marks Its 20th Anniversary

While Gang Starr’s musical catalog has come to a halt with the unfortunate passing of Guru in 2010, the legacy of the collective lives on.

Today marks the 20-year anniversary of GS’s third group effort, Daily Operation. Continuing his experiment with jazz-entrenched samples, Premier’s stylistic evolution was evident on cuts such as “The Illest Brother,” “Soliloquy of Chaos,” and “Take It Personal.” Topically, the album showcased a variety of subjects that laid the groundwork for street-oriented, yet socially aware, early ‘90s East Coast rap. “Conspiracy” dissected institutional racism, “Take Two and Pass” acknowledged the duo’s affection for the sticky, while “The Place Where We Dwell” was an ode to the group’s newly claimed home of Brooklyn.

The album also introduced Gang Starr Foundation members such as Lil’ Dap of Group Home, and Jeru the Damaja—who would garner much fanfare two years later with “Come Clean”—on “I’m the Man,” where Premier provides a different beat for each MC’s verse, redefining the concept of a traditional posse cut.

Though it failed to amass commercial success during its release, 20 years after its debut, the album remains supreme as a hip-hop classic.

The only addition that could’ve made the album reach a bigger audience was the inclusion of “DWYCK,” the party anthem featuring Nice & Smooth. DJ Premier, who spoke with the writer early last year, recalls why the single failed to make it on Daily Operation.

“It was a B-side joint [for ‘Take It Personal’]. We did ‘Down the Line’ on the Nice & Smooth album, so we were like, ‘Y’all do one with us.’ It was supposed to be on Daily Operation, but the label wasn’t rolling with it. They just wanted to leave it the way it was. The buzz, however, was so big, we re-mastered it and tacked it onto the album, but then [the label] just didn’t do the re-pressings. I think we would’ve gone, maybe even platinum. ‘DWYCK’ was that big.”

Regardless, a record like “DWYCK” was never again replicated, and its absence allowed for the grittiness of Daily Operation to remain as a thematically complete and stylistically defining piece of work.

20 years have passed, but its influence remains. Today, XXL encourages the listening of Daily Operation, and it’s not a threat, so take it personal. —Jaeki Cho (@JaekiCho)

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  • truth1

    DJ Premier is a Crack head Old Homo. Him and Bumpy made a diss record on Guru while Guru was passing in the hopspital and he is why Guru left gangstarr. FUCCK DJ PREMIER
    Search Gusmo truth behind Gangstarr breakup on youtube
    and 80 bars of murder bumpy/premier diss record on Guru while he was losing his battle with cancer

  • oskamadison

    “Daily Operation” is indeed a classic. RIP Guru. Gang Starr, Guru and DJ Premier, lives on…

  • Tone deep

    All Guru’s work is classic! The 7Grand albums with Solar are considered by the Mass’s as The most slept on Hip Hop of the Decade 200- t0 2010. Premier has done his worst to stop paople from checking Guru’s new material. If he is so great why has he shown so much fear of Guru’ work with Solar?
    Because he is a Piece of shit!! Thats why. Guru desreved better. like the Bible says hell is their reward. Peace

  • timeon

    Guru was murdered by the people claiming ties to the ILLUMINATI along with DJ Premier The same ILLUMINATI JAZ Z Proudly claims DJ Crackhead Did a song with LUCIFER called DEVILS Hmmmm You the math. They will REEP the WHIRLWIND for this cowardly act!!! Vengance is mine sayeth the LORD. There is no where they can hide from whats coming.