Hard To Earn Vs. The Moment Of Truth

It looks like VH1 got it right this year. Per the press release they sent yesterday, De La Soul, Cypress Hill, Too $hort, Naughty By Nature and Slick Rick will all be honored at this year’s Hip-Hop Honors.

They sure redeemed themselves from inducting Missy Elliot last year. While I was mad at Missy’s inclusion, I understood what VH1 was doing. Basically, the network does its best to pick acts they feel will ring bells with the younger demographic. And as for the order, I guess they have to mix and match honorees here and there and stretch at times. If not, they’d run out of honorees quickly.

I’m sure glad to see De La, one of my personal all-time favorites, on the bill this year. But I often wonder how deep VH1 plans to go. Like, will Brand Nubian, Pete Rock & CL Smooth and Gang Starr ever get the call? I think they should, especially Gang Starr. A few of us here at Tha Office were debating about the dynamic duo just yesterday. The convo went from Primo needs an intervention (who thinks he fell off?) to Guru being dope (or not?), to The Moment Of Truth being a better album than Hard To Earn.

Consistency hands down makes Gang Starr one of the illest groups ever. Step in the Arena and Daily Operation could easily be brought into a discussion about the duo’s best work. Though I love songs like “Just To Get A Rep” and “Take It Personal,” I pick Truth over Earn coming in as a not so close second. Primo clearly has been the group’s main draw throughout their career, specifically during those two albums as he became hip-hop’s most sought-after producer. Guru has always held his own, but his proud “monotone” bordered on boring on a few Earn cuts. On the flip side, he sounds re-energized and lyrically sharper on Truth. Let’s not forget the beats. Though both LPs were constructed in Preme’s prime, I feel Truth is superior sonically…from the individual tracks to the sequencing.

I initially was going to compare both LPs track-by-track, but since Earn stands at 17 and Truth 20, it didn’t seem like a fair tactic. So, since there are no wack tracks on both albums, I thought I’d list Earn and Truth‘s more flawed tracks, see which album had more and compare the rates.


-”Words From The Nutcracker” (Hard To Earn): Yet another ill Primo sickstrumental butchered by a member of Group Home. What the hell is Melachi even talking about?
-”Blowin’ Up The Spot” (Hard To Earn): This track isn’t that bad, it just isn’t that good.

-”Now You’re Mine” (Hard To Earn): Let’s not get it twisted, this beat was bonkers, but Guru’s lyrics alone turned me off. “360 dunk in your face/you can’t compete/you’re just a basket case?” You know damn well Guru ain’t got no jumper let alone a lay-up or a 360 dunk over somebody. This joint was unbelievable no pun intended.

-”The Mall” ft. G. Dep & Shiggy Sha (The Moment Of Truth): I’m not crazy about this track, but it’s not like I skip it. Rob the Music Editor is so adamant about it being gabbage that I included it for argument’s sake. Truth is just impeccable from bottom-to-top if you ask me. And that’s quite a feat on a 20-track player.

Clearly Truth has a better rate. What do you guys think? Hard To Earn > The Moment Of Truth? The Moment Of Truth > Hard To Earn? Should Daily Operation or Step in the Arena be heralded as Gang Starr’s best material? Rob says Hard To Earn while J-Rod and Datwon were leaning towards The Moment Of Truth. I’m going with The Moment Of Truth by two tracks over Hard To Earn.

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  • http://www.myspace.com/maxjerome Max-Jerome

    I don’t know if I will get “outnumbered” but Hard To Earn is clearly better than “Moment Of Truth”.

    As far as how far will they go, “The Artifacts” From NJ would have to be inducted…

    First Ever Group To Support Graf Art……

    Come On Man….

    • Bang

      Dont forget the Artifacts kid!

    • tee

      Daily Operation! Hands down!

    • maddvibe

      As a GangStarr fan since “Gotta Get Over” there is no better than at least with me. lol There was a 3 year gap between those two albums with everything ranging from arrests, industry changes, crate diggin, and personal beliefs so without “Hard” we wouldn’t have never gotten that last look at the golden age we call “Moment Of Truth”

  • Real Talk

    Moment of Truth is better. I might have a bias on it cuz it’s newer though.

    Actually my favorite Gangstarr album is Ownerz.

    Premo didn’t fall off, wait until Royce 5’9′s Street Hop drops this year.



  • D of LA

    You really should compare Step In The Arena and Daily Operation. Those are Gang Starr’s best albums! Hard to Earn and Moment of Truth was after Primo blew up for doing Jay, Big and Nas tracks. i love them all, but those first two were greater! What y’all think of that?

    • Worley

      No doubt. Step in the Arena is their best sh*t followed by Hard to Earn, Daily Operation then Moment of Truth then Ownerz.

      Gang Starr is one of the illest groups ever.

      • Worley

        Damn, how could we all forget No More Mr. Nice Guy?

    • iGotOnMyBackpack79

      Hard to Earn was out before the Nas, BIG & Jay tracks. Hard to Earn > Daily Operation > Step in the Arena

  • http://www.dizastah.com D-I-Z

    Moment of Truth! Is this even a discussion???


  • Michael

    What’s wrong with MIssy she’s litteraly the most critically acclaimed hip Hop artist of the decade.

    • Pierzy

      Co-sign. She literally changed the game when she came…

  • giantstepp

    Jazzmatazz vol 1 was my shit snitches!

  • Gooch

    Moment of Truth is a hip-hop classic…. it’s better than Hard To Earn

  • Steph

    there is no way to choose the better one!!!!!! Why do you even post a survey like this??? Every GangStarr album is a classic to me. For these 2, they both provide classic tracks, Premo’s production is more advanced on Moment of Truth, but what in the world can beat a track like Mass Appeal??????????????

  • Pierzy

    Hard to Earn is hott but in my opinion it will always be The Moment Of Truth >>> Hard To Earn.

  • http://xxlmag.com O

    I grew up on Hard To Earn and as much as i loved MOT there wasn’t any songs on it that could really f*ck with Mass Appeal or Dwyck. But that’s just my opinion.

    • maddvibe

      I grew up on Hard To Earn and as much as i loved MOT there wasn’t any songs on it that could really f*ck with Mass Appeal or Dwyck. But that’s just my opinion.

      You Know My Steez…..Above The Clouds….The Militia….MOT….Make ‘Em Pay..The Set Up…JFK 2 LAX….Robbin Hood Theory….not only did Preme take it 2 the next step Guru clearly had a lot of shit on his mind and made muthafuckas listen…..

  • http://xxlmag.com T

    Step in the arena Bitches. “say your prayers” “love sick” “street ministry” “who’s gonna take the weight”. Man please!

  • sekahs

    Hard to Earn just played straight through better in my opinion and it had better classic joints. I would also say that Daily Operation is the best Gangstarr album of all time. Moment of Truth was no joke either.

  • Justice4ALL

    What are the words on this page so BIG?

  • Justice4ALL

    What are the words and pictures on this page so BIG???

    Makes you feel retarded or something.

  • http://thimk.wordpress.com/ Vincent

    Daily Operation is their best overall but I’d choose Hard to Earn over Moment of Truth.

  • hotbox

    daily operation is the joint

    best album cover ever too

  • DANJA29

    I’d say Daily Operation also, but out of these two? I’ma go with “Hard To Earn”. You were definitely right on HTE having a couple lacking tracks, but MOT has this really nice-sized block of snoozers around the middle, like “She Knows What She Wants”, “Itz A Set Up”, “My Advice 2 You”, and a couple others. That little block’s always distracted me from loving that album as much as I prob’ly should.

  • Jhon da Analyst

    Without a doubt being a GangStarr junkie, I gotta go with Hard to Earn over Moment of Truth. They both sound like they were still hungry on HTE. Not so much with Moment of Truth, just frustrated they never got their true props. Not to mention Guru’s gun charge and all that other shit. Still Classic Albums in my eyes. Code of the Streets, Suckas Need Bodyguards, and Speak Ya Clout.

  • http://danielmathisen.blogspot.com QNS-D

    Mass Appeal > Hip Hop

  • iGotOnMyBackpack79

    Hard to Earn is easily better than Moment of Trurth. Primo’s best beats are on that joint and Mass Appeal is better than anything on MOT. Of all the tracks you could’ve listed as being weak on MOT you chose The Mall?!!?! How about that throwaway joint with Hanibal Stax? The M.O.P joint wasn’t that special to me. HTE >> MOT all day, everyday

  • Bang

    Earn was harder, on the beats and everything. But Moment was more honest and heartfelt

    I used to say Hard to Earn, BUT NOPE its a tie son. cant say one’s better they do what they do well

  • some guy from Toronto

    Hard 2 Earn is the better album. I played Moment of Truth religiously but at the end of the day I would say that Daily Operation is a better album than M.O.T. As you say Primo is in his prime on M.O.T. and on that album there was a lot of that “signature sound”. I think from a beat/production standpoint H2E is better because it’s more varied in how it sounds and probably more creative.

    I remember arguing that Guru could take KRS after hearing H2E.

    Based on others comments the more into GangStarr you were/are the more likely you’ll go with H2E. And the age factor always plays a part.

  • http://xxlmag.com big kev

    man u nutz step into the arena best hands down

  • Gonzodagod

    yo Gangstar got 4 DEFinite clas sicks. These r their modt polished albums by far. Earn iz 4 them grimy primo heads thatz n dat haze, pr’bly skunk bca then. Truth wus a stabbed at the mainstream done magnificently check out all the cameos even kci & jojo. I gotta go wit HARD TO EARN!$$

  • http://www.dividedsoulsent.com SPank

    I don’t usually respond to the blogs, but it’s Gangstarr and both albums are bananas with Hard to Earn winning out. Premo’s beats are better on Moment of Truth as a whole but the feel of Hard to Earn is New York hip hop at it’s finest. Plus, it had Mass Appeal which is possibly their best song. Oh, the reference to Now You’re Mine, keep in mind: it was first on the White Men Can’t Jump soundtrack and that’s probably why it has the basketball references.

  • http://XXL TheGodJustice

    I have MOMENT OF TRUTH, and that is one of my favorite albums. But that’s the only GANGSTARR album that I have. So I can’t say between that and HARD TO EARN which on is better. I would only be judging off of the singles that came off the album, and that wouldn’t be a fair one. Though I have heard OWNERZ via internet, that’s not the album that is mainly being talked about right now. I just wanted to say that MOT is a banger. I need to pick up some more GANGSTARR if I want to compare.

  • http://XXL TheGodJustice

    “Oh, the reference to Now You’re Mine, keep in mind: it was first on the White Men Can’t Jump soundtrack and that’s probably why it has the basketball references.”
    Yeah, as for that basketball line, he was probably just rhyming, being an emcee. It did have to go along with the concept of the song somewhere down the line.

  • http://illaim.wordpress.com/ ILLAIM

    This is no contest at all.

    As much as I love “Above the Clouds” “Hard to Earn” kills “Moment of Truth

    There are just to many banging tracks on there

    The one two of

    “Code of the Streets” and “Sukas Need Body Gaurds” lays out any combination on TMOT

  • 313Dawg

    Moment of Truth!!!!

  • Vicious Seiger

    Hard to Earn, a classic rarely mentioned by ANYONE.

    • http://xxlMAG jb-da b.stuy reppa

      Hard to earn is a CLASSIC. Anyone that has the album knows this. It should definitely get more recognition. But so does Gangstarr as a whole. Guru is one of the most underated m.c.’s of all time.

  • b-ease

    I’m still shocked you put the “The Mall” as the weakest track. “She Knows what she wants” was the weakest joint. And not because it was a “girl” joint, but because it was a weak “girl” joint.

  • oskamadison

    I know this is an old post but I gotta throw my 2 rusty Lincolns in. Beginning to end, “Moment of Truth” is my favorite but nothing on there can touch “Speak Ya Clout” from Hard To Earn. 3 of the most hardbody beats on one track? Sick…