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.