Because classic albums nowadays come as frequently as haley's commet, or a funny joke from Carlos Mencia, my friend Selfra and I decided that we'd get into the habit of reviewing some of the dopest records in Hip Hop history. "Who's selfra?" you ask?? Well, he is a dude that I met through my ex-girlfriend, a man that has given me some stellar advice when I was in that relationship, on me turning the other cheek, and catering to the needs of women. Since my ex-girlfriend is currently married, I average 5 fights a year, and the fact that I told a woman "Why don't you get a fucking Teddy Bear then!" when I was disgusted at her post-coidal hug requests, lets just say that I have rejected his wisdom thus far. But he's a good friend who knows his Hip Hop to the point that I consider him my "Hip Hop Yoda", so I listened when he wanted to review this dope piece of music first. By all means check out his blog, in an age where people who write about Hip Hop don't know what in the fuck they are talking about and come across like retarded stroke victims, selfra's blog is not only a breath of fresh air but it's that dose of medicine that you need. Now, on to the review.
Selfra: Despite the fact that Gangstarr gave us No More Mr. Nice Guy and Step in the Arena, it was not until Premier and Guru blessed the audience with Daily Operation that they were considered heavyweights in hip hop. On this album, Dj Premier solidified his position as the producer that has no equal. It was in front of the board where Guru earned his stripes. Way back in '92, I must have purchased this tape at least 3 times since I kept popping them. I was stationed on board the USS John F. Kennedy and all the hip hop heads kept it on heavy rotation.
HumanityCritic: At least you were serving your country honorably back in 92', actually making a bona fide contribution to the world. When "Daily Operation" came out I was 18 and I was only interested in penetrating as many women with loose morals and even looser orifices as frequently as possible. Between me giving women gooey mustaches and my frequent free clinic visits due to my hypochondria when it came to my cock, the mere fact that this classic is burned in my memory is a testament to its greatness. Come to think of it I've been doing the same shit for 14 years now, if I was a business my tag line would be "Pissing women off with an unimpressive penis since 1989" and shit.
Track 1: Daily Operation
Selfra: Premier is known for teasing the listener. This intro was simple. No long boring soliloquies by any MC. Just a dope beat with a few scratches. Enough to open us up for the next track. It seemed like after Premier did this, everyone started doing it.
HumanityCritic: I agree, Premo is one of the only producers out there that understands that less can be more.(That theory doesn't go over well with the ladies by the way) This is going to sound weird, me injecting the name of a pop singer in a Gangstarr review, but the intro pieces that Premo did on that Christina Aguilera album are complete genius.
Track 2: The Place Where we Dwell
Selfra: Guru, a Brooklyn resident, was actually from Boston. Premier is from Texas, but you could not tell from their music. On this track, Guru really came off. He described Brooklyn to a “T.” To be honest, it is a center of cultural movements. Heck, even Roy Ayers knew that.
HumanityCritic: As a kid raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia, I always was jealous that I never had a "..and then I plugged the DJ set into the light-pole" stories at my disposal. I agree with you, for two guys not originally from Brooklyn they sure invoke strong imagery from the listener. If I ever came out with a record I would invoke intense images of me taking a watery crap on Pat Robertson's lawn, black suburban life, and my fear of having my computer serviced based on the mass amounts of deviant porn thats on my hard drive. Real live Va Beach street shit son!!!(see Clipse)
Track 3: Flip the Script
Selfra: The Dynamic Duo just kill it here. Guru comes right in, ripping into his enemies. Premier follows up with the scratches and loops for the hook. This song is straight and to the point. I can still hear it now “like this ya'll, this ya'll...”
HumanityCritic: This is song is like a jab in the face to any of his contemporaries who were even thinking about dissing him. When I've been in fights I've always made a concerted effort to tap the other guys chin with ease with a couple of jabs, not really to hurt them, but to make a "if I can jab you like this, just imagine the punishment that's coming your way" statement. Guru's lyricism on this song, showing the masses that his monotone flow was dangerous, seemed like a statement from the man they call "Bald-head slick".
Track 4: Ex to the Next Girl
Selfra: First up, Premier did a love joint with scratches on it. WTF! Just imagine that. No one does scratches on a love joint but Premier could do it and get away with it. Guru, like Black Thought, always wrote the dope love joints. Whatever happened to those joints? In this track, Guru discusses betrayal especially when he goes all out for the sister. But the “girls look so good...” loop just sticks in your head. The horns just really brought out the chemistry.
HumanityCritic: I'm aware that Gangstarr has a catalog full of legendary material, but as a guy who has had a few women in my life not only rip my heart out of my chest with reckless abandoned but also laugh like schoolgirls as they looked at it still beating in their hands, this is admittedly one of my favorite Gangstarr joints. Love songs done bad in Hip Hop are simply clusterfucks of botched abortion proportions, but when it is done well like here, it is pure magic. I remember being in love with this girl named Chalanda and her leaving me for some fuck-nuts that went by the moniker of "DJ David". I was hurt, so much in fact that my corny ass used this song as the song that played when you called my pager.(I couldn't date light-skinned women for a decade because of her) Yes, I was and am still a cornball.
Track 5: Soliloquy of Chaos
Selfra: My favorite track. The piano riffs were simple, yet hardcore. I can picture Guru's lyrics as he and his crew jump in several cars to head out. I could feel the wind coming through the windows while they played the latest mix tape. It was ill how he described how he and Premier headed to a show and witnessed “the stupid nigga playoffs...” Without coming off preachy, Guru discusses the importance of non violence.
HumanityCritic: I've thought about this track for the past 14 years whenever I've seen, heard, or been in the middle of some random form of violence that came virtually out of nowhere. This one time that I went to this bar to have an innocent bottle of beer and somehow found myself in the middle of a bar brawl just because I told someones wife that she looked like a "cum catcher", I later said to myself "The soliloquy of chaos". Or when a local man got killed at a Jim Jones concert, again I shook my head and said to myself "The soliloquy of chaos", but that's only after I said "Bless the dead and all, but that's his punishment for going to a wack ass Jim Jones show!"
Track 6: I'm the Man
Selfra: Here is the proverbial posse cut. Here, Guru introduces Lil' Dap of the Group Home and Jeru da Damaja. Premier provides a track for each verse. The chemistry is just so dope. Guru does his laid back thing. Lil' Dap comes simple but hard. “My father always said/don't watch the one cross the street/watch the one right next/cause he easy to flex...” Ironically, Jeru did not come off but later he becomes a heavyweight on his own.
HumanityCritic: Maybe this is just an example of my simple mind, but the mere fact that Premo used three different tracks and didn't feel the need to blend them is completely masterful in my honest opinion. This is by far one of my favorite examples of three men taking turns ripping it to shreds, that's outside of my love for triple penetration porn that is. You know, Group Home never completely won me over but Lil Dap is dope on this track.
Track 7: 92' Interlude
Selfra: When I pulled this joint back out, I forgot that this album came out in 1992. Again Premier gives us one of those gems as a filler track. He was teasing us here again. It is so short. This one stayed on the pause tape joint for the freestyle sessions.
HumanityCritic: This loop is dope to me, and based on the fact that it's only 29 seconds I couldn't tell you how many chicks have gotten to know me biblicly, with me finishing the sex act before it ended, to this sample. Every time I hear it I just imagine how many beats that Premo has, how many he feels aren't worthy into making into songs, and if a chubby pre-ejaculator with a love for Hip Hop like myself could get my grubby hands on them.
Track 8: Take It Personal
Selfra: This was the lead single and video for the album. Just like the song, simple yet hard. Fourteen Years later and heads still go nuts when this comes on. Premier's cuts were just perfect. Guru was so hard on this joint but his flow was so smooth. Another tale of betrayal and retribution. The Piano riffs were just horror core. Eerie like a mug. “I flip lines and rhymes that never sound like yours/there oughta be laws against flapping your jaws...and if i sound doper, then take it personal.”
HumanityCritic: "Take It Personal" is such a hard hitting track and Guru's lyrics have such a calm and angry sense to them, it seems like something a Mobster would play to his victim before he puts them on the business end of a Colombian necktie. I have to be honest here, when my friends start to exhibit bad tastes in Hip Hop(Jim Jones, Rick Ross, or some other garden variety shit stain on Hip Hop) I do an intervention on them where I drive them around for a couple of hours, forcing them to listen to quality Hip Hop with the doors locked. This is one of the songs that I play.
Track 9: 2 Deep
HumanityCritic: This track is so dope, the blaring horns smack you in the face in the best ways possible, like a hookers tits smacking you on the chin when she does all the work. Another track that Guru comes off lyrically, and I always laugh at the sound of water during the hook because it always makes me think that they wanted that to symbolize taking a piss on the competition.
Track 10: 24/7, 365
Selfra: Oh, the horns. Another Premier teaser. He did it again.
HumanityCritic: Again, Premo, throw me some of those tracks that you don't use. I mean, this blog hasn't gotten me any ass yet, but if I tell chicks that I personally received a Premo track from the man himself I'm sure that women would at least glance at my penis.
Track 11: No Shame in My Game
Selfra: What did Jeru mean when he said “the mystic, majestic left/right, left/kid?” Same formula as the other joint. Here Guru pulls no punches as he deals with the rumors about his habits. Another favorite of mine. Strictly for the hardrocks and Ogs.
HumanityCritic: I always wondered about that "left/right, left/right kid" shit as well. Did that mean that during a fight that he was lethal with both hands, or that he was ambidextrous when it came to the ancient art of masturbation? Who knows? That being said, the track just flows effortlessly and is one of my favorites as well. I mean, you got to love the fact that he refers to his penis as his "Dilsnick".
Track 12: Conspiracy
Selfra: I like how this joint comes on. On this album, Guru usually comes in with the track after a brief intro. Here, Premier lets the beat ride then Guru comes in. The title speaks for itself. He attacks white supremacy. He does a few for each album to let heads know that he is still a conscious brother. And he does it well. “you must be aware to combat the conspiracy...”
HumanityCritic: The piano loop is sick, and the way that he attacks racism is not only dope because he addresses a serious topic but he actually gets it right. How we are portrayed in the news media, how people try to mask their racism as "objectivity" when it comes to their critique on Hip Hop, the brainwashing of many of our people. Granted, I don't really mind the black "well endowed" myth, without that white girls the world over wouldn't give me a snowballs chance in Lil Kim's crotch of having sex with them.
Track 13: The Illest Brother
Selfra: After we started doing this review, I sort of rediscovered this song. This is one of the most slept on songs on the album. Guru just kills it. If hip hop is black CNN, then this is an ill commentary by one of hip hop's finest.
HumanityCritic: Besides sonically, this song is dope to me for many reasons. For one thing it breaks down what many of us have gone through, seeing the horrible acts of others at an early age and deciding that being a heartless killer wouldn't be my final career choice. Guru also talks about all those "Just add water thugs" as I call them, dudes who talk a good game but cry like babies with their ass-cheeks puckered ever so tightly when they are locked up. By the way, the piano and scratch-laden hook makes me want to smack someones mother, or kick someones grandmother in the chest for christs sake.
Track 14: Hardcore Composer
Selfra: Another reason I love this album is that it's 18 tracks deep but there is no fast forward material. Nowadays, if you have an 18 track album, about 5 tracks are dope and 4 are so so. The rest are wick wick wack. I just love how Guru describes handing out beatdowns. The track is mad laid back too. “but not me, I'm just a hardcore composer.”
HumanityCritic: Another example of less being more, just a bassline driven track where Guru flexes his verbal dexterity once again. I like this song, but I get the sneaking suspicion that that "Jungle Brothers" sample won me over.
Track 15: B.Y.S
Selfra: This is straight bananas. “I get much fan mail/and I always respond/so tell your hun to write me too/make sure she puts attention: Mr. Guru...” Man, I love that. Back then, I really try to kick lines like Guru to the ladies. It worked several times. Premo just kills it with the cutting. But we really need to take it back to this instead of talking about guns all the time.
HumanityCritic: I've made a concerted effort to not only curb my violent outbursts in my life and also on this blog, but I would be doing the readers a huge disservice if I wasn't completely honest about how I have used this song over the years. Let me explain. Whenever I knew I had to smack someone in their mouth and didn't exactly feel passionate about it, like if they owed me money or talked behind my back or some shit, on the way to that person's house I would play this track and it would get me in the biggest ass-whipping mood. This song would even spill into my pre-punch dialogue, you could easily hear me "Hey, if you don't give me my 100 dollars I'm going to Bust your shit!!"
Track 16: Much Too Much
Selfra: What I love about this track is that it felt like it was recorded either before or after the album was mastered. It is dope yet so different from all the other tracks. The horns again are just killer. The chemistry is here again.
HumanityCritic: Not one of my favorite songs, but it does just enough to cement this album as being a bona fide classic. Guru's bravado laced with the classic use of horns by Premo, makes this another track you bob your head to..
Track 17: Take Two and Pass
Selfra: Confession: even while I was in, this was a ritual. It's a dope track without glorifying it or making it seem like its a form of activism. Just a bunch of heads getting lit. The sample of MC Shan is classic though.
HumanityCritic: As a person who has smoked his fair share of marijuana in his day, this is by far the best weed anthem ever. Sure there are some classics out there, but the laid back track makes you think about extremely long bong hits, giggling uncontrollably, and having the munchies that force you to make an utterly delectable Peanut Butter and Meatloaf sandwich.
Track 18: Stay Tuned
Selfra: The outro. Honestly, I felt like Guru should have just talked on it or just let it ride. The track is dope though but Guru did not really come off. But it did set us up to wait for more.
HumanityCritic: This is basically the closing credits so to speak, informing the listeners that they will be hit with more classics in the years to come. Of course they turned out to be prophets.
To hear the album you can download it here, but buy this album and make it a part of your collection.