On this date three decades ago, Chris Martin b.k.a the legendary DJ Premier and Keith Elam b.k.a the Guru (Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal) put together Gang Starr’s second and possibly most memorable album, Step Into The Arena. The duo was one of the first groups to sign the newly formed Chysalis/EMI label after ditching Wild Pitch Records following their debut album, No More Mr. Nice Guy.
With production solely in the hands of Preemo and Guru, the raw, gritty sound that helped mold New York Hip Hop during its Golden Era can be found in many facets of this project, which is somewhat surprising coming from a rapping teacher from Boston and a DJ from Houston, Texas who just happened to link up in East New York, Brooklyn. Tracks such as the jux-inspired “Just To Get A Rep”, the consciously cool lyricism of “Who’s Gonna Take The Weight” and the hilarious bug-a-boo fueled “What You Want This Time?” showed and proved Gang Starr’s innate ability to capture an experience on wax that all listeners can feel.
Salute to Preemo, the Elam family and everyone else involved in creating this piece of Hip Hop history!