Track of the Day: Gang Starr “Bad Name” (2019)

Those unmistakable scratches and that smooth, jazzy voice – an unimpeachable combination that can only mark new material from storied hip hop duo Gang Starr.

Almost 10 years since Guru’s passing, DJ Premier is about to lift the lid on a brand new Gang Starr album, One of the Best Yet, and has shared the second track from the project with “Bad Name”.

Following the J. Cole-featuring “Family And Loyalty”, the new cut would be instantly recognisable to the millions of fans across the world who still hold Gang Starr up as one of the most endearing and definitive hip hop duos of the 90’s. It’s got that classic Gang Starr sound, the aforementioned blend of Preemo’s lithe scratches and head-nodding product, with Guru’s buttery, meticulous raps lamenting the watering down of an entire culture – something obviously written a decade ago, yet still completely relevant.

“Word to God, if Big and Pac were still here/ Some of these weirdos wouldn’t act so cavalier/ We all know that the game has changed/ It’s crazy out here, rap’s got a bad name”.

Guru’s typically penetrative and to-the-point rhymes were true then about hip hop decades ago, and they’re even more applicable now as the culture watches caricature after caricature shoot to the top of the charts with generic productions akin to sugary fast-food.

One of the Best Yet will be released on 1st November and will feature spots from J Cole, Q-Tip, Group Home, Royce Da 5’9, Jeru the Damaja, Talib Kweli, and others. The full tracklist is as follows, and you can pre-order it over HERE.

01 “The Sure Shot (Intro)”
02 “Lights Out” (Feat. M.O.P.)
03 “Bad Name”
04 “Hit Man” (Feat. Q-Tip)
05 “What’s Real” (Feat. Group Home & Royce D 5’9″)
06 “Keith Casim Elam (Interlude)”
07 “From A Distance” (Feat. Juru The Damaja)
08 “Family And Loyalty” (Feat. J. Cole)
09 “Get Together” (Feat. Ne-Yo & Nitty Scott)
10 “NYGz/GS 183rd (Interlude)”
11 “So Many Rappers”
12 “Business Or Art” (Feat. Talib Kweli)
13 “Bring It Back Here”
14 “One Of The Best Yet (Big Shug Interlude)”
15 “Take Flight (Militia Pt. 4)” (Feat. Big Shug & Freddie Foxx)”
16 “Bless The Mic”

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy-Editor-At-Large of the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.