Intro (The First Step)
Label: 7 GRAND RECORDS
More succinct in focus and theme than previous Gang Starr albums, Hard to Earn may be the group's crowning achievement. Premier has all but abandoned the jazz overtones of previous albums and is focusing on finely chopped samples reconstructed as whirring, claustrophobic funk. Guru's meandering overtly political raps have fallen by the wayside. Instead, Guru focuses on his competition -- or lack thereof -- on "Mass Appeal" and ""Suckas Need Bodyguards." Hip-hop's Moses has descended the mountain, and now he's taking names and whupping ass. Rap would never be the same.