Gang Starr is an influential American hip-hop duo, composed of rapper Guru (Backronym for Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal, real name Keith Elam) and DJ Premier (real name Chris Martin). Premier originally from Houston and Guru from Boston, but they are now based in and represent Brooklyn, New York, epitomizing the New York City hip-hop sound. The entirety of Gang Starr’s catalog, especially Step In The Arena (1991) ,Daily Operation (1992), and the uber classic Hard To Earn (1994) are well-respected among critics and hip-hop heads alike. Though these titles helped establish the duo as one of New Yorks foremost hip hop acts during the early to mid 90’s it was their 1998 album Moment of Truth that would prove to be their most influential record to date. Despite their legendary status, this was also their only album to sell gold.
Their track “Jazz Thang”, featured on the soundtrack to Spike Lee’s film Mo’ Better Blues, helped establish the sound of jazz rap, although they themselves consider their sound solely straight hardcore hip hop.
The group was founded in 1987 with Guru, DJ 1,2 B Down, Mike Dee and various producers, such as Donald D, J.V. Johnson or DJ Mark The 45 King. In 1987 and 1988 they released three 12” vinyl singles on the legendary Wild Pitch label, and in 1989 Guru and DJ Premier (then working under the name Waxmaster C) met for the first time. In the same year they released their first single “Words I Manifest” and went on working together as a group for six albums, a 2 CD “greatest hits” compilation and numerous singles and soundtrack contributions.