Soul Strut 100: # 82 - Gang Starr - Hard To Earn

RAJRAJ tenacious local 7,546 Posts
edited April 2012 in The Soul Strut 100
I will slowly be unveiling the Top 100 Soul Strut Related Records as Voted by the Strutters Themselves.

# 82 - Gang Starr - Hard To Earn



Please discuss your reactions to this record. The thread will be archived later here.

About

Hard to Earn is the fourth album from the hip hop duo Gang Starr. It was released in March 1994 and featured the singles "Mass Appeal", "DWYCK" and "Code of the Streets." Musically the album is constructed around a harder, more stripped-down sound that is distinctively less melodic than the duo's previous work.

Guest appearances on the album come from Group Home, Jeru The Damaja, and Big Shug. At the time, all were part of the Gang Starr Foundation, which made the album a stepping-stone for future DJ Premier-helmed projects by Group Home and Jeru. The single "DWYCK" also featured hip hop duo Nice & Smooth.

Hard to Earn is also the duo's first album to carry the "Parental Advisory" label.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_to_Earn

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  Comments


  • I was just talking about this record earlier this morning after a friend posted "Brainstorm" (which GURU absolutely destroys!) This record is a classic; no argument whatsoever. Most days I prefer 'Daily Operation', but 'Hard to Earn' is a very, very close second for my favorite Gang Starr record.

  • RAJRAJ tenacious local 7,546 Posts
    There's a lot of signifigance to this record with the Strut - Crates List.

    See Vic Juris.

  • Yeah; Premier definitely has the ear. How he spotted the potential of a 3 second fragment from "Horizon Drive" is completely bananas.

  • strataspherestratasphere Blastin' the Nasty 1,033 Posts
    This record is a classic; no argument whatsoever. Most days I prefer 'Daily Operation', but 'Hard to Earn' is a very, very close second for my favorite Gang Starr record.

    ^^This

  • DustedDonDustedDon 830 Posts
    My personal fave G-Starr album... anyone got a copy of this they wanna part with?

  • GrandfatherGrandfather 2,302 Posts
    I stole this tape from a girl in middle school I used to like.
    This tape, wutang, and doggystyle were the only tapes i had for like a whole year.
    Love this album.

  • RishanRishan 443 Posts
    Mr. Attention said:
    Yeah; Premier definitely has the ear. How he spotted the potential of a 3 second fragment from "Horizon Drive" is completely bananas.





    ^^^this statement can be made, replacing the sample x infinity to the end of time. premier is god.

  • Rishan said:
    Mr. Attention said:
    Yeah; Premier definitely has the ear. How he spotted the potential of a 3 second fragment from "Horizon Drive" is completely bananas.





    ^^^this statement can be made, replacing the sample x infinity to the end of time. premier is god.

    Agreed!

  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,234 Posts
    So crucial when it dropped. Leading up to it, Gang Starr's soundtrack cut Gotta Get Over was top3 on RapCity's countdown for like 2 months straight. Then Mass Appeal came out and killed the whole game. Next thing I knew, the Thursday night club spot I would frequent would routinely play over half the album in the course of one night. I've always called Step in the Arena my favorite Gang Starr album, but it's hard to deny just how large Hard to Earn was both for me and so many folks around me. And this was when, even though Gang Starr was all over BET, they were still underground to the point that it was like a special club you were in just for knowing about them. And it wasn't an elitist thing either, just took a certain type of person to be hip to the realness.

  • asstroasstro 1,752 Posts
    Living in Bushwick the spring that this LP dropped, man... it was the soundtrack to the everything we did. Mass Appeal is the perfect distillation of everything great about Gangstarr. And yet this is only my 3rd favorite of their LP's!

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    1. Intro (The First Step) I forget
    2. ALONGWAYTOGO alright
    3. Code Of The Streets - argueably the "best" Gangstarr song evar
    4. Brainstorm - I forget
    5. Tonz 'O' Gunz - above average
    6. The Planet - I forget
    7. Aiiight Chill... I forget
    8. Speak Ya Clout - is this the posse cut? I think Jeru kills it & somebody kills PSK beat?
    9. DWYCK - no words
    10. Words From The Nutcracker - pre-cursor to genius
    11. Mass Appeal - No words
    12. Blowin' Up The Spot - huh
    13. Suckas Need Bodyguards - huh
    14. Now You're Mine - i likey
    15. Mostly Tha Voice - you right about that shit, cause it aint the cadence
    16. F.A.L.A. - average
    17. Comin' For Datazz - huh

  • The_NonThe_Non 5,690 Posts
    Batmon, you should relisten to the album and adjust your list accordingly.


    Hard to Earn is the shit, thumbs up and little kicks galore:

  • phongonephongone 1,652 Posts
    Rest In Peace, Keith Elam. Great album.

    Now Your Mine is very underrated.

  • DJ_EnkiDJ_Enki 6,471 Posts
    batmon said:

    8. Speak Ya Clout - is this the posse cut? I think Jeru kills it & somebody kills PSK beat?

    That's "I'm the Man" off Daily Operation. Great cut.

  • DJ_EnkiDJ_Enki 6,471 Posts
    HarveyCanal said:
    Gang Starr's soundtrack cut Gotta Get Over

    This just came up on my iPod yesterday. What a great record. Primo caught that AWB loop perfectly.

    Like some of the folks upthread, I prefer Daily Operation, but Hard to Earn is an amazing album. Premier had fully developed his sound by this point as was absolutely on fire, and this album had some of Guru's best work on it as well.

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    The_Non said:
    Batmon, you should relisten to the album and adjust your list accordingly.

    There is way too much filler for me compared to the last two albums. The first joint is whatever.

    By this album they were losing a little UMPH for me.

    Hard To Earn doesnt get credit for DWYCK.

    DWYCK was outta the '92 DAILY OPERATION-era Take It Personal 12" B-Side. And mad played by Hard to Earn two whole years later.

    Kinda like Rebel without a Pause was a B-side from the first PE album and then attached to the next album a minute later.

    Plus Big Shug virus.

  • tripledoubletripledouble 7,636 Posts
    batmon said:
    1. Intro (The First Step) meh, kinda obnoxious "youre violatin" stuff
    2. ALONGWAYTOGO alright
    3. Code Of The Streets - argueably the "best" Gangstarr song evar
    4. Brainstorm - fastforward
    5. Tonz 'O' Gunz - above average
    6. The Planet - amazing. epic story, epic samples
    7. Aiiight Chill... lovely. amazing interlude with drops that somehow transcend average. nas starting it off, at that time, just made it kindof mystical
    8. Speak Ya Clout - excellent follow up to im the man. lil dap is dope and his beat is sick.
    9. DWYCK - no words
    10. Words From The Nutcracker - i looooove it. premier makes him sound great and sets shit up for superstar
    11. Mass Appeal - No words
    12. Blowin' Up The Spot - solid track
    13. Suckas Need Bodyguards - fastforward
    14. Now You're Mine - i likey. dope
    15. Mostly Tha Voice - you right about that shit, cause it aint the cadence. good not great
    16. F.A.L.A. - average
    17. Comin' For Datazz - this shit is nice

  • tripledoubletripledouble 7,636 Posts
    moment of truth may have been their best
    step in the arena too
    daily operation maybe one baby step behind those two
    and hard to earn a baby step behind daily op

    at time of release i probably listened to daily op the most, but it didnt age as well for me as moment of truth and step

  • MurdockMurdock 542 Posts
    I own this album on Vinyl, CD & Cassette. The other day I was in a rental car, I almost bought another copy just to roll around with. It's undeniable. It was in between the rough & the polished side of Premo's production. That said, I do not like 2 tracks off this album. And I thought DWYCK should have been left off. Just because it came out in 92'. After all is said and done, "Daily Operation" is still my favorite. Which I'm sure will be in the top 20.

  • Controller_7Controller_7 4,052 Posts
    I love it. Ordered the cd from BMG music club as a youngster.

  • sticky_dojahsticky_dojah New York City...humanheadnyc.com 2,110 Posts
    HUGE!

  • Not my favourite of the LP's but still of the Gang Starr high standard that few have reached over the course of that many LP's.

  • I like it but definitely more of a "skip around on CD" than vinyl fave.

  • yuichiyuichi Urban sprawl 11,318 Posts
    I can't get with Daily Operation, I can get with this however.

  • DJBombjackDJBombjack Miami 1,665 Posts
    The most-perfect Gang Starr album. Premier was on fire. Fantastic.

  • disco_chedisco_che 1,115 Posts
    Like many said before. Many great moments, many absolute Gang Starr classics on this joint but as an album it's not my favorite. Moment Of Truth, Daily Op and Step In The Arena are more appreciated.

  • Definitely too low on the list. This and Daily Operation are interchangeable to me. I did fell it was slightly compromised by the inclusion of DWYCK which already had classic (borderline played out) status at the point this dropped. I always liked the idea that certain tracks were available only on the 12", especially as there was the horny instrumental version, but no vocal version of it for no apparent reason.

    I hold Hard to Earn and Daily Operation in the same respect as I do Nation of Millions and Fear of a Black Planet.

  • MurdockMurdock 542 Posts
    yuichi said:
    I can't get with Daily Operation, I can get with this however.
    P>
    Do you like anything pre-94?

  • HumanacatHumanacat 177 Posts
    Love Hard to Earn, this album was my high school soundtrack. I played the sh*t out of this CD (virtually destroyed) and memorized most of the lyrics.

    Mostly tha voice is still a smoker...

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    Humanacat said:
    Mostly tha voice is still a smoker...



    huh
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