Make 'Em Pay
Label: Virgin Records
Following a four year layoff after Hard to Earn, there were questions as to whether Gang Starr could remain relevant in an ever-shifting rap landscape. All doubts were erased in the first minute of "You Know My Steez." Over Premier's trademark hard n' juicy drums, Guru relates, "I travel through the darkness, carrying my torch." The "darkness," of course, is the current state of African American affairs, which Guru further explores in "Robbin Hood Theory" and the excellent "Above the Clouds." Other standouts include the bumpy street vignette "Work" and the incarceration narrative "JFK 2 LAX."