With 4 albums already in the bag, you'd think Gang Starr wouldn't have much more to offer. I certainly did. Not only that, but it had been 4 years since their last album. (Hard to Earn) Hip hop had changed. Could Gang Starr keep up?
The album of course defies all expectations. From the very first track: "You know my Steez" you realise that Guru and Premier have stepped it up a notch. Guru's rhymes and flow have been improved considerably. I'm a big fan of Guru normally, but he's just at the top of his game on this album in terms of both rapping and lyrics. The lyrics on the title track have got to be some of the best lyrics I've ever heard. And of course, what more can be said about Premier? His production on this album is nothing short of epic. With banging tunes like "Work" and "The Militia," to more mellow tunes like "JFK 2 LAX" and "Betrayal," to tunes like "Royalty" and "Moment of Truth" that can only be described as cinematic, the man is on the top of his game. And yet, this isn't typical Gang Starr. There are less of Premier's customary scatched vocal samples, and there are quite a few guest stars; some good, some not so good. But Guru himself said it in the opening track though: "The rhyme style is elevated, the style of beats is elevated... but it's still Guru and Premier." There are a few changes thrown in here and there, but it's still what fans are looking for. My only criticism may be the length of the album - at 78 minutes, it's quite a haul, and as expected there is some filler. I felt that towards the end of the album it starts to lose focus, but there are no bad tracks as such, and the guest stars (particularly Scarface) keep things interesting.
So yes, the album isn't perfect, but has one of the best MC-DJ combinations working seamlessly together to produce some quality tracks in an era where hip hop has lost its focus and originality. "Moment of Truth" is a wonderful album and a worthy addition to any collection.