[[caption-width-right:281:Left: DJ Premier. Right: Guru.]]

->''"We just like cockroaches. Never dying. Always living."''
-->--'''DJ Premier''', ''Moment of Truth'' album

Gang Starr was a Hip-Hop duo consisting of rapper Keith "Guru" Elam ("Guru" standing for [[FunWithAcronyms Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal]]) from Boston, Massachusetts and producer Christopher Martin (aka DJ Premier) from Houston, Texas.

Gang Starr actually got their start in 1985. At this time, DJ Premier (then known as Waxmaster C) was not part of the group; instead, Guru founded it with DJ 1, 2 B-Down. In 1987 and '88, they released three singles on vinyl, one of which was called "The Lesson", on a label called Wild Pitch Records. The group finally split in 1989, though, and the only one left that carried its name was Guru.

However, that same year he got in contact with DJ Premier, who sent him a beat tape. He liked it so much, he invited Premier to be part of Gang Starr. [[CaptainObvious He accepted.]]

Along with a new single, "Words I Manifest", the duo released their debut album ''No More Mr. Nice Guy.'' The next year, a former DJ, Duff Marlowe, signed them to Creator/ChrysalisRecords. The album (and subsequent albums) [[TropeCodifier popularized]] the usage of {{jazz}} samples in hip-hop throughout the early-mid [[TheNineties '90s]], effectively creating what is known as Jazz Rap.

Somewhere between ''Daily Operation'' and ''Hard to Earn'', they created the Gang Starr Foundation, which isn't a rap group per se, but a group of individual rappers the duo liked and wanted to sign. Its initial lineup was Jeru the Damaja, Big Shug, Lil Dap, and Melachi the Nutcracker[-[[note]]the latter two would later become a rap duo called Group Home[[/note]]-].

Also during this time. Guru began his ''Jazzmatazz'' series of albums, taking the "Jazz Rap" tag to its logical conclusion by working with jazz musicians and singers to create a true blend of jazz and hip-hop.

After a four-year gap, the duo finally released their fifth album, ''Moment Of Truth''. Around the time the album was being made, Guru was charged with gun possession. The album is somewhat centered around this. [-[[note]]"JFK 2 LAX" is about Guru's incarceration, before "Moment of Truth" starts, a few voicemails from Guru's friends wishing him the best of luck are played, and the second verse of that song describes his feelings while waiting to be tried.[[/note]]-]

Gang Starr disbanded in 2003 after their last album ''The Ownerz''. It's said that the two had a falling out, causing Guru to leave the duo. He continued to release solo albums after this.

In 2010, [[AuthorExistenceFailure Guru died of heart cancer,]] shaking the hip-hop community to its foundations. DJ Premier did a tribute mix on his radio show called ''Live at Headquarterz'' in his honor.

These days, Premier, aside from hosting the aforementioned radio show, continues to produce for underground rap artists from all over the world, occasionally goes on tours (globally, even. He's played shows in UsefulNotes/{{Paris}}, Athens, and Osaka), and heads an underground label called Year Round Records. He has also started a collaboration project with Royce Da 5'9" called [=PRhyme=]. Do not compare them to Gang Starr, as Royce will have you know he does ''not'' intend to replace Guru.

Not to be confused with the 1980s cartoon ''WesternAnimation/{{Bravestarr}}''.

! Discography:

* ''No More Mr. Nice Guy'' - (1989)
* ''Step in the Arena'' - (1991)
* ''Daily Operation'' - (1992)
* ''[[NewSoundAlbum Hard]] [[DarkerAndEdgier to Earn]]'' - (1994)
* ''[[NewSoundAlbum Moment of Truth]]'' - (1998)
* ''[[MilestoneCelebration Full]] [[GreatestHitsAlbum Clip]]: A Decade of Gang Starr'' - (1999)
* ''The [[XtremeKoolLetterz Ownerz]]'' - (2003)
* ''[[GreatestHitsAlbum Mass Appeal: the Best of Gang Starr]]'' - (2006)

! Tropes:

* AddedAlliterativeAppeal: "What I'm Here 4" has two examples:
-->''MC's muttering menial madness, they get mobbed''
** And:
-->''You got a fly one bring one, or else I come to fling some''
-->''Exquisite exotic exciting type shit''
* AlternativeHipHop
* AuthorAppeal: The many jazz samples used throughout their discography comes from Guru being a huge jazz fan. See also "Jazz Thing" and "Jazz Music".
* BaldOfAwesome: Guru.
--> ''That's why they call me Baldhead Slick''
* BerserkButton: DJ Premier does ''not'' like [=DJs=] who play whatever they're told to, nor does he like people revealing his samples.
* BoastfulRap: "I'm the Man," "You Know My Steez", and "Mass Appeal", just to name a few.
* CallBack: The opening of ''Step In the Arena'' references "Premier and the Guru" from ''No More Mr. Nice Guy''.
%%* ClusterFBomb: Premier's introduction on "Peace Of Mine".
-->''Ey yo, what the FUCK is this shit that y'all are listenin' to nowadays on the radio, man? You call that shit hip-hop? THAT'S SOME FAGGOT BITCH SHIT Y'ALL ARE LISTENIN TO! All you DJ's are lettin the program directors handcuff you, and sit there and tell you how to mix?! YOU FUCKIN ROBOTS! FUCK Y'ALL!''
* CreepyMonotone: Guru was known for his subdued delivery, but the only true example of this trope in particular is "Take It Personal".
* CurbStompBattle: Guru promised to deliver one to anyone who dared challenge him in a game of basketball in "Now You're Mine".
* DarkerAndEdgier: The sound of ''Hard to Earn'' in places. See NewSoundAlbum below.
* DreamTeam: Besides the duo themselves, we have:
** Guru, Lil' Dap, and Jeru the Damaja on "I'm the Man" and "Speak Ya Clout".
** Guru and Nice & Smooth on "DWYCK".
** Guru and [[Music/WuTangClan Inspektah Deck]] on "Above the Clouds".
** Guru, Big Shug, and Freddie Foxx (aka Bumpy Knuckles)) on "The Militia".
** Guru and Music/{{Scarface}} on "Betrayal".
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: ''No More Mr. Nice Guy'' featured more analog drums compared to the looped breaks of ''Arena'' and ''Daily Operation'', and Guru's delivery is more energetic, as opposed to the more laid-back style he would go on to use.
** Earlier still, "The Lesson" features a minimalist drum machine-driven beat typical of rap at the time and even louder delivery from Guru, reminiscent of acts like Music/LLCoolJ. DJ Premier is also nowhere to be seen.
* EtTuBrute: Discussed in "Betrayal". Also touched on briefly in the first verse of "Moment of Truth". "All 4 tha Cash" is also about this.
* FunWithAcronyms: Guru ('''G'''ifted '''U'''nlimited '''R'''hymes '''U'''niversal)
* GoldDigger: "She Knowz What She Wantz" warns listeners to avoid these.
* GossipEvolution: [[DiscussedTrope Discussed]] and criticized in "No Shame in My Game". Also criticized for a few lines near the end of "Take it Personal".
* GriefSong: "In Memory Of..."
* HiddenTrack: ''The Ownerz'' has the "snuck in the middle of the album" variant in the form of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZJJL90YBi8 "Hiney"]].
* HymnToMusic: "Jazz Thing" and "Jazz Music" are tributes to Jazz and legendary Jazz musicians.
* IAmSong: "Premier and the Guru", the opener of their very first album.
* IAmYourOpponent: From "So Wassup?!":
--> ''Now you're facin' me, I'm your ultimate challenger''
* InstrumentalHipHop: "DJ Premier In Deep Concentration", featuring only DJ Premier on the turntables.
* [[LettingTheAirOutOfTheBand Letting The Air Out Of The Sample:]] At the end of "Just to Get a Rep", the sample slows to a stop.
* LuckyCharmsTitle: "The ? Remainz". The "?" is pronounced as "Question".
* LyricalColdOpen: [[InvertedTrope Inverted]] on "What I'm Here 4"; the song ends with Guru saying the last line of the verse after the music has already dropped out.
* NeverMyFault: Criticized in "The Lesson".
-->''Stop blaming your problems on everyone else''
-->''And deal with the person inside of yourself''
* NewSoundAlbum: Premier said in an interview that he wanted ''Hard to Earn'' to sound less musical than the previous three albums so's to avoid Gang Starr being pigeonholed as a "Jazz Rap" duo. As a result, some of the beats sound more atonal and dissonant. ''Moment of Truth'' also counts since it was made after Premo developed his SignatureStyle.
* OdeToIntoxication: "Take Two and Pass" is about smoking blunts.
* PreAssKickingOneLiner: From "Now You're Mine".
--> ''So prepare to suffer, boy, cause'' '''''now you're mine.'''''
* ProductionThrowback: The third verse of "Moment of Truth" takes some of its lyrics from an unreleased song called "I'm Not Superman" and slightly alters them.
* PunnyName: Gangster --> Gang Starr.
* RealLifeWritesThePlot: According to Premier, "Just to Get a Rep" was inspired by a real-life carjacking that happened to Guru shortly before. The day after, the happened upon the carjacker and pursued him. Eventually, the jacker collided with another vehicle, killing him instantly.
* ScareChord: "Jazz Thing" has a couple in the intro.
* SequelSong: "Speak Ya Clout" is one to "I'm the Man", featuring the same lineup of artists, but this time [[NowDoItAgainBackwards in reverse order]].
* ShoutOut: From "You Know My Steez":
-->''[[Film/TheWizardOfOz Cause I'm like the Wizard and you look lost like Dorothy]]''
** "Brainstorm" has Guru singing part of the ''Community Audition'' theme song, albeit a slightly altered version.
* SpellingSong: "The Planet", which has this as the chorus:
-->''I'm gonna make it god dammit''
-->''Out in B-R-double-O-K-Lyn, The Planet''
** "Mostly tha Voice" from the same album is another example:
-->''My religion is rap''
-->''R-E-A-L-I-T-Y, G''
** From "So Wassup?!"
--> ''You say you're R-E-P-R-E-S-E-N-T-I-N-G?''
--> ''You're frontin', boy, come against me''
* StepUpToTheMicrophone: "Words from the Nutcracker" from ''Hard to Earn'', entirely rapped by Melachi the Nutcracker from Group Home.
* TallPoppySyndrome: These lines in "Moment of Truth" reference this:
-->''Always, selfish jealous punks will wanna pull ya''
-->''Down, just like some shellfish in a bucket''
* ThereShouldBeALaw: From "Take it Personal":
-->''I flip lines and rhymes that never sound like yours''
-->''There oughta be laws against you yapping your jaws''
* ThreeChordsAndTheTruth: "Same Team No Games" consists only of two musical notes, a drum beat, scratches, and pure lyricism from Guru and guest rappers NYG'z. "Brainstorm" is even ''more'' minimal, featuring only drums, some blips and sirens in the background, and Guru's vocals.
** "The Lesson" also qualifies. It mostly consists of a drum beat, some scratching, and a repeated horn hit. A bassline and horn section is introduced a few of times later in the song, but it doesn't last very long.
* TitleTrack: ''Hard to Earn'' is the only album not to have one. "Mass Appeal" retroactively became this on their second compilation album.
* WordPureeTitle: "DWYCK", which comes from an inside joke.
* WorldOfCardboardSpeech: The second verse of "Moment of Truth", about how even though Guru is fearful of his situation, he'll remain calm and not buckle under the pressure.
-->''The situation that I'm facin, is mad amazin''
-->''To think such problems can arise from minor confrontations''
-->''Now I'm contemplatin in my bedroom pacin''
-->''Dark clouds over my head, my heart's racin''
-->''Suicide? nah, I'm not a foolish guy''
-->''Don't even feel like drinking, or even gettin high''
-->''Cause all that's gonna do really, is accelerate''
-->''The anxieties that I wish I could alleviate''
-->''But wait, I've been through a whole lot of other shit, before''
-->''So I oughta be able, to withstand some more''
-->''But I'm sweating though, my eyes are turning red and yo''
-->''I'm ready to lose my mind but instead I use my mind''
-->''I put down the knife, and take the bullets out my nine''
-->''My only crime, was that I'm too damn kind''
-->''And now some scandalous motherfuckers wanna take what's mine''
-->''But they can't take the respect, that I've earned in my lifetime''
-->''And you know they'll never stop the furious force of my rhymes''
-->''So like they say, every dog has its day''
-->''And like they say, God works in a mysterious way''
-->''So I pray, remembering the days of my youth''
-->''As I prepare to meet my moment of truth''
* XtremeKoolLetterz and Letters2Numbers: As with many hip-hop acts, they tended to do this with their song titles. Examples include, "What I'm Here 4". "She Knowz What She Wantz", and "Deadly Habitz".