Gang Starr hadn’t reached its end! After 16 years, the hip hop legends released a new song, “Family and Loyalty,” featuring rapper J.Cole, Pitchfork reports. Gang Starr, formed by MC Guru and DJ/producer DJ Premier, are considered as one of the best MC-and-producer pairs in the hip-hop game. Guru, born Keith Alam, passed away in 2010 at the age of 43 after a long battle with cancer. Since then, Gang Starr has been in silence.
The arrival of “Family and Loyalty” reiterates the strong bond and connection of Gang Starr, which features lines like“Diamonds are forever like family and loyalty.” The release of the track is nothing but a bonafide homage. Not only does the song feature a posthumous verse from Guru, but also refers three classics from Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds Are Forever,” Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.” and Eric B. and Rakim’s “My Melody.”
“Family and Loyalty” is loaded with 90’s old school vibe, which brings a sense of nostalgic emotion. DJ Premier spoke out the birth of the song, “I never lost faith, or wavered. I still felt it inside of me, it just happened to be nine years later (after Guru’s passing).”
“This record means so much to me. It’s a continuation of what I never wanted to end,” DJ Premier expressed himself in a statement. “It’s a very foreign place for me and very emotional. I get happy, sad, excited; my feelings are kind of all over the place. But predominantly, just very happy to be making music with Guru again.”
The influence of the legendary hip hop duo never fades, spreading from music to pop culture. In 2016, each episode of the first season of Luke Cage—a Netflix series show based on Marvel Comics character—was named after a Gang Starr song.
North Carolina rapper J.Cole contributes a poetic verse on the song, rapping over the beat like an old acquaintance to DJ Premier. However, the co-founder of Dreamville Records tweeted that the feature in “Family and Loyalty” is his last feature. Listen to Gang Starr’s “Family and Loyalty” with J.Cole below.
This a honor to be on this song. NEW Gang Starr 🤯🤯🤯🤯 💎💎💎💎
— J. Cole (@JColeNC) September 20, 2019
UPDATE (10/3): Gang Starr has shared a video for their recent song “Family and Loyalty.” Like the song, the video features rapper J. Cole. The video manages to involve the late rapper Guru in the video, as it opens with a group of men going over a breakdown of his last will and testiment (with J. Cole tuning in via video conference), which leaves special instructions to play a cassette tape and distribute high-value diamonds. The tape of course plays “Family and Loyalty” and what comes next is a bit of a clip show with moments from Guru’s life and other scenes from New York City, as the men give out the diamonds to various denizens. Check out the full video below: