The Making of Gang Starr’s Hard to Earn with DJ Premier

Gangstarr’s Hard To Earn will always hold a special place in my heart. The LP dropped on March 8th, 1994 and it was DJ Premier and the late Keith “Guru” Elam at the top of their game. Released two years after the similarly lauded Daily Operation, this album was an example of a group giving fans exactly what they wanted before we even had a chance to want it. At the time, Guru was one of my favorite MCs and Hard To Earn just solidified his status as one of the best to ever do it.

In honor of the 20 year anniversary of the album, we spoke to DJ Premier about how it all came together. He explained the album’s sparse sound and walked us through the creation of what are now recognized as some of the more timeless cuts from their well respected and extensive catalog. From “Code of The Streets” to the “Aiiight Chill…” skit, “Mass Appeal” to ” Mostly Tha Voice”, it’s all here.

Click here to read The Making of Gang Starr’s Hard to Earn with DJ Premier

I have to give a special shout to UpNorthTrips for contributing some amazing archival images for the piece, as well as a custom mix highlighting some of the album’s samples by their in-house DJ The Vinylcologist. Listen below.

The mix goes beyond highlighting the beats and samples on Hard to Earn, as over half of the album’s instrumentals we’re deconstructed and re-workings by Vinyl himself.

Previously: The Making of Stress: The Extinction Agenda with Organized Konfusion


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6 Responses to “The Making of Gang Starr’s Hard to Earn with DJ Premier”

  1. kdog Says:

    best thing i ever read

  2. Truth Powell Says:

    Even at 13 I knew something was off about “Suckas Need Bodyguards” and “F.A.L.A.”, 2 blemishes on an otherwise perfect album. Thanks to Primo for finally solving the mystery.

  3. Stroydnaire Says:

    Great post! These UNT dudes are on point!

  4. G7 Says:

    Great stuff! My fave Gang Starr album and their best imo.

    Haven’t stopped by here in a couple years, but damn, where the party at? Looks like the original crew all retired.

  5. Shotgun Mecca Says:

    would be nice to see more Makings of Storys….Moment of Truth, Daily Operation, all of them.. I’m real curious to hear the story on The Mall from Moment of Truth, the most out of character track on a Gang Starr album.

  6. Reader not a bleeder Says:

    Gangstarr are my staples, here is my paper

    Micrrophonixxx – Dark Moon/Park Ave

    Out Now!!

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