It always seems a bit convenient to write about someone on the anniversary of their death. Nevertheless, I’ve been meaning to write about Gang Starr’s Daily Operation for some time now. And since it’s been a year since Guru’s death I might as well give it my undivided attention out of respect and as a fan of the album.
Gang Starr’s discog is a bit up and down for my tastes yet Daily Operation sticks out the most in my eyes. It’s their most cohesive record and its pace exceptionally accentuates Guru’s monotone flow. Perhaps my ears are out of wack but it felt like Premo’s beats “fought” with Guru’s lines on their other albums as I’d often drown out one for the other. I don’t get much of that feeling on Daily Operation which makes for a better listening experience.
Part of my fandom has to do with the Jazz and Soul samples laced throughout the LP. Jazz and its various sub-genres have seen better days but I’m not mad at Premo incorporating respected artists such as Ahmad Jamal and The Crusaders as well as soul and funk mainstays like Aretha Franklin and James Brown. Additionally, the album led me to look into the sample artists on my own and broaden my music taste. Let’s not forget Premo continued the trend of popularizing Jazz samples on this album as well.
Additionally I feel like Guru’s most consistent, compelling rhymes lie on this record. Guru’s delivery throughout his career, to me at least, often sounds sleepy. However his lines throughout this work manage to keep my full attention. The mix of social commentary along with his wordplay weave in a way so it appears as if he’s actually talking to the listener rather than trying to rap his/her ear off.
You’d almost mistake it for easy listening if you don’t pay attention to what he’s saying: especially on”No Shame In My Game” and “Conspiracy.” Guru pulls no punches in elucidating his unpopular stance on these tracks as well as throughout the record. Nonetheless, they at least encourage discourse about reaching out to your community and the effects media may have on consumers. That’s more than I can say about many records from Daily Op’s era up until now.
Do yourself a favor and run back Daily Operation or hear it for the first time. It may sound “dated” by today’s standards but, for what it’s worth, I caught wind of it far after it released. At any rate, it’s worth listening to if you want to hear some good rap from a bygone era or are looking to upgrade your rap nerd status: whatever comes first.