RTB Rewind: Gang Starr Drops 'No More Mr. Nice Guy'

RTB Rewind: Gang Starr Drops 'No More Mr. Nice Guy'

Published Tue, June 6, 2023 at 12:30 PM EDT

I Manifest/Positivity

In 1988, the pieces of Gang Starr's full length album were released to the public. As early as 1987, singles such as "The Lesson" and the 45 King-produced "Bust A Move Boy" and "Believe Dat" were released to the public on Wild Pitch Records. 1988's "Movin' On," "Gusto" and "Knowledge" (also produced by 45 King) would move us closer to what would become the early Gang Starr sound, but it was '89's "Positivity" and "Words I Manifest" that would give us a visual of DJ Premier and The Guru Keithy E via videos, and create the long lasting template for their sound.

"Positivity," with its slowed down loop of Brass Construction's "Changin" and Guru's monotone flow provided a glimpse into the future sound of one of Hip-Hop's greatest duos. "Positivity" also introduce Premier's style of cutting vocal snippets of records that matched the title and subject matter of Guru's rhymes. This technique became a Preemo mainstay, and is still used in the majority of his productions.

"Words I Manifest" further cemented Guru and Premier as ones to watch. Premier's precise cuts and scratches and Guru's jewels of wisdom made "Manifest" a staple on mix shows. The video gained popularity on the newly formed Yo! MTV Raps, Video Music Box and other outlets that aired Hip-Hop videos. These perfectly timed and promoted singles built anticipation for a full Gang Starr release.

No More Mr. Nice Guy

No More Mr. Nice Guy equally showcased the talents of both Premier and Guru. "DJ Premier In Deep Concentration," with its clever "Summer Madness" flip is one of the best "DJ Cuts" committed to record. Premier constructed a 3-minute masterpiece using snippets from several classic rap records, scratched in a way that only he could. "Jazz Music" was a precursor to "A Jazz Thing" which appeared on the soundtrack to Spike Lee's Mo Betta Blues and represented the start of many classic Jazz-oriented Premier productions.

"Conscious be Free," "Cause And Effect" and "Gotch U" showcased Guru's ability to flow to various tempos, while the title track brought together the best elements of the Gang Starr formula — beats, rhymes, cuts and scratches.

No More Mr. Nice Guy peaked at #83 on the Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Album chart and "Positivity" peaked at #19 on the Rap Singles chart.

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