33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2004
OK, I'm sparing with my 5 star reviews, and I don't like to gush, but Guru and Preme have earned it. I don't actually think it's possible to make a flawless album, because no matter how good you do there always has to be something you could have done better...but this is as close to flawless as it gets. Premier might not be everywhere the way the Neptunes are, but over the past decade he's proven himself to be the top producer. Guru has a wise-sounding, street-smart monotone and the lyrics to match it. And they've been a rap duo for over a decade, which means they've blended their styles perfectly.
Guru was right to name himself the "King of Monotone." Although I don't agree with him that it's "mostly tha voice," he definitely works wonders with his on this album. Guru's voice on this album is thicker and deeper than his past work, making him sound ever wiser, and it has you listening to every word. And he doesn't disappoint. The subject matter on this album is very street. A lot of it, of course, is directed at all the "sucka MCs." The rhymes in these are nice, and once again, the voice carries him on, giving him a sound like he's more mature and superior to his other rap colleagues. Other songs deal with real issues. He rhymes about the degradation of hip-hop, enlightening the urban youth, his connection with his music, women, the way the system attacks street-dwellers, coming up as an MC in New York, struggling through hard times, betrayal, death...and the whole time, it has this "been there, done that" feel so you know he knows exactly what he's talking about and he means every word. Skill-wise, Guru is consistent and never has wack lines, but it's the words themselves and the sage-like delivery that are the winners here.
DJ Premier isn't about making top 40 single beats. His beats are simple on the outside but really very detailed, with everything carefully sampled and hooks expertly scratched. What he does it play a loop that sets the exact right tone for the lyrics. Battle-type songs have harder, more up-tempo beats to them. "Friends vs. BI" and "Militia" are all-out bangers. Songs with reflective rhymes have reflective beats. Sad songs have sad beats. Once again, it sounds simple, but really there's a very distinct, carefully designed tone for each track. "Betrayal" doesn't just sound sad, but also hopeless...like there's nothing left to do but grieve. "Moment of Truth" sounds like someone coming out of a struggle. My personal favorite track is "Robbin Hood Theory," but I'm not sure how to describe it. Hopeful, maybe. But no matter what your favorite is, they're all excellent.
There's really nothing not to like about this CD. The rhymes are all well-written and well-delivered. The beats are all well-designed to set the right mood. It's 20 tracks long, and they all have a purpose. No filler. The collaborations, from Inspectah Deck to Scarface, all have the right effect. You need this album.
Closing comments: Mad props to Guru and Premier for staying on top of their game for 15 years now. Check out The Ownerz...not as good as this, but still tight.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2001
Gangstarr will forever bring classics to the hip-hop's underground table, but MOMENT OF TRUTH is their best work yet. Primo presents superior production to match Guru's astonishing lyrics. Hip-hops most respected duo has done it again, and this time they mean business. The title of the album MOMENT OF TRUTH says it all. Guru is tired of worthless emcees such as DMX and Jay Z making a killing off of overrated garbage. Its really sad true talent is only noticed by the real hip-hop heads in this commercial driven industry. If only more people would open their minds and see that real hip-hop is not who has the most money, or who is pushin the nicest car. Hip-hop is about a microphone and the words that are spit into it. Gangstarr is simply remarkable. With tracks such as "Royalty" and "You Know My Steez" there is no way any real hip-hop fan would be dissapointed in this classic. Artist such as MOP and Scarface deliver wicked lyrics to a couple of tracks. My favorite track "Above the Clouds" featuring Inspeck from the wu (even though im not a wu fan anymore)is a MASTERPIECE and will forever get mad play from me when I feel like hearing something real. All the tracks are superb and will gain the respect of any real hip-hop hippy. SIMPLY REMARKABLE NO OTHER ALBUM COMES CLOSE....
josh warren ~ hip-hop analyst
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Catch the best duo hip hop history has to offer at their personal best and you've got the "Moment of Truth". Primo has never before strung together an album of beats so tight. Almost every single track is a classic, with memorable melody and memorable lyrics. I honestly haven't heard the album in over a year now and I can still recall the intricacies and lyrics of each track. This is one of those albums that you throw in and just let it ride. No need to skip tracks. What's the last album you could actually say that about? I killed this album to death when it came out and I always find myself revisiting it when hip hop lets me down. This is one of the best albums in hip hop, period.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2000
The title describes it, as long as groups like Gang Starr represent, the underground will never die. And that's exactly what i wanna hear, underground rap and not this fake azz commercial radio hip hop stuff ! This Album is real, DJing and MCing in it's purest form, Primo's beats are burning my ears and the lyrics of Guru are very deep and they hittin' me everytime. This album got 20 cuts of pure magic - but what would you expect from the dopest producer of all time? I gave this album five stars because i couldn't find a sixth one.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2005
"Moment of Truth" is probably one of the best rap albums start to finish i've ever heard. Even some seminal classics have one or two tracks that don't work. Here, Gang Starr has crafted an album so tight, that every song is incredible and possibly flawless.
There are 3 aspects that make this album so great:
1. The production on here is amazing; DJ Premier used some of his most creative beats on this album. Front to back the production here challenges works on par with Dre and Pete Rock. "Steez" shows genius in simplicity, "Milita" is a hardcore classic, "Above the Clouds" uses some insane samples, "Rep Grows Bigga" scratches like no other, "What I'm Here 4" uses sick pianos & "Royaltiy" might be the greatest underground single ever. Those are just off the top of my head, every beat is truly note worthy. But for me "Next Time" pushes this classic to the next level. I can't speak of how infectious the horns are on this one. A friend of mine who HATES rap absolutely loves this song because of the production. Fact is the album could be a masterpiece alone from the music vibes.
2. The guests on this album drop some insane quotables. Scarface, G Dep, Hannible, & M.O.P. literally bring some of their best work. Even KC & Jojo drop a hook that's completely underground. Krumb Snatcha's verse was a Source Hip-Hop quotable ("it's like, microphone roulette/ cause nowadays MC's is gettin wet/ over someone else's fake gangsta rep"), Inspectah Deck has one of the best Wu spots ever ("I leave scientists mentally scarred, triple extra large/ Wild like rock stars who smash guitars/ Poison bars from the Gods bust holes in your mirage/ and catch a charge shake em down like the riot squad"). If that wasn't enough Freddie Foxxx hands down drops one of the illest single verses I've ever heard ("My war is so tight, my drama so ill/ Beef with me hangs around like a unpaid bill/ I push these lyrics through any MC, and make it burn/ So the n****z who be rhyming next, will miss a turn"). The guests inject a high level of quality and different styles that work perfectly for "Moment of Truth".
3. Finally the album works so well because of Guru. He's the glue between the other two elements. His lyrics are the perfect marriage to Primo's beats, never being outdone by them nor ever taking second fiddle... they just endlessly flow as a part of the music. In addition Guru brings some great positive lyrics ("My Advice 2 You"), introspective rhymes ("Moment of Truth"), & honest confessions ("JFK 2 LAX"). The amount of knowledge Guru drops for the listener is powerful, humbling, and yet at times he's classfully boastful ("Work"). Without Guru this album would still feel empty.
Argument for possible flaws:
Some people just don't feel Guru's monotone style, and I can see this argument. If that's true you probably won't enjoy this album as much, but it still should be respected (just because you don't perfer a style doesn't make it bad). The only other fault I could possibly see are the interludes, at times they definitely break up the flow & paceing of the album(especially since they are not set as their own tracks and usual show up at the beginning of the song). But even that being said, I never get tired of Primo's classic "To whom it may concern..." or "Your boy Guru got knocked" or even the album intro. Those are literally the only faults I could see ANYBODY having with it. So it might not live up to certain peoples expectations of perfect, but it's daang close.
"Moment of Truth" has only gotten better since it first blessed my ears in `98. This album is truly a forgotten classic.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2004
Despite the fact that it wasn't made in hip-hop's Golden (1988) or Renaissance (1994) eras, Gang Starr's Moment Of Truth may be the best hip-hop album of all time. Nowhere will you find a mainstream hip-hop album that covers SO MUCH ground over SO MANY dope beats with such intricate lyricism. With this LP, DJ Premier solidified himself as the Greatest Hip-Hop Producer of All Time, and Guru completely SHUT DOWN any arguments that he is a mediocre emcee (rather he boasts lyricism on MOT that is reminiscient of Rakim and Big Daddy Kane). From uplifting anthems such as "Robbin Hood Theory" and "Royalty" to battle rap classics such as "You Know My Steez" and "Militia" to introspective masterpieces such as "Moment of Truth" and "Betrayal," Moment of Truth beams with emotion, diversity, substance, and rich, boombastic production that encapsulates all that is hip-hop. An essential recording.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 1999
There's 2 thing y'all should know before you read this: 1. This is my first Gang Starr album and 2. I'm white Anyway, as a fan of rap, I've always been angered by the limited vocabulary of rappers (aiight! Yo! Word!)and their boasting of being intelligent without actually showing. So after acquiring the taste for intelligent hip-hop, like The Roots, Wu-Tang Clan, and A Tribe Called Quest, I decided to try out Guru and Primo. Moment of Truth is not rap, it's pure HIP-HOP. Hip-hop is what makes rap music. It is the fundamental basis of making a good record and DJ Primier serves up the beats like they were going out of style. Of course, Guru is probably one of the most intelligent rappers out there (with Black Thought, Mos Def, KRS-One, and Chuck D). The best tracks are, "You Know my Steez", "Above The Clouds", "The Rep Grows Bigga" and "The milita" But actually, it's all good! BUY MOMENT OF TRUTH NOW!!!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2006
Gang Starr were one of the most critically-acclaimed, and recognized hip-hop groups in the golden-age of hip-hop, alongside acts like EPMD, Run-DMC, and Ultramagnetic MC's. The emcee/producer duo brought some of the most innovative music to come out of hip-hop's early stages, and attracted much praise from critics and fans alike. Although they didn't sell like a Public Enemy or an NWA, hip-hop heads and musical afficiandos alike knew that Gang Starr was the ****. However, they left the golden-age behind them after Hard To Earn, and went on a four year hiatus.
Within that time, Guru went virtually unnoticed, while DJ Premier built up his reputation with work on albums by the likes of Nas, Jeru The Damaja, Notorious B.I.G., and Jay-Z. He was acknowledged as one of the finest producers in the game, and everyone, underground and mainstream, wanted some Primo beats on their album. For good reason; I honestly can't acknowledge a single beat Primo's laced that has been, by any means, wack. He's not just consistent behind the boards, he's magnificent, and for the people that don't recognize Primo as one of hip-hop's finest beatsmiths, they quite honestly don't know a lot about hip-hop.
However, with Primo becoming such a high-profile producer, one had to question if he'd left Guru, and his Gang Starr roots behind him; well, Gang Starr returned in 1998, releasing arguably their finest album to date, Moment of Truth. Their sound had effortlessly evolved from golden-age pioneers, to modern-day hip-hop messiahs; at this point in time, they were both identified as two of the most influential figures in hip-hop's illustrious history. This album, Moment of Truth, only solidified their status further, and even pushed it a few notches above where they already were.
Guru's lyrics are still razor-sharp, and even if you dislike the King of Monotone's visceral flow, his words are sure to penetrate your mind, and keep you listening. Guru's mellow delivery is the perfect compliment to Primo's elegant beats, and together, the duo creates an album that, while shifting between dozens of moods, and concepts, is as cohesive as anything that's come before, or after it. There's twenty tracks on this album, and I can say without hesitation that each track is gold; something I don't believe I've ever been able to say about an album with such an exceedingly long track-list. There isn't a single misstep taken by either Guru or Primo, and no track overshadows the next, or falls below the standard set by the previous track; this is not just consistently dope, but as flawless as a hip-hop album can essentially be.
Guest appearances are brilliant, coming from the likes of the Wu-Tang's verbal assailant, Inspectah Deck, the rowdy MOP, the angriest emcee since Ice Cube, Freddy Foxx, or the Houston don, Scarface; each guest delivers a verse alongside Guru, and the chemistry, amazingly, is there on each track. Introspective cuts, such as "Moment Of Truth" and "Betrayal" make up a good majority of the album, while the rest is dedicated to lesser emcees who wanna step to Guru; however, Guru is able to switch up the topics so seamlessly that they never grow tedious.
This album may've come out in the Shiny Suit era, but Gang Starr, as expected, didn't confirm to these ridiculous mainstream standards; they just kept doing their thing, and that's why Gang Starr has remained one of the most influential groups in hip-hop's history, and seminal albums like this continue to drop from them. Pick it up, because it doesn't get any iller.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2006
1998 was a very hard time for hip hop. Corporate endeavors and shiny suits started taking over. The golden era passed and a new wave of new jacks flooded the scene with materialistic tales that have carried well over to the 21st century. Criminally, hip hop became the only industry to put an age limit on rappers. However, if sales reflected talent, than Gangstarr's 1998 masterpiece would have gone quadruple platinum.
Guru and Primo have never disappointed me, however, I don't know what they were smoking when they made 'Moment of Truth'. This was the album pure hip hop lovers fell in love with when the mass industry started to put numbers first, passion second. The album starts off with a bang on the single, "You Know My Steez,". Guru drops bombs over Primo's sinisterly relaxed beat. You could tell that Guru stepped his game up lyrically, especially over the sick piano keys on, "Work". The gifted ones talent is on full display with lines like, "Now I'ma start collectin props connectin plots/ networkin' like a conference 'cause the nonsense is yet to stop/ Jakes wanna shake me down, haters wanna take me down/ Break me down, CLAP all they heard was the sound/ Yo I scoped it out, I took your weak dream and choked it out/ Your girl ain't really got no a**, she just poked it out". Arguably, the best verse comes from a guest. Inspectah Deck committs verbal murder on the Asian sounding, "Above the Clouds". "JFK 2 Lax" is a personal favorite as Guru tells a heartfelt story of his run-ins with the law and proclaims he know he's a role model, where most rap artists would tell their fanbase not to follow them down the same path or something much more generic.
At 20 songs, the hits just keep on coming. To this day, I will forever be baffled why the title track never made the greatest hits cd. Guru's intropective lyrics on that are timeless and the beat is among Primo's best (nothing's seeing "Come Clean"). "What I'm Here 4" was my favorite, due to the classic piano loop which again complements the gifted one seamlessly. Krumbsnatcha nearly massacres "Make 'Em Pay" to the same effect that Inspectah Deck did with his verse. Another standout is "Next Time" with a catchy as hell horn loop where Guru knocks one dimensional emcees out the box.
'Moment of Truth' still sounds fresh to this day. It is one of the greatest, post golden era, hip hop records ever made. To end this review, peep the words of the Guru, "The objective, is to surely demolish/ The chances of the wack takin all the dollars/ Support the brothers who are truly gifted/ This way, the odds, could never be shifted"!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
"Moment of Truth" is an excellent hip hop album all around. It's maybe my favorite by Gang Starr (meaning a lot considering their other classics) and it's just an album that I love listening to. While it's not as conceptually amazing or groundbreaking as their earlier works, every track is great, perfectly produced and laced with tight rhymes. "Moment of Truth" marked Guru's departure from an intelligent street-level lyricist to more of an educator, spitting knowledge and wisdom in every verse. His flow remains slow and harmonically monotone, but his rhyming is much elevated compared to his previous works. Also, DJ Premier, who had by 1998 been established as one of hip hop's best producers, made some of his best tracks yet, blending voice samples, great instrumentation, unpredictable drum patterns, and good hooks to push the bar past his jazz rap from the early 90s. On this album, the duo is obviously disappointed with the state of hip hop and vows to set the record straight, which they do flawlessly. With a team of talented guests and great chemistry, Gang Starr make "Moment of Truth" a must-have for your collection.
The album starts with "You Know My Steez", which begins with Premo discussing their formula and leads into a wonderful beat, with a light guitar and drum, while Guru rhymes about his style. On "Robbin Hood Theory", Guru reps poverty over a classic beat. "Work" is legendary, a great piano-and-strings production with a classic theme and rhymes. "Royalty" discusses the power of life and respect, with singing from K-Ci and JoJo. Wu-Tang's Inspektah Deck assists on the nice "Above the Clouds", and "JFK 2 LAX" is a classic where Guru defends an arrest over a beautiful, intricate jazz beat layered deep with horns and piano. Hannibal and Guru challenge rap's problems on "Itz a Setup", followed by the album's best track, "Moment of Truth". On this song, Guru discusses life, death, philosophy, power, and relationships with some of hip hop's most powerful raps yet. The beat is slow and winding, with strings and keyboards. MOP helps out on the self explanatory "BI Vs. Friendship", and protege Big Shug and legend Freddie Foxxx drop in for "The Militia". "The Rep Grows Bigga" discusses reputations and their nature over a piano, and "What I'm Here 4" is an introspective track with one of my favorite keyboard lines by Premo. "She Knows What She Wants" shouts out a gold-digger over a beautiful funky and vibesy beat. "New York Strait Talk" serves simply as an engine for the two to shout out their hometown, and "My Advice 2 You" drops knowledge for all who need it. A classic epic beat is found on "Make 'Em Pay", a warning track. "Betrayal" discusses traitors with a great guest appearance from southern vet Scarface. "Next Time" has one of the best, funky and jazzy beats found on the album, and "In Memory Of..." remembers every deceased they can think of.
"Moment of Truth" is really a great album, and I love listening to it every time. DJ Premier's beats sound epic on this album, and Guru's lyricism was probably the best of his career. I recommend this to all rap fans, because I really can't imagine anyone disliking it.