Looking back 1998 was truly an amazing year for hip hop. Hip Hop went through its darkest ages with the Tupac and Biggie murders along with Puffy ushering out his jiggy era which almost killed the artistic value of hip hop. 1998 was shaping up to be a much better year for hip hop and it started With DMX making it ok to represent the streets again. When DMX came and shut down all of that pop shit and took it back to where it was all about the streets.
It was the perfect opportunity for street rappers to come back and reclaim their position. Gangstarr decided to come back after a 3 year hiatus and laid down possibly their best album to date. This was also their most personal because Guru had alot going on at the time and he used this as a platform to really expose his demons and maintain his sanity. JFK 2 LAX is another one of Guru’s deepest track where he explains what really happened when he caught that Gun Charge in LA Especially on the album titled Moment of Truth where he talks about his suicidal intentions. JFK 2 Lax is one of Gurus personal songs as he’s explains what really went down behind the Gun Charge in LA and telling his side of the story.
DJ Premier’s production was top-notch throughout Moment of Truth. This was the album that proved that Guru and Premier are possibly one of the best duos to ever step into the Rap Game. Guru is one of the few that can actually ride Premier’s production with perfection as he proves that on the album’s first single You Know My Steez, Work, and Make Em Pay where he’s attacking fake emcees and those who aren’t true to the culture. Guru also takes the time to drop some knowledge about Islam beliefs and Christianity on Robbin Hood theory which is also carried by a very catchy inauspicious loop done by Premo.
The only track that looked on paper to have got a mixed reaction from die-hard underground fans is royalty featuring KCi and JoJo. It ended up becoming one of the nicest songs from 1998. With Guru’s boastful lyricism, Preme’s magical touch and KC and JoJo’s soulful vocals. This was possibly the track that crossed Gangstarr over and made this their most successful album.
The album’s Guest appearances are also what gave Moment of Truth more of a powerful punch. Inspedah Deck kills it on Above the Clouds with possibly the best guest spot of his entire career showcasing why he’s one of the Wu’s most underrated lyricist. M.O.P. brings the ruckas to all you muthafuckas again on B.I. Vs Friendship as they along with Guru explain the meaning between maintaining your friends and handling your business, Scarface makes a surprise appearance on Betrayal which surprisingly works considering how many collaborations be sounding forced. The beat sounds very UnPremier for Premo’s caliber. Its more mellow but it sets the theme perfectly for the song as Face and Guru trade verbs about shady individuals that they have encountered. Certainly one of the best East/South collaborations I’ve ever heard.
The best track on the album is the East Coast posse cut The Mitlia featuring Big Shrug and Freddie the Foxxx, Shrug and Guru come off decent but its Foxxx that straight manhandles this track is like how an old school vet should. This re-introduced Foxxx into the game and made more heads check for him just off this verse alone. It’s a wonder why he didn’t get the Source quotable of the year for this verse though(Big Pun got it for Dream Shatter).
Although Gangstarr have never sold millions of records, They’ve always had a loyal fan base and thats what kept them in the game for so long. they’ve always stayed true while many have sold out, They stuck to the script and always given their base what they wanted and thats raw beats and dope rhymes. This was possibly the last Gangstarr LP that was made when Guru and Preme were really cool with each other and it showed that the chemistry was in-depth and magical.
Vic Rating:10 outta 10