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About this Piece

Original recordings released:
1989, 1999

This arrangement: 2003

Length: 15 minutes

Orchestration: 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, 4 saxophones (with flute doubles), bassoon, 2 guitars, electric bass, piano, pedal harp, turntables, MPC, percussion, drum kit, MCs, 4 singers, and strings that can bounce (4 violin, 2 viola, 2 cello parts)

I first heard the New York-based group Gang Starr, comprising the rich baritone voice of Guru and the wizardry of producer/turntablist DJ Premier, on the soundtrack of Spike Lee's Mo' Better Blues. In 1990, when this film was released, hip hop was becoming more melodic, and Gang Starr are masters of this approach. This orchestration explores the harmonic structure of the original, creating a hypnotic mood characteristic of hip hop.

-- Double G

Further listening:

  • "No More Mr. Nice Guy"
  • "Hard To Earn"
  • "Moment Of Truth"
  • "Daily Operation"

  • "Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr" (Gang Starr)
  • "Mo' Better Blues" (Terence Blanchard Quartet featuring Branford Marsalis)