Influential hip-hop duo Gang Starr have released a video to accompany their first new song in 16 years.
‘Family and Loyalty’ features J Cole, as well as vocals by late Gang Starr rapper Guru, who died from cancer in 2010.
DJ Premier said in a statement issued to NME: “I never lost faith, or wavered. I still felt Gang Starr inside of me, it just happened to be nine years later.”
Speaking of fans’ wait for new Gang Starr music, Premier said: “We all want the things we want right now, but I am a patient guy. I hung in there and I just kept believing.”
Continuing to further their legacy, Gang Starr have now unveiled the video for ‘Family and Loyalty’. Directed by hip-hop icon Fab 5 Freddy and shot on location in Harlem and Fayetteville, NC, the video not only features J. Cole but also Guru’s son, Keith Casim.
DJ Premier said of the video: “We shot the first half of this video on Cole’s turf and we had a very limited window in North Carolina. Fab 5 Freddy called me and he was really worried he would not be able to fly in from New York due to Hurricane Dorian. I told Freddy that Guru was piloting the flight and he would get him here safely and on time; and he did.”
Also speaking on it being the first Gang Starr video ever filmed without Guru being present in physical form, Premier said: “Everything is very emotional and raw, because he’s not here, but his spirit is here. We have so much unused footage together and with Guru’s lyrics I visualised him in the video as a picture book, a photo album that would capture our journey.”
Watch the video for ‘Family and Loyalty’ below:
The video captures a full-circle, coming of age moment, as Guru’s son, Keith Casim, plays an integral part in the video.
“Keith was nine when his father passed away and he is now 19. I used to babysit him. He made me feel like Guru was there with me” Premier said. “I told him he has the same look in his eyes as his father and everyone on set commented on how striking the resemblance is. It was real important to me to have Guru’s son be a major focus of the video. Keith is starting to really understand the legacy his father left behind and the whole team is sharing so many stories with him. We are honest with him, how much fun Guru and I had, the bad times, we are not sugarcoating anything; we want him to know his father.”
Gang Starr went on hiatus after their seventh album ‘The Ownerz’ in 2003. Premier and Guru seemingly hadn’t reunited when the rapper died aged 48. But the DJ has been working on a documentary about Gang Starr with the co-operation of Guru’s sister, Patricia Elam.
Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West are among the rappers to cite the New York collective as influences. Each of the episodes of the first season of Netflix series Luke Cage is named after a Gang Starr song.
It isn’t yet known if further new Gang Starr music will follow the release of ‘Family And Loyalty’.