1. PRELUDE TO A TRIBUTE – 'Who’s Gonna Take The Weight?'

    For all he was as a musician and an MC he was also a friend. Not a friend in the sense of speaking daily on the phone, in fact I hadn’t spoken to him for several years before his untimely passing. But in the early 90s we hung out quite a bit at industry parties and the like. We would call each other up with the location of any good party we had heard about and meet up with our respective crews to go hang out.

    I sat in on several studio sessions with him as he worked on his first album with DJ Premier. When I shared with him in 1992 that my days of recording with Marley Marl were coming to an end, he introduced me to a guy named Yoram Vazan who owned Firehouse Studios on Pacific Street in downtown Brooklyn. He and Primo had been recording at a studio just around the corner and when that spot threatened to shut down, they discovered Firehouse. I wound up recording my entire 2nd album ‘Slaughtahouse’ there because of the recommendation from Guru.

    My first ever trip to Los Angeles was because Guru and Premier allowed me to tag along as a roadie of sorts. They had been booked on a show in the heart of LA with Low Profile, Compton’s Most Wanted and Ice Cube. It seemed the promoter thought the name “Gang” Starr meant something else, considering the rest of the lineup. We would eventually share the same management and outside of music, spent quite a bit of time together in those days.

    As I begin to think back to all the fun times we had together, the gravity of what I have agreed to tackle takes on a greater meaning. I feel a sense of responsibility and a great deal of pressure to honor his lyrics in the right way. I never really thought about how difficult it would be to learn another MC’s song until now. I have been working on the 1st verse for over a week and have it pretty close. But close isn’t good enough. I want the words to flow from my mouth as if I had written them myself. Between writing new songs for myself and various features I need to complete, I have a few more days to tighten up the first and completely memorize the second. Maybe I am taking this too seriously but in light of what Guru, DJ Premier and Gang Starr mean to Hip Hop, I don’t think so. Although I feel a great sense of pressure, I know the answer to his profound question is ME.

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    • http://thegreatimpression.wordpress.com Le Cleric

      it does get a little disheartening especially when you are a well known lyricist/rapper yourself. I feel your pain brother

    • GangStarr4Life

      Big Up Ace! only right to do it that way! RockInPeace GURU
      everblazin lyrics

    • http://none wayne

      talent doesnt come on tap like so many other things we forget in life!! rip guru the man!!

    • Pingback: Masta Ace tribute blog | Guru Tributes()

    • JuiceCrewNigga

      Great read. Thanks Ace

    • kecia

      And one of the good things are... you are man enough to know where you are, your weakness and of Course YOUR STRENGTHS. keep up the great work. Good luck :)

    • http://facebook.com/HHKNJ HIP HOP KARAOKE New Jersey

      Ace! On behalf of ALL Hip Hop Karaoke units around the world, SALUTE! You've captured the true essence of what HHK is all about! HONORING those that paved the way...I PROMISE we gonna be in touch soon! PEACE

    • http://www.cedifra.com Cedifra

      Yeh. I feel it, everyone who puts himself under extreme pressure to deliver will know this feeling to some extend. Visualizing the worst outcome gets one panic.

      I m glad this article gives me some insight I did not have before.

      Keep it up

    • EdDro

      That being said im sure you will practice until you can do the verse in your sleep!

    • http://CityGridiron.com CozziPix

      To me Gangstarr is as good as it gets in history of rap

    • http://tedpearce.blogspot.com TED

      I need to hear this performance, a live band and Ace's voice doing Guru, i'd come if i lived in new york, please get an audio recording?
      Another great tribute on the internets is from D'angelo's Voodoo sessions, where he does 'chaos' and 'ex girl to next'.
      Premier to do one of the other vocals?

    • http://www.lordgang.com Doitall

      Ace you are a true Emcee. Although I will agree with you that is a task you recite another Emcee's Lyrics. Go over it as many times as you can then let the spirit of Guru be present. Get at it my G!

    • Pingback: Masta Ace – Who’s Gonna Take The Weight? (Gang Starr Tribute) | Blackout Hip Hop()

    • cenzi

      so? how did it go?

    • Pingback: egotripland.com » Shiznit We Slept On Vol. 14: Gang Starr On the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, 1992()

    • http://www.youtube.com/distrakt distrakt

      One of the best shows of my life was being opening support for the bald head slick. Rest in power GURU