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

    About a week ago I was asked to participate in a GURU tribute happening on April 16th. I was told that a Funk Band would be on hand to play three classic Gang Starr songs: ‘The Planet’, ‘Step In the Arena’ and ‘Who’s Gonna Take the Weight’. I quickly jumped at the opportunity to perform ‘…Weight’ which is one of my favorite songs on the powerful album ‘Step In The Arena’.

    Once I had secured the song I wanted to perform, I decided to take listen to the song to see which lines I needed to brush up on. As the song played I suddenly realized I didn’t know as many of the lyrics as I thought. As rap fans we think we know the words to our favorite songs. When we sing along we are usually for the most part, glorified “hypemen” (and women) filling in key phrases and the ends of each bar. We give ourselves far too much credit for really knowing these songs.

    I began to panic and started to think maybe I had bitten off more than I could chew. Thoughts of Lupe’s fiasco as he struggled through his section of the Tribe Called Quest tribute on VH-1’s HIP HOP HONORS a few years back suddenly began to haunt me. Although the April 16th event will not be televised, I cant help but think about the sharp backlash that came Lupe’s way for not making it his business to know those lyrics inside out.

    I remember when I performed a Black Moon classic at a Hip Hop Karaoke event I hosted in Toronto about two years ago. I completely gave up on trying to follow Buckshot’s lyrics in the 2nd verse of ‘How Many MC’s’. The worst part was, I had the lyric sheet in my hand! As I laughed and stumbled through that verse, the audience laughed with me, feeling my pain for what is a very tricky song to flow with.

    Reciting somebody else’s lyrics at a Karaoke event where the mood is fun and light-hearted is entirely different than what I have been asked to do. Guru was not only important to Hip Hop for his musical contribution as a member of Gang Starr, he also carved out a niche for himself in other musical genres with his fusion of Jazz and Hip Hop via JAZZMATAZZ.


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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

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