The 50 Greatest Gang Starr Songs

#3. Gang Starr f/Nice & Smooth "DWYCK" (1994)

Album: Hard to Earn
Label: Chrysalis/EMI Records

An essential party record, "DWYCK" is probably Gang Starr's single most popular track—one of those songs everybody knows every word to. Some will therefore inevitably insist that it's also the group's best. Those folks are missing the point of what Gang Starr was about. As great a club record as "DWYCK" is and will forever be (shrewd DJs can also testify to the power of the OG 12" single's "Horny Instrumental Mix"), it's also an aberration, a happy accident. It's a ridiculously loose posse cut that was originally relegated to the B-side of "Take It Personal" and took off in such a surprising way that Chrysalis didn't even bother adding the song to later versions of Daily Operation to try to boost album sales. (It eventually wound up as an afterthought, two years too late, on Hard to Earn.) Which is why while "DWYCK" is the one Gang Starr record you are guaranteed to hear at a party, the energetic high point of the group's live show for years, you never heard Guru and Preem try to come with a "DWYCK Pt. 2" or even make another single like it. They understood who they were, and what kind of records best represented them. Most importantly, they understood that you can't replicate spontaneity—the crucial element that makes the record's sound of friends having fun in the studio the lightning-in-a-bottle moment it is.

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