Album: Hard to Earn
Label: Chrysalis/EMI

In constructing this tribute to the borough of Brooklyn, DJ Premier starts with a taut Taj Mahal blues guitar riff that at first sounds almost human until it begins chugging along with the sort of skittering stutter-step that signifies hip-hop, accompanied by a matrix of syncopated rimshots. Premo then layers in significant vocal samples. The grandiose concept of the song must have originated as a snippet of spoken-word intro from "Lyte as a Rock" by BK's own MC Lyte, in which the rapper's brother Milk D brags about how Lyte's coming "directly from the planet of Brooklyn." Another BK boast is drawn from the obscure rap trio Divine Force. There's even a sample of Guru, drawn from an earlier Gang Starr recording, 1992's "The Place Where We Dwell." As buzzing with different voices as a bustling street corner in Bed-Stuy in July, "The Planet" is just as hot. —Rob Kenner