Step in the Arena There aren't any easily identifiable samples on Step in the Arena , a debut collection of raps, which is one reason Gang Starr may not… Step in the Arena There aren't any easily identifiable samples on Step in the Arena , a debut collection of raps, which is one reason Gang Starr may not… Gang Starr Hip-Hop/Rap
Music Review

Step in the Arena (1991)

EW's GRADE
B

Details Lead Performance: Gang Starr; Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

There aren't any easily identifiable samples on Step in the Arena, a debut collection of raps, which is one reason Gang Starr may not enjoy the huge success of Vanilla Ice and M.C. Hammer, both of whom have used familiar samples to their advantage. Nevertheless, Gang Starr busts rhymes that boast without resorting to misogyny and profanity. And their lazy backbeats and playful brass flourishes serve as a backdrop not only for humor, as in ''Execution of a Chump,'' but even wisdom, in ''Here Today, Gone Tomorrow.'' The latter song touches on the ephemerality of some rap with an especially steely wit, noting that ''when you sell out to appeal to the masses/you have to go back and enroll in some classes.'' B

Originally posted Jan 25, 1991 Published in issue #50 Jan 25, 1991 Order article reprints