Six years removed from the last Gang Starr project, it’s quite clear there won’t be a follow-up anytime soon. Unyielding to the fact, Guru has continued on with his career with a series of collaborative projects with “Super-Producer” Solar, replacing the legendary DJ Premier in unexceptional fashion. Their latest venture, updates Guru’s operation system to 8.0 and finds the parched pair searching for the Hip-Hop of yesteryear in the Lost & Found bin. The 17 track LP is essentially a lambaste on today’s industry and sadly functions like an older model.
Guru’s earned a reputation throughout his career as one who takes extreme pride in the direction of his lyrics but in a classic case of irony, Lost & Found features more preaching than actual rapping as he carries on like your no-nonsense uncle, sucking all the fun out of the music with each proverb. The opening line of “Those Dayz R Gone” finds Guru stating “People always wanna live in the past, those days are gone…” Yet, the senile rapper has no qualms taking it down memory lane on the baseless “Best Of My Yearz” while “Divine Rule” sounds like a rotten leftover from the original Breakin’ soundtrack. Attempts at sounding current are equally as futile where Guru tries his hand at Auto-Tune on the upbeat “Fastlane” completely with “braggin’ about swagger from the late 90’s” (more contradiction) and the futuristic fuckery of “It’s A Shock.”
Meanwhile, “Super-Producer” Solar takes on the arduous task of delivering listenable, yet enjoyable symphonies to keep the momentum going and while it’s clear that there’s a lot of button pushing and sequencing changeups, the gratification never rises above sea level. “After Time” utilizes a tired Queen sample as well as the “Super-Producer” dropping 16 bars of random jargon. Tracks like “Stop Frontin” and “No Gimmick Shit” do their part in filling out the sound of any studio monitor but rarely are they elevated from the rhymes of Brother Elam whereas on the former he kicks unbearable lines like “Time to come clean like detergent/you really ain’t God/you just a censored version.” WTF.
Much like any elder in any realm, Guru and his “Super-Producer” prove that being stuck in your ways only diagnoses tunnel vision as the two get by on being basic and basically boring. The problems of music today have been more than documented ten times over and the last thing the game needs is a scolding from artists that are well past their prime. What was billed as a new version turns out only to be a refurbished model with a serious of existing malfunctions.