The Ownerz - Gang Starr

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. All the Gang Starr trademarks are in place, from Premier's perfect upchoruses to Guru's reedy voice cutting or instructing, and sounding better than ever.
  2. A welcome return to that good stuff Gang Starr has delivered over the years.
  3. The pair simply revert to the beats and concerns that made them an institution in hip-hop's golden age; except for the occasional cameo (Snoop Dogg, Jadakiss), The Ownerz could have hit the streets a decade ago without raising eyebrows.
  4. 80
    All told, a class act still in their prime. [Sep 2003, p.97]
  5. There's plenty here to celebrate for consistency's sake-- because for what they've lacked in evolution, Guru and Premier have more than repaid in reliability.
  6. While it's not as immediately user-friendly as the group's early jazz-rap infusions, this album still bubbles with head-nodding boombox pleasures.
  7. 75
    Guru is as bluntly eloquent as ever. [Sep 2003, p.115]
  8. Hitting that formula and riding it has drained some of the passion out of this sound.
  9. 70
    Their continued presence is reassuring, confirming that there are enough people sufficiently interested in old-fashioned rap music to ensure the group's survival. And this album, logically, is made for those listeners, not to pander to a theoretical multitude. [Aug 2003, p.94]
  10. Smart, street-wise and fun all at once.
  11. 70
    While The Ownerz does not spark any new rap trends, it brings back the power of the basics. [Jun 2003, p.153]
  12. 60
    Dignified and confident but slightly starved for ideas. [Aug 2003, p.125]
  13. It's almost a carbon copy of their early work. [Sep 2003, p.101]
  14. Premier does a solid job throughout The Ownerz, but nothing here approaches his past classics.
  15. Guru is... pushing the same grim consistency that makes folks describe Gang Starr albums as 'solid', not budging, not boring, but not better than Moment of Truth. [#234, p.73]
  16. "Skills" and "Rite Where U Stand" show the group's formula can still sizzle, but on the more mundane tracks... Gang Starr sound comfortable, and that's the last thing they'd want. [11 Jul 2003, p.78]
  17. So while The Ownerz does in some ways succeed in its quest to succinctly define the foundation of basic beats and rhymes, its insistent pining for bygone days ultimately reveals itself as lackluster nostalgia.

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