Gang Starr feat. Scarface: Betrayal (Noo Trybe, 1998, Moment of Truth)

6) For the reasons I just laid out last post, practically the entire back 2/3rds of the album is filled with songs I’d FF over. And can we be real here, fam? 1998-99 seemed to be some kind of zenith for “albums too long for their own good” and while Moment of Truth wasn’t, technically, a double album, it had 20 tracks which is practically 2xLP length anyway. As good as any group could be in that era, even Gang Starr seemed to have trouble filling that many songs without programming a few middling tracks along the way (see also: Wu-Tang Forever).

I sort of like the melancholy feel of “What I’m Here 4” but any momentum that gets generated dissipates with the very next song (“She Knowz What She Wantz”) which might be the softest track in the group’s whole catalog. It’s not until Track 18, “Betrayal” that I perk up interest again. The Scarface cameo obviously has something to do with that but mostly, it’s the rich textures of the track that brought me back, especially with all the layers of sound Primo has working there. Easily one of the best-sounding tracks on the album and a capstone to the producer’s gifts in the era.