In Brief

*** Gang Starr, "Moment of Truth," Noo Trybe/Virgin. A four-year absence would spell death for most artists, but the hiatus has only made Guru's deliberate, wide-mouthed monotone and DJ Premier's intricately stitched pastiche of layered samples and drum programming that much more seamless on their fifth album. From the barrel-chested bragging of "You Know My Steez," to the title track's jaunt to the moral crossroads, the duo's moody beats and street-wise rhymes are the thinking hip-hopper's answer to hook-driven dance-rap.

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Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent)

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