The hip-hop duo Gang Starr, composed of DJ Premier and the late rapper Guru, released their last project together, "The Ownerz," in 2003.
Sixteen years later, DJ Premier returned with "Family and Loyalty," which features two never-before-heard verses by his late partner, who passed away in 2010.
His chorus notably references Wu-Tang Clan's 1993 hit, "C.R.E.A.M," with Guru rapping "Diamonds are forever like family and loyalty, or real rap songs like C.R.E.A.M. or my melody."
In a statement, DJ Premier pointed out the emotional significance of "Family and Loyalty," especially in the light of Guru's death.
"This record means so much to me. It's a continuation of what I never wanted to end. It's a very foreign place for me and very emotional. I get happy, sad, excited; my feelings are kind of all over the place. But predominantly, just very happy to be making music with Guru again," he said.
"Family and Loyalty" also marks Gang Starr's first collaboration with fellow rapper J. Cole, who Premier described as "someone that [Guru] would want to work with."
"When it comes to this generation of emcees, ones that are lyrically on the level that Guru was on and someone that he would want to work with; Cole is that guy. When Cole heard the record he got the chills and knew it was a classic," he explained.
"Family and Loyalty" arrived ahead of Gang Starr's forthcoming new album, which Premier teased earlier this week on Twitter.
The musician shared a clip of voicemail left by Nas, in which the rapper is heard saying, "Yo, Premier, what up man? It's your man Nas. Yo, is it true there's a new Gang Starr album? That's crazy man. Let me know man."
Although details about Gang Starr's new studio effort are still scarce, DJ Premier revealed in a 2010 interview with XXL that he had several unreleased tracks with Guru.
"There are guys in Europe who say that they have seven or eight. It's songs he did with them and they never finished it and they said I can have them. They reached out and were like, 'As long as you're doing it. You can have the vocals.' They are all brand new, from like a year and a half ago. I listened to them and I'll make them sh*ts sound like we were together. Well, we will be together because spiritually, he's with me for the rest of my life," he said.
Discover "Family and Loyalty":