"If I'd have sold out, I'd have sold millions," Guru reminds everyone still listening, and this disc is, with minor digressions, one long demand that his sacrifice be respected. Of course, the Boston-bred MC's legendary past gives him the right to ask for his props -- and several of these hard-edged new songs earn it on their own merits -- but his unimaginatively direct appeal for inclusion into hip-hop's "hall of fame" is discouraging, both as art and as a reminder of the game's short memory. The surprise is Guru's new production partner, Solar, who steps into DJ Premier's impossibly huge shoes with a solid mix of the familiar ("Live and Let Die"), the funky, and "Talk to Me," a breeze straight from soul heaven.
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