Hard to Earn

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Hard to Earn
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 8, 1994
Recorded1992 – July 1993
StudioD&D Studios (New York City)
LabelChrysalis/EMI Records
7243 8 28435 2 8
ProducerDJ Premier (producer)
Guru (co-producer)
Gang Starr chronology
Daily Operation
Hard to Earn
Moment of Truth
Singles from Hard to Earn
  1. "DWYCK"
    Released: December 29, 1992[2]
  2. "Mass Appeal"
    Released: February 8, 1994[3]
  3. "Code of the Streets"
    Released: May 17, 1994[4]
  4. "Suckas Need Bodyguards"
    Released: October 4, 1994[5]
Professional ratings
Review scores
Robert Christgau(neither)[8]
Rolling Stone[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[10]
The Source[11]

Hard to Earn is the fourth studio album by American hip hop duo Gang Starr. It was released on March 8, 1994, by Chrysalis and EMI Records in North America. The album featured the singles "Mass Appeal", (their first charting single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart), "DWYCK" (featuring Nice & Smooth), and "Code of the Streets". Guest appearances on the album include Group Home, Jeru the Damaja, and Big Shug. At the time, all were part of the Gang Starr Foundation, which made the album a stepping-stone for future DJ Premier-helmed projects by Group Home and Jeru. Hard to Earn received acclaim and commercial success upon release.

The single "DWYCK" recorded in 1992 also featured hip hop duo Nice & Smooth. The track "Now You're Mine" originally appeared on the 1992 soundtrack White Men Can't Rap.

Hard to Earn is also the duo's first album to carry the "Parental Advisory" label.

Track listing[edit]

All music is composed by Keith Elam and Christopher Martin, except where noted.

1."Intro (The First Step)" (Instrumental)0:54
3."Code of the Streets" Guru3:29
4."Brainstorm" Guru3:02
5."Tonz 'O' Gunz" Guru3:55
6."The Planet" Guru5:16
7."Aiiight Chill..." A skit featuring Nas, A.G., Masta Ace, MC Eiht, DJ Scratch, Mister Cee3:13
8."Speak Ya Clout"Martin, Elam, Jeru Kendrick Davis, James HeathGuru, Lil Dap, Jeru the Damaja3:35
9."DWYCK"Martin, Elam, Greg Mays, Daryl BarnesGuru, Nice & Smooth4:03
10."Words from the Nutcracker"Martin, Elam, Jamal FelderMelachi the Nutcracker1:29
11."Mass Appeal" Guru3:41
12."Blowin' Up the Spot" Guru3:10
13."Suckas Need Bodyguards" Guru, Melachi the Nutcracker4:05
14."Now You're Mine" Guru2:55
15."Mostly Tha Voice" Guru3:38
16."F.A.L.A." Guru, Big Shug4:17
17."Comin' for Datazz" Guru4:02


Singles chart positions[edit]

Year Song Chart positions
Billboard Hot 100 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks Hot Rap Singles Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales
1994 DWYCK - - 25 12
Mass Appeal 67 42 10 3
Code of the Streets - 83 33 5
Suckas Need Bodyguards - - 44 18


  1. ^ a b Jason Birchmeier (1994-03-08). "Hard to Earn - Gang Starr | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  2. ^ "Dwyck - Gang Starr | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic.
  3. ^ "Mass Appeal - Gang Starr | Release Info". AllMusic.
  4. ^ "Code of the Streets - Gang Starr | Release Info". AllMusic.
  5. ^ "Suckas Need Bodyguards - Gang Starr | Release Credits". AllMusic.
  6. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "Hard to Earn – Gang Starr". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  7. ^ Doggett, Tom (May 24, 2005). "GangStarr:: Hard to Earn :: Chrysalis Records". RapReviews. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  8. ^ "CG: Gang Starr". Robert Christgau. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  9. ^ Nelson, Havelock (June 2, 1994). "Hard To Earn : Gang Starr : Review". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Archived from the original on November 20, 2009. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  10. ^ Nathan Brackett; Christian David Hoard (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. p. 322. ISBN 9780743201698. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  11. ^ "Classic Review : Hard To Earn in The Source (1994) | Press Rewind If I Haven't". Ifihavent.wordpress.com. 2010-04-20. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  12. ^ "Gang Starr | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  13. ^ "Gang Starr Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  14. ^ "Gang Starr Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  15. ^ "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums – Year-End 1994". Billboard. 2 January 2013. Retrieved November 24, 2020.