Step In the Arena

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Step In the Arena
Studio album by Gang Starr
Released January 15, 1991
Recorded 1990
Calliope Productions in New York, New York
Firehouse Studios in Brooklyn, New York
Such-A-Sound Studio in Brooklyn, New York
Genre Jazz rap, East Coast Hip Hop,[1] Golden Age hip hop[1]
Length 50:37
Label Chrysalis/EMI Records
0946 3 21798 2 1
Producer DJ Premier, Guru
Gang Starr chronology
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Step in the Arena
Daily Operation
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[2]
Rolling Stone 4.5/5 stars[3]
Select 3/5 stars[4]
The Source 3.5/5 stars[5]

Step In the Arena is the second studio album by hip hop duo Gang Starr, released on January 15, 1991.[1] Initially, the album was rated 3.5 out of 5 mics in The Source magazine.[5] In his review, Reef wrote: "Step in the Arena stands alone on a musical level, yet it also remains true to hip-hop's underground heritage." In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Hip Hop Albums.[6] In 2007, it was named the greatest hip hop album of all time by[7] The song "Who's Gonna Take the Weight" was remixed by DJ Premier for use in the video game Grand Theft Auto IV as well as "Step In the Arena" was on the video games Skate It and Skate 2 and "Just to Get a Rep" was on Thrasher: Skate and Destroy.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Name Tag (Premier & The Guru)"
  2. "Step in the Arena"
  3. "Form of Intellect"
  4. "Execution of a Chump (No More Mr. Nice Guy Pt. 2)"
  5. "Who's Gonna Take the Weight?"
  6. "Beyond Comprehension"
  7. "Check the Technique"
  8. "Lovesick"
  9. "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow"
  10. "Game Plan"
  11. "Take a Rest"
  12. "What You Want this Time?"
  13. "Street Ministry"
  14. "Just to Get a Rep" (short version)
  15. "Say Your Prayers"
  16. "As I Read My S-A"
  17. "Precisely the Right Rhymes"
  18. "The Meaning of the Name"
  19. "Credit Is Due" [Japan-only bonus track]


Beyond Comprehension

Check the Technique

Just to Get a Rep

Love Sick

Say Your Prayers

Take a Rest

Execution of a Chump

Form of Intellect

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Name Tag (Premier & the Guru)

Precisely the Right Rhymes

Step in the Arena

Street Ministry

The Meaning of the Name

What You Want This Time

Who's Gonna Take the Weight?

As I Read My S-A


  • Guru - rap, production, mixing
  • DJ Premier - beats, scratch, production, mixing
  • Lisle Leete - piano, engineering
  • Shlomo Sonnenfeld - engineering
  • Yoram Vazam - engineering
  • Howie Weinberg - mastering
  • Marc Cozza - art direction, design
  • Rick Patrick - logo



Chart (1991) Peak
US Billboard 200[8] 121
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[9] 19


Year Song Chart position
Hot Rap Singles
1991 "Just to Get a Rep" 5
"Who's Gonna Take The Weight?" 9
Lovesick 11
"Step In The Arena" 5


  1. ^ a b c
  2. ^ Swihart, Stanton. "Review: Step In The Arena - Gang Starr". Allmusic. Retrieved 30 July 2009. 
  3. ^ Hoard, Christian. Review: Step In The Arena - Gang Starr. Rolling Stone :322. Retrieved 7 December 2010. 
  4. ^ "Review: Gang Starr - Step In The Arena, Cooltempo". Select (EMAP Metro) (March, 1998): 88. 
  5. ^ a b Reef (February, 1991) Step In The Arena Album Review. The Source.
  6. ^ Columnist. The 100 Best Rap Albums. The Source. Retrieved on 2010-12-07.
  7. ^ "Top 25 Hip Hop Albums—Music Feature at IGN". 
  8. ^ "Gang Starr – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Gang Starr.
  9. ^ "Gang Starr – Chart history" Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for Gang Starr.