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Gang Starr – Step in the Arena (1991)

August 12, 2020

Learning to be anti-racist

“The mind is a terrible thing to waste
I show love cause it’s a terrible thing to hate”
– Gang Starr, Peace of Mine

For years, I have been mistakenly under the impression that ‘racist’ and ‘not racist’ were opposites. I’ve since realized that ‘anti-racism’ is actually the opposite of ‘racism’ & I need to do a better job of being actively anti-racist.

As a starting point, I want to commit to doing two small things every week:

  1. Listen & Learn. Share resources that I’ve found helpful.
  2. Amplify Black Voices. Each Wednesday, feature a Black Artist from the 1001 list.


So far, I’ve looked at Curtis Mayfield’s There’s No Place Like America Today, The Crusaders’ Street Life, Cypress Hill’s Cypress Hill, Cee-Lo Green’s Cee-Lo Green…Is the Soul Machine, Maxwell’s Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s, Shaka Zulu, Muddy Waters’ Hard Again, Fela Ransome-Kuti and The Africa ’70 with Ginger Baker’s Live!, and Femi Kuti’s Femi Kuti, and Shuggie Otis’ Inspiration Information.

This week, Gang Starr’s Step in the Arena.


[Album 791/1001]

“If you are not in the arena getting your ass kicked on occasion, I am not interested in or open to your feedback.”
– Brené Brown

With my 1001 albums project, I am most definitely in the cheap seats.

These artists have put themselves out there & poured themselves into their records.

And I’m…some fella/venn diagram enthusiast with a free wordpress site.Stepinthearena

So given that I did not take Gang Starr up on their offer to Step in the Arena, I recognize they are neither interested in nor open to my feedback.

That being said, I hope they don’t mind a bit of praise from the cheap seats, especially for the well-crafted lyrics.

The following section from Beyond Comprehension provides a nice example of the appeal:

Expanding the depth of your brainpower
Ours is a better gift, not to be bragging nor lollygagging
I can see dimensions of sound and light around my mic
Transmitting lyrics like teletype

Thoughtful lyrics (in this section & throughout), that leave the audience feeling more educated?

A promise (kept) to listeners, that their time investment will be respected?

With a bonus simile reference to obsolete technology?

Yes please, to all of the above!


Helpful Resources

On Brené Brown’s site, there is a page featuring this list of Anti-Racism books, as recommended by her social media community.

From → 1990s

  1. I am sure they will gladly accept your praise.

  2. Usually the best fans are in the cheap seats Geoff!

    • That’s definitely true at Leaf games – in regular times, seeing those empty platinum seats at the beginning of the period is always strange, the relatively ‘cheap’ purple seats would have been packed long before puck drop!

  3. Lol at Venn Diagram Enthusiast.

  4. The real fans are always in the back!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Jurassic 5 – Power in Numbers (2002) | 1001albumsin10years
  2. 1991 | 1001albumsin10years

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