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Director Fab 5 Freddy Talks Music Video “Just To Get A Rep”

Hard to believe but this month marks 21 years since the release of Gang Starr’s sophomore album, Step In the Arena. The LP’s lead single, and some would argue, the definitive Gang Starr song, “Just To Get a Rep,” neatly encapsulates all the group’s signature musical elements (e.g. Guru’s detailed street narrative with a conscience; DJ Premier’s peerless production and precisely dispensed scratch hooks). But nearly as important to the record’s success with hip-hop devotees upon its release was its accompanying video. Inventively directed by Yo! MTV Raps host Fab 5 Freddy, shot in stark black and white, and prominently featuring several Gang Starr Foundation members, the “Just To Get a Rep” music video is perhaps the ideal visual rendering of the song imaginable. Ever the gentleman, Fab 5 Freddy recalls the making of this classic music video. Along the way, Fab talks no-budget shooting constraints and casting concerns, Williamsburg before the hipstaz took over, and how Guru and Premier captured the essence of a BK street institution: the stick up kid.

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