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His name says it all; standing at well over six feet tall and with the intimidating muscular build of a linebacker, Big Shug’s physical presence alone is enough to command attention. His voice, a hoarse rumble effective for delivering both fearsome threats or smooth crooning as his alter-ego Shugie Diamonds, is one of rap’s most instantly recognizable. As both a solo artist and founding member of Gang Starr, his name has consistently shown up in album credits alongside hip-hop’s elite for over 20 years.
But despite that, Shug has never courted the spotlight. As countless other rappers, and even Gang Starr themselves, fell by the wayside, he has persevered through fans’ evolving tastes and a changing record industry by staying true to the ideals – integrity, respect for the streets and love of music – that have fueled his career. Nowhere is that more apparent than on I.M. 4-EVA.
Stitching together the various parts of his career into one, this album, true to its title, is a comprehensive look at who Big Shug is, where he came from and where he is going. With his bruising flow over classic DJ Premier produced cuts bringing back nostalgic 90s memories, he pays tribute to the fans who have stuck with him since the beginning. I.M. 4-Eva – Shug’s fourth solo album and his first since 2008’s Other Side of the Game – marks the next chapter in his ongoing maturation as an artist. The album reunites Shug with old friends like M.O.P., Fat Joe and Premier, while also connecting with a new generation of hip-hop fans via collaborations with Reks, Termanology, Singapore Kane and Slaine.
In addition to the 17 all new studio cuts Brick Records has presented a timeless package; a hard back, 36 page book chronicling the true history of Gang Starr as told by Big Shug, plus anecdotes from his 20+ year career, rare never before seen vintage photos and more. Through his words and his music, Big Shug truly shows here why he is 4-EVA.
1. Still Here (Prod. By A Kid Called Quest)
2. Hardbody (Feat. Fat Joe & M.O.P.) (Prod. by DJ Premier)
3. Spit Six (Prod. by DJ Premier)
4. For The Real (Feat. Termanology, Slaine, Singapore Kane & Reks) (Prod. by Fizzy Womack)
5. Blue Collar (Prod. by DJ Premier)
6. Ass Mouth (Skit)
7. I.M. 4-Eva (Feat. Singapore Kane)
8. Big Fly Homie (Prod. By A Kid Called Quest)
9. No More (Feat. Trumayne)
10. War In The Club (Prod. by Lee Bannon)
11. We Miss You (Prod. by DJ Premier)
12. My Kids
13. I’ll Be Here
14. Sixteen Go
15. New Era
16. True Love
17. Basically (Prod. by Fizzy Womack)
Release date: July 24, 2012
Support the Gang Starr Foundation, fresh album incl hardcover case book! I only know about the physical CD version, no word on vinyl or digital.