Hard to Earn

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.

Hard to Earn
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 8, 1994 (US)
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
AllMusic4/5 stars[6]
Robert Christgau(neither)[8]
RapReviews8.5/10 stars[7]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4.5/5 stars[10]
The Source4/5 stars[11]

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 listingEdit

# Title Songwriters Producer(s) Performer (s)
1 "Intro (The First Step)" DJ Premier, Guru *Instrumental*
2 "ALONGWAYTOGO" Christopher Martin, Keith Elam DJ Premier, Guru Guru
3 "Code of the Streets" Christopher Martin, Keith Elam Guru, DJ Premier (co-produced) Guru
4 "Brainstorm" Christopher Martin, Keith Elam DJ Premier, Guru Guru
5 "Tonz 'O' Gunz" Christopher Martin, Keith Elam DJ Premier, Guru Guru
6 "The Planet" Christopher Martin, Keith Elam DJ Premier, Guru Guru
7 "Aiiight Chill..." Christopher Martin, Keith Elam DJ Premier, Guru *Skit* featuring Nas, A.G., Masta Ace, MC Eiht, DJ Scratch, Mister Cee
8 "Speak Ya Clout" Christopher Martin, Keith Elam, Jeru Kendrick Davis, Heath DJ Premier, Guru Guru, Lil Dap, Jeru the Damaja
9 "DWYCK" Christopher Martin, Keith Elam, Greg Mays, Daryl Barnes DJ Premier, Guru Guru, Nice & Smooth
10 "Words from the Nutcracker" Christopher Martin, Keith Elam, Felder DJ Premier, Guru Melachi the Nutcracker
11 "Mass Appeal" Christopher Martin, Keith Elam DJ Premier, Guru Guru
12 "Blowin' Up the Spot" Christopher Martin, Keith Elam DJ Premier, Guru Guru
13 "Suckas Need Bodyguards" Christopher Martin, Keith Elam DJ Premier, Guru Guru, Melachi the Nutcracker
14 "Now You're Mine" Christopher Martin, Keith Elam DJ Premier, Guru Guru
15 "Mostly Tha Voice" Christopher Martin, Keith Elam DJ Premier, Guru Guru
16 "F.A.L.A." Keith Elam, Cary Guy DJ Premier, Guru Guru, Big Shug
17 "Comin' for Datazz" Christopher Martin, Keith Elam DJ Premier, Guru Guru


Chart (1994) Peak
UK Albums (OCC)[12] 29
US Billboard 200[13] 25
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[14] 2

Singles chart positionsEdit

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. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/album/dwyck-mw0000626411
  3. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/album/release/mass-appeal-mr0000042810
  4. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/album/release/code-of-the-streets-mr0000047006
  5. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/album/release/suckas-need-bodyguards-mr0001513094
  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. "The New Rolling Stone Album Guide". Books.google.co.uk. p. 322. 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.