Step in the Arena
Step in the Arena
Studio album by Gang Starr


January 15, 1991




Calliope Productions, Firehouse Studios and Such-A-Sound Studio
(New York City)


Hip hop, jazz rap, East Coast hip hop, Golden Age hip hop




Chrysalis/EMI Records


DJ Premier, Guru

Gang Starr chronology


No More Mr. Nice Guy (1989)


Daily Operation (1992)

Step in the Arena is the second studio album by American hip hop duo Gang Starr, released in January 15, 1991 by Chrysalis Records. Four singles were released from the album, and music videos were made for the songs "Who's Gonna Take the Weight?", "Just to Get a Rep" and "Step in the Arena".

Initially, the album was rated 3.5 out of 5 mics in The Source magazine, but it was later chosen by the magazine as one of their 100 Best Albums in 1998. The song "Who's Gonna Take the Weight" was remixed by DJ Premier for use in the video game Grand Theft Auto IV.

Track listingEdit

All songs written by K. Elam and C. Martin, performed by Guru, and produced by DJ Premier and Guru.

No. Title Time
1. "Name Tag (Premier & The Guru)" 0:36
2. "Step in the Arena" 3:37
3. "Form of Intellect" 3:40
4. "Execution of a Chump (No More Mr. Nice Guy Pt. 2) 2:42
5. "Who's Gonna Take the Weight?" 3:56
6. "Beyond Comprehension" 3:14
7. "Check the Technique" 3:59
8. "Lovesick" 3:27
9. "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" 2:19
10. "Game Plan" 1:08
11. "Take a Rest" 4:21
12. "What You Want This Time?" 2:42
13. "Street Ministry" 1:26
14. "Just to Get a Rep" 2:43
15. "Say Your Prayers" 1:25
16. "As I Read My S-A" 3:02
17. "Precisely the Right Rhymes" 3:25
18. "The Meaning of the Name" 2:55


  • Track 4 features piano performed by Lisle Leete.

Samples Edit

Name Tag (Premier & The Guru)

  • "Fantasy Interlude" by The Originals

Step in the Arena

  • "Bumpin' Bus Stop" by Thunder and Lightning
  • "Never Let 'Em Say" by Ballin' Jack
  • "Four Play" by Fred Wesley and The Horny Horns

Form of Intellect

  • "Better Half" by Maceo & All the King's Men
  • "Holy War (Live)" by Divine Force

Execution of a Chump (No More Mr. Nice Guy Pt. 2)

  • "Don't It Drive You Crazy" by The Pointer Sisters

Who's Gonna Take the Weight?

  • "Parrty" by Maceo & the Macks
  • "To Da Break of Dawn" by LL Cool J

Beyond Comprehension

  • "Up on Cripple Creek" by The Band
  • "Keep on Movin'" by Soul II Soul

Check the Technique


  • "Never Had a Dream" by Ohio Players
  • "Trying to Make a Fool of Me" by The Delfonics

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

  • "You'll Like It Too" by Funkadelic
  • "Crosswind" by Billy Cobham
  • "Ease Back" by Ultramagnetic MC's

Game Plan

  • "Help Yourself" by Tom Jones

Take a Rest

  • "Give It Up" by Kool & the Gang
  • "Funky Miracle" by The Meters
  • "UFO" by ESG
  • "Right on for the Darkness" by Curtis Mayfield

What You Want This Time

  • "Nose Job" by James Brown

Street Ministry

  • "Leaward Winds" by Billy Cobham

Just to Get a Rep

  • "E.V.A." by Jean Jacques-Perrey
  • "Funky for You" by Nice & Smooth

Say Your Prayers

  • "Wilford's Gone" by The Blackbyrds

As I Read My S-A

  • "Easy to Be Hard" by Kole & Param

Precisely the Right Rhymes

  • "Outside Love" by Brethren
  • "Magdalena" by Leo Sayer
  • "Droppin' Science" by Marley Marl feat. Craig G

The Meaning of the Name

  • "With Respect to Coltrane" by Tom Scott
  • "Reading the Comics - July, 1945" by Fiorello La Guardia
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