Guru and Solar Interview
Hip Hop fans will know that Guru along with DJ Premier was one half of the legendary Gangstarr. A Massively influential hip-hop outfit that was formed back in 1987. Guru’s formidable skills on the mic earned him legions of admirers.
In 1993 he released his first solo album, Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1. which featured collaborations with Jazz legends Donald Byrd and Roy Ayers. It was one of the first records to fuse jazz and hip-hop and is generally considered to be amongst the best hip-hop released in the 90’s.
We’re now up to Jazzmatazz 4 – and this is where a guy called Solar comes in – he’s a top class producer who is now making beats for Guru. Together they’ve launched 7 Grand label – which has freed them from the constraints of a major label and allowed them to pursue their goal of bringing real hip hop back to prominence.
UMP3/DIGBY: That line ‘lemonade is a popular drink and it still is’ is one of my favourite hip-hop lines. So first question to you Guru – Is lemonade still a popular drink?
GURU: You know what it is – I just had some.
UMP3/DIGBY: Oh yeah? Do you prefer the traditional still or fizzy like a sprite?
GURU: I prefer the still stuff.
UMP3/DIGBY: So what are your favourite lines from throughout the times?
GURU: Jeez, there’s a few. Um.. ‘To me MC means move the crowd’ – Rakim
UMP3/DIGBY: Ah yeah from Rakim and Eric B – Eric B is president. Speaking of all things presidential – you boys been following the US elections?
SOLAR: Ha That was one hell of a segue! Yeah we’ve definitely been following them and are very proud of the situation. You’ve got a woman or a black man that are gonna be president, its very historical and inspirational.
UMP3/DIGBY: They say if Barrack gets in they’ll shoot him. Who’s they and do you think they will?
SOLAR: That’s a terrible thing to say. Historically Black People in America have been instrumental in constructing the great country that it is today. So for Barrack to come from politically nowhere and be the most credible candidate that we’ve ever had, I as a black man am completely proud of that.
UMP3/DIGBY: He’s done a lot of work for the community and I believe you have too Solar.
SOLAR: Yeah, I worked with homeless children and that’s still one of my causes. I was pretty much an orphan myself – not the best upbringing. I struggled hard, had some breaks come my way and I took them and was awarded my version of the American Dream – I did well for myself had my own business.
GURU: Yeah When I first met Solar I needed to borrow some money!
UMP3/DIGBY: Ha! Now Guru I’m gonna bring up a touchy subject – This guy going by the name Young Guru, That annoys you doesn’t it?
GURU: Yeah but I think he’s pretty much been silenced. He’s still engineering but he’s not hollering his name out which is good because it’s not really his name to be walking around with.
UMP3/DIGBY: Yeah cos it suggests that you’re ‘old Guru’ which isn’t the case cos you’re in the best shape of your life.
SOLAR: And who is he to say that? And where are these other dudes who are over him and should’ve pulled him to one side and said Yo calm your mouth down, be respectful of that man, cos that’s the General of Hip Hop right there!
GURU: But Digby we reached out to them and they acted like they were to big to talk and said he’d had the name for years but even if you’ve had the name for years then once you step in the arena you gotta make sure your stuff is original.
UMP3/DIGBY: It did give rise to some funny things though, after Young Guru whatever next? The Skinny Heavy D ? The Handsome Biz Markie? What else could we come up with?
[chuckles all round]
SOLAR: Ha! Oh man …the fat Will Smith!
UMP3/DIGBY: The monogamous LL Cool J
SOLAR: Ooo shhh er The Straight Blank
UMP3/DIGBY: Or the Gay Eminem!
SOLAR: Ouch. Ha! That’s how we handled it man, with humour and intelligence. We don’t take it to the street and we don’t get nuts with it. Just say that’s wrong and keep it moving.
GURU: That’s what hip-hop was always about too and that’s why our label 7 Grand is here, because all this biting and copying that’s gonna kill hip-hop.
UMP3/DIGBY: Yeah, hip hops almost like Disco in the early 80’s where it had moved from the underground clubs like Paradise Garage to the mainstream and Studio 54. It became very bling and commercial and it killed it and you boys are saving it against that.
GURU: Good Point.
UMP3/DIGBY: But I think about that period of New York, 500 black gay guys dancing in a disco. What’s happened to them? where do they go now? Because they’re certainly not at hip-hop clubs are they? Has hip-hop sent them into the closet.
SOLAR: It’s not that era any more. In general New York has changed. What you’re talking about is a time when the (Greenwich) village was the village and you had a heavy homosexual population that was visible. Now things have changed to such a corporate environment that whatever’s going on is certainly not what you’re talking about back in the day.
UMP3/DIGBY: Boys it’s been an honour.
GURU: Likewise, keep doing your thing Digby, and anyone that wants to holla at us its myspace.com/guru7grand or myspace.com/solar7grand.
Keep it locked in right here with my man Digby.
[Digby beams like an imbecile.]
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