With a 20 year career and a slew of revered LP’s under his belt, Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal has soldered his honeyed timbre to Hip Hop’s very DNA. While his partnership with Premier still remains the template for rap authenticity, his Jazzmatazz outfit continues to turn up genre bending surprises.
Having teamed up with Solar (not the French one) for a series of releases on their own 7 Grand imprint, it’s about time we caught up with Guru for the latest on his new project: 0.8 Lost and Found.
You’ve been busy; can you break down your recent projects?
Guru: Since 2005 I have been adding a glorious new chapter to an already illustrious legendary career. I linked up with NYC's brightest producer; Solar seven years ago and we put our Guru Version 7.0 The Street Scriptures in 05. Then Guru’s Jazzmatazz Vol 4 in 07, a classic that rejuvenated the Jazzmatazz legacy. Then The Jazzmatazz Back to the Future Mix CD in 08 and now the upcoming Guru 8.0 Lost and Found album which is a pure Hip Hop release!
You’ve been doing the Jazzmatazz series since 1993. Some people believe that Hip Hop is a continuation of Jazz whereas others feel the mechanics of the two genres couldn’t be more different. What are your thoughts on the connections between the two?
Guru: They both came out of the Black American struggle and represented eras that involved the struggle and social consciousness being reflected through the music and lifestyle which then became universal and moved to involved people of all races. They both contain elements of improvisation and musical expression.
You had UK rapper Yungun on a recent mixtape; how did that link come about and what UK Hip Hop are you familiar with?
Guru: Yes, I have always been down with UK Hip Hop since Hijack, Outlaw Posse, etc. I am digging Dizzie, Chipmunk, Wiley, Bashy, etc.
Which record are you most proud of and why?
Guru: Jazzmatazz Vol 4 because we put together such a vast array of brilliant artists independently with no major label budget and the album is brilliant. Also the new Guru 8.0 Lost and Found album because it is Real Hip Hop for 09 and gives new direction to those in Hip Hop who are lost!
What new music are you listening to?
Guru: Jim Jones, Eminem, Immortal Technique, Zion I, Young Jeezy
A brief political question: KRS 1 (and many others) thinks Obama is just an agent of Wall St finance and has been implemented by the elite to make their world agenda appear more palatable to the people. Do you think Obama represents real change or is he just a black face on the same old system?
Guru: Obama indeed represents real change. Big up to our 44th President! The rise of 7 Grand Records, Guru and Solar is quite parallel to the rise of Obama, although we are not politicians. This is a mandate of the people and even with all of the somewhat vicious attacks, the intelligence and positive strength prevails and rises up. Peace!
By: Max Weldon