Guru’s ‘Jazzmatazz Volume 4 The Hip Hop Messenger: Back To The Future’ features Common; Raheem DeVaughn; Caron Wheeler; Slum Village and Bob James to name only a few! And to boot, Guru and Solar claim 7 Grand Records is more than a record label.
It’s a movement.
Thats a strong statement, and these guys are supremely focused right now. Guru’s actions reflect that of an increasing number of other artists, who, tired of controlling major labels, have decided to do things their own way.
Lady Jay UK: Ok, so you had a major deal, then didn’t, now your running 7 Grand Records with Solar. That’s major changes. How has that affected you?
Guru: Running my own record label is something that I always wanted to do as an artist. So now that Solar and I are CEO and president of 7 Grand records, it gives me a great feeling of pride to know that I’m in control of my creativity, and that, you know, the buck stops here.
Lady Jay UK: Tell me about 7 Grand Records. Why did you make the decision to start your own label?
Guru: 7 Grand Records is the brain child of myself, legendary hip hop icon Guru and my partner the super producer Solar; the hottest new producer in the game. The label came about as a result of so called A& R’s and exec’s trying to tell me what to do with my creativity , and trying to, you know, have creative control over the way I was expressing myself musically and so forth. This was going down during the last album with my previous group, and I was real frustrated with this and I expressed a lotta that to Solar who I was hanging with an that time an’ he told me , you know, he said, if it’s that bad start your own label! And I thought about it, I called him back a few days later and kicked it with him about him being involved with me in the project. He thought about it, felt it was an important thing to do, so we go together an formulated 7 Grand Records, which is much more than a record label; it’s a movement.
Lady Jay UK: What lead to you not having a deal?
Guru: Before Solar and I started 7 Grand Records, I had finished up all my contractual requirements with my previous group, so that was the end of that whole deal. Rather than to go into another major deal, Solar and I put our heads together and formulate 7 Grand Records; of which we are the CEO and president, and of which we have total creative control.
Lady Jay UK: What do you think about the state of the music industry at the moment. A lot of people are having difficulties…
Guru: Hip hop today is in need of a balance. You’ve got mainstream radio, playing the same songs an’ force feeding the masses the same thing, and you got listeners out there that are much more intelligent that are craving for other forms of hip hop; and that’s where 7 Grand Records come in. We’re here to be creative, intelligent, effective leaders in this new age of hip hop and take hip hop to the future – while we hold onto those important principles of hip hop that we love so dearly.
Lady Jay UK: Was there any resistance to the Jazzmatazz concept in the beginning?
Guru: The first person I spoke to when I decided to do the Jazzmatazz project in ’93 was Dr Donald Bird. After speaking with Donald Bird, he put the word out in the Jazz community that Guru was that dude bringing that hip hop and Jazz together, and that it was very important and historical, what we were putting down. So he kinda, made it a lot easier for me to connect with the other Jazz cats, and so forth. He put that good word out there for me. After that, things were pretty smooth. As far as from the hip hop side, there was a lotta love as well. It was just an experimentation, and once people heard it, they felt it.
Lady Jay UK :Was it easy to start work on Jazzmatazz 4 The Hip Hop Jazz Messenger: “Back To the Future” ? What gave you inspiration for the album?
Guru: After our first 7 Grand Records release in 2005; ‘Guru version 7.0 The Street Scriptures’, we toured all over the world, Solar and myself an’, a lot of people would come up to us and ask: “When is there gonna be another Jazzmatazz?” . So, once we kept hearing that, we said yea, we gotta go back and get in the lab and start on this ‘Jazzmatazz 4’. ‘Jazzmatazz’ is a timeless concept, so, I put it on the back burner, but it was something that I knew, we could always come back to.
Lady Jay UK: Have your working methods changed with this album?
Guru: My working methods have definitely evolved with this album, due to mostly the fact that I’m working with the hottest new producer n the game, the super producer Solar; who’s pushing me to new heights lyrically and conceptually.
Lady Jay UK: Jazzmatazz 4 reads like a hip hop / jazz / reggae hall of fame! You must be proud of that?
Guru: I’m definitely very proud of ‘Jazzmatazz 4; The hip hop Jazz Messenger; Back To The Future’. One thing that makes me the most proud is, that, this is a project that Solar and I put together from scratch. You know, just us two. And to have all of these illustrious musicians and singers involved with this, and putting this all together ourselves it just makes me extremely extremely proud, and this is one of the best ‘Jazzmatazz’ ever.
Lady Jay UK: What are your aims?
Guru: To keep bringing the people hot music, hot spits, dope artists; and that high level creativity that 7 Grand is known for.
Lady Jay UK: Anything else we need to know!