Street Hop Magazine

"Underground Hip-Hop Blog" Exclusive Q&A Interview Session w/ Guru & Solar last week caught up with Hip Hop legend Guru and super producer Solar for the first exclusive question and answer session of the year! After releasing their newest collaboration album “Jazzamataz Vol. 4” early 2007, they are getting ready to release a brand new Jazzmatazz mixtape entitled “The Time Bomb”. They sat down with to speak on how they felt the project done, the artists they connected with for the album, their thoughts on the New York Hip Hop scene & state of Hip Hop and what they’ve both got planned for the future. Also make sure you check out the Guru & Solar track called “Cuz I’m Jazzy” featuring Detroit duo Slum Village at the end of the interview.

Dub MD: Guru & Solar, What’s good?
Guru: Everything’s good, 7 Grand the movement baby! It’s real good!
Solar: Oh man what’s good fam, all my real Hip Hop fans out there that’s what’s good, real Hip Hop is back in the building, 7 Grand the movement is really what’s good my dudes!

Dub MD: For those who don’t know, could you just give a short review of what you’ve experienced in your rap career up until now?
Guru: Yeah, I’m a legendry hip hop icon, i started in a group called Gangstarr made some classic records, that was the “golden era” of Hip Hop. Went on from there to join with the super producer Solar 2004, put together 7 Grand Records with him, our first release 2005 “Guru version 7.0: The Street Scriptures”, which was one of the Top 10 independent selling records of that year, which enabled us to go from a smaller distribution situation to a bigger one for the new project we have in stores right now on 7 Grand Records which is entitled “Jazzmataz Volume 4” the Hip Hop Jazz message of back to the future, that’s where we at right now baby!

Solar: Well, what I’ve experienced dealing with 7 Grand Records and that’s really the beginning of my career, my first album was Guru 7.0: The Street Scriptures which was released on 7 Grand, 2005, then of course this album which is the second album so in my two album period I’ve amassed a pretty large, great discography working with the who’s who of the industry but at the same time not really going out for that commercial sell out status, so what I’ve learned myself that you can be successful doing the music that I feel is relevant as apposed to going for that top radio 40 sound.

Dub MD: Coming from Boston but based in New York, what do you think of the New York music scene right now?
Guru: The New York music scene right now is on the up swing through 7 Grand, 7 Grand is putting the New York scene back on the map!

Solar: I think its in a hole, i think these cats that came before us basically took it to the level of extremism on every point and definitely was in touch with what the reality of New York is and basically took interest away from New York Hip Hop so right now i see 7 Grand as bringing it back to a worldwide level of attention and at the same time balancing out where it was to where its at now with some real credible leadership, Guru’s the dude that didn’t sell out for the BS he didn’t go for the flim flam, you know and I ain’t going for it either, I got love for this culture, I got love for the game, I got love for New York from where it all was born from so imma stay true to this and rep it right!

Dub MD: Guru, what do you think of the commercialisation of Hip Hop right now, do you think its showing respect to its pioneers?
Guru: The commercialisation of Hip Hop, you know it’s been a long time in the works,i look at it like this, the listeners are realising their being force fed and their more intelligent than that and 7 Grand, myself and Solar we know that, their coming to us to get that nutrition so to speak as Solar calls it. The mainstream try to force feed you and push things down your throat, the listeners are tired of that and their looking for something more and here we are.

Dub MD: Solar, a lot of people are saying “Hip Hop Is Dead” lately, how do you feel about the current state of hip hop?
Solar: I don’t think is dead, i think its been kidnapped, duck taped, they got it in the basement, slapping it around a little bit but Guru & Solar’s gonna get it back and put it back where it need to be!

Dub MD: Do you have a new project in the works? what’s it called? and what can heads out there expect from it?
Guru: 7 Grand has a lot in store, can’t tell you to much but we got something bananas coming in the new years, for those who wanna know more holla at us,, you can also check out and but holla at us on the myspace, you’ll definitely find out what’s going on!

Solar: We got a new album coming early 2008, fortunately there’s some creative vampires out there with a lot of money and they study what me and Guru are doing then they take it and put a lot of money behind it and make it look like its their own, so unfortunately you heads out there i can’t speak too much on it, check us out on myspace and we gonna keep you posted but that’s the way things are these don’t ain’t creative there too busy sitting around doing other things, and making music or coming up with anything relevant for fresh so soon as me and Guru do it they take it all over TV and Radio and try and make it look like its there’s so unfortunately there hurting ya’ll coz we can’t really talk about it but know this 7 Grand has got a constant stream for product coming for you!

“The mainstream try to force feed you and push things down your throat, the listeners are tired of that and their looking for something more and here we are”

Dub MD: With this project, what artists & producers are you connecting with this time round?
Guru: On the new project, we got Jazzamataz Vol. 4 in stores, the Hip Hop Jazz message of back to the future, 16 bangers produced by super producer Solar, it’s a classic, we got everybody on there from Common, Slum Village to Damien Marley to the Jazz greats Bob James, David Sandbourne, Ronnie Laws, we got Keira Wheeler, Dion Ferris, Raheem DeVaughn, Omar, its just a star studded line up and big up to Blackalious as well and others. Its some of our best work, if you haven’t heard the album, go out and get it, it’s a classic. It takes the Jazzmataz legacy and the whole Jazzmataz concept to new heights, big up to the super producer Solar for coming with the craziest tracks and just musically just lacing the album. We got another joint coming out very soon, just stay tuned, like I said hit us up on the myspace so you can find out what’s going on, that album is crazy all i can say to you that its bananas!

Solar: Jazzmataz 4 has a full range of a spectrum of music, its so diverse that is represents everything that Jazzamataz and Guru’s represented but then we take it to the next level so I mean its a vast array of music and that we’re very proud of bringing to the market, where it looks like you can’t even go anywhere without having a song played 200 million times of the radio all day that’s the same drum sounds that have been used for 15 years, the same one finger hooks, so this is a musical album its an album that bring legends, masters of the fields of their music, masters of their instrument, wither it be their voice or be an musical instrument and brought with a tip notch level of spitting by Guru, Slum Village & Common, Blackalicious and of course i’m behind the boards killin it, so i don’t really care where your coming from musically, this is something that will definetly expand your musical tastes, definetly takes Hip Hop to the next level and if your not really checking on this you can’t really say your Hip Hop.

Dub MD: Your most recent album Jazzmataz Vol.4 is in stores right now, Are you happy with how that release has went so far?
Guru: Yes I’m very happy with the current release of Jazzmataz 4, I’m proud of the fact that myself and Solar were able to put together such an illustrious group of world class musicians and vocalists, you know, its so diverse to, i mentioned the names previously, its such a diverse group of people and there’s something for everybody on this album, the production is cutting edge, you can listen to it from beginning to end and enjoy every bit of it, so its a great piece of work and I’m very proud of it.

Solar: We’re very happy with the way the release you know, its an independent release, we didn’t really expect phenomenal sales but we did expect the real to check in and the numbers are solid around the world, we got solid real head numbers, we’re not in it for the Lamborghinis and Rolls Royces, them dudes got all that 3 billion ring tones, have that. Guru and Solar are gonna keep it real, keep the real music coming for the real heads, the real movement, 7 Grand holla!

Dub MD: Can you tell us a little about 7 Grand Records? Do you have any artists we need to lookout for?
Guru: 7 Grand Records is beyond a record label, it’s a movement! When I speaking earlier on the fact that the intelligent listeners are tired of being force fed and are looking for more 7 grand is the place to come to get more, to get stimulated and to get that mental elevation that they need and so forth, it’s a beautiful thing. For those who wanna know more, like i said holla on the myspace pages, they’ll be information there for you, if you wanna join the movement for real!

Dub MD: Solar, how did you hook up with Guru?
Solar: We got together as friends little bit over 6 years ago and we just hit it off, we was running round New York on some grown man, getting in some trouble shit, enjoying the clubs, and the scene was pretty good back in then 2003 / 2004 it was a decent scene but at the same time, we seen what was being represented was right and exact and it wasn’t what the world was looking at New York for because you know what there is people with massive amounts of money all around the planet, the dollars not even doing good just now, so how you gonna brag about what you got when the dollar is slipping, there’s cats with way more money than we got and there not really interested in all this non sensicle lease cars and stupid looking porno broads and all this kind of nonsense, so me & guru seen this coming so we started 7 Grand to be the alternate to how they look right now, stuipid!

Dub MD: Guru, what do you think is your most defining and unique characteristic that sets you apart from every other emcee out there?
Guru: I would say my most defining and unique characteristic is my voice and my dedication to the art form and culture because I could went a whole different way with things and basically sold out for the big money as apposed to hanging in there and staying true and really keeping it real, (laughs) and that’s what its about, the fact I got the super producer down with me that’s like I got an arsenal with me now, it’s on and popping!

“I mean this is the first time in history that you have been saddled with one sound on radio 24 hours a day across the country, radio has never deteriorated to that level of stagnancy, its mentally stagnant, it’s like a puddle of rotten water”

Dub MD: Solar, what do you think is your most defining and unique characteristic that sets you apart from every other producer out there?
Solar: That’s a complicated question and that could really take up a whole article in its self, i don’t like to brag on myself and I don’t like to speak on my own talents like that, I’m just gonna say that I’m unique in all aspects from my name to the way I live and to really know how unique i am, you’d have to know people that know me personally because if you knew me personally then you’d know how the music and me the man, Solar, brings forward his individual style.

Dub MD: Guru, If you could describe yourself as an emcee in 4 words, What would they be?
Guru: To describe myself as an emcee in four words I would say Universal, Intelligent, Streetwise & Captivating, that means i can hold a crowd!

Dub MD: Guru, for your fans who haven’t seen you perform yet, are you planning a worldwide tour anytime soon?
Guru: We’ve been touring worldwide with Jazzmataz 4 since early June, If you haven’t seen it you decently gotta some to the show, the show is bananas, the energy level, the level of sonic perfection that you get, the shows produced by Solar, he put a lot into it, its incredible! I don’t wanna say to much coz I’ve if you haven’t seen it, it’s something that you need to see, one of the best Hip Hop shows on the planet! If you want more information check out the myspace pages and there will be more information on when we’ll be in a spot near you.

Dub MD: What is on tap for Guru & Solar for the rest of 2007/08 and beyond?
Guru: Got a lot of things on tap, got a new project coming up after Jazzmataz lookout for that. For the details like I said check the myspace page and you’ll find out what’s popping, its an incredible project, its as I said bananas, so stay tuned!

Solar: We’re on tour now, we’re definitely picking up on the rest of the world, you start a world tour all the way back beginning so we did all Europe, we did all United States, we just touched on Canada so we’re getting ready to pick up on the rest of the world, so touring is important. I’m in the studio right now finishing up projects, I’ve got my album coming 2008, Solar: 5000 Degrees & Burning, we got some other projects coming on 7 Grand, i’ll contunue to direct, I directed two videos “State Of Clarity” which is animated, also Guru & Slum Village track video so yeah i’m just creativing, being in my zone right now.

Dub MD: Do you have anything to say to the fans? anything you wanna get off your chest? any shout outs?
Guru: I wanna shout out all the fans, supporters, all the real heads, all those who love real Hip Hop, B-Boys, B-Girls (laughs), music lovers, connoisseurs, big up to everybody who’s been representing and holding it down for me, look for more in the future because it don’t stop, it’s flowing like water baby, i got the super producer with me and we taking it to new heights right now, that’s wassup, 7 Grand the movement!

Solar: Well i always say big up to the fans, my dudes, my real hip hop peoples out there and any females that are holding it down on the real Hip Hop tip, I mean I got love, 7 Grand’s got love, we support you wither you know we do or not, we’re out here fighting for you guys because just as much as you got Hip Hop there are those who will take it away from you. I mean this is the first time in history that you have been saddled with one sound on radio 24 hours a day across the country, radio has never deteriorated to that level of stagnancy, its mentally stagnant, it’s like a puddle of rotten water, you need to look for something fresh, you wanna live mentally, you wanna spiritually look to your leadership, Guru, Solar, 7 Grand the movement, big up, love, trust us, we got this!

Check out this Guru & Solar track from Jazzmataz Vol. 4 called “Cuz I’m Jazzy”, Right click & save as to download:
Guru – Cuz I’m Jazzy (feat. Slum Village) (Produced By Solar)

January 8, 2008 - Posted by | Interviews | , , ,

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