Monthly Archives: June 2009

For The Record – The Alchemist

Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg interviews The Alchemist about his upcoming album “Chemical Warfare”.

New Joint – Frank Nitt / DJ Quik / J. Black

Frank Nitt ft. DJ Quik & J. Black – “L.O.V.E.” ( Delicious Vinyl / 2009 )

High Life – Keelay & Zaire

New EPK from producers Keelay & Zaire promoting their recently released album “Ridin’ High”.

Road To Release (Part Four) – Eternia / MoSS

“Live @ Lyricist Lounge” – Eternia continues to promote her forthcoming album “At Last” in this latest clip featuring Jeru The Damaja.

New Joint – Blaq Poet / MC Eiht / Young Malay

Blaq Poet ft. MC Eiht & Young Malay – “Ain’t Nuttin Changed – Queensbridge To California Remix” ( Year Round / 2009 )

Scratch Tutorial – DJ JS-1

JS-1 on “Live With Regis And Kelly”.

DJ JS-1’s album “Ground Control” is out now.

Down With The Kings – Crown Royale

Buff1 and DJ Rhettmatic discuss their upcoming Crown Royale project on HipHopOfficial.

New Joint – Mystro


Mystro – “Mess I Ever Had”

The UK rapper puts his own unique twist on Drake’s “Best I Ever Had” – Taken from DJ Shortee Blitz’s upcoming mix-CD “The Standard”.

Proceed – Black Thought

Black Thought at this year’s Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival.

BK All Day – NYOIL / Donny Goines

Backstage interviews with NYOIL and Donny Goines at this year’s Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival.

All For One (Part Two) – Grand Puba / Lord Jamar

More back-in-the-day Brand Nubian stories with Puba and Jamar.

Guru & Solar Interview (Originally Posted On BlackSheepMag.Com June 15th 2009)

guru & solar picture

Having already achieved independent success with projects such as 2005’s ‘Street Scriptures’ and the fourth instalment of the critically-acclaimed ‘Jazzmatazz’ series, former Gang Starr front-man Guru and his production partner Solar return with ‘Lost & Found’, a project grounded in the heritage of true hip-hop which also finds the duo seeking to push some creative boundaries.

Amidst a collapsing music industry, Guru and Solar’s 7 Grand imprint has continued to thrive, notching up combined sales figures of half-a-million for the label’s previous three releases. A relentless tour schedule has also seen the pair take their brand of hip-hop around the world, with both Guru and Solar keen to build a genuinely personal relationship with their fan base, something that doesn’t always appear to be high on the agenda of many of today’s artists.

Some 20 years after he first made his debut as a young, aspiring lyricist, Guru is still as passionate about his craft as ever, and with ‘Lost & Found’ the seasoned veteran is determined to play his part in helping to maintain the art form that has given him a career.

 What’s the concept behind the new album title ‘Lost & Found’?

Guru: “We’re approachable people and on our travels we always kick it with the fans and people in general, so we hear a lot about their feelings on hip-hop in terms of what they think it’s lacking right now and what it needs etc. So the idea behind the title is that hip-hop may have been lost in recent times, but it can be found here at our label 7 Grand. That’s why I said on the album’s title track, ‘Hip-hop’s been thrown in the lost and found, We got the claim ticket.’ 7 Grand is representing some solutions to what people think is wrong with this music.”

The album has quite a polished, contemporary feel to it in places compared to previous Guru / Solar projects – did you approach this album any differently in terms of production?

Solar: “I sat back and thought about what it would take to make a real hip-hop album in 2009 that could also appeal to people across the board and I think we’ve achieved that. But that said, what is a real hip-hop album in 2009? Is it something that sounds like it was made back in the golden-era or does it mean something else today? So I had to listen to the records that people are listening to today and kind of make a hybridisation of my idea of what real hip-hop is and the sounds that people are going to be comfortable with today that, like you said, are polished and contemporary, but not too polished and contemporary (laughs). I think ‘Lost & Found’ has all the components to make it a good, if not great, hip-hop album for 2009. Not for 1995, not even for 2005, but for now.”

The buzz track ‘Divine Rule’ has a real old-school feel to it and lyrically contains many references to New York in the 1980s. What was the energy like in NYC during that time?

Guru: “Well, we all know that back in the early days of hip-hop, cats used to rhyme over disco breaks. So when we started to put the track together we just started kicking it about that time and the more we talked the more I was like ‘Oh shit! Yeah! Do you remember that? Do you remember this?’ It really was a glorious time and the energy in New York was just phenomenal. Everything to me back in the 80s was like a mini movie. To go see a Bruce Lee flick on 42nd Street, or to go to Fordham Road in The Bronx or Fulton Street in Brooklyn, that was epic to me. Riding on the A train, or especially the J train and the real gully trains like that, those were epic moments to me.”

Solar: “A lot of people love the 90s, and I’m a big fan of the 90s too, but the 80s were no joke. There were a lot of dangerous neighbourhoods in New York back then, but that’s what made the shit fun back when we were young (laughs).”

Guru, on the album’s title track you describe yourself as being “slept-on”, which is something some fans may be surprised to hear you say considering your legendary status as an emcee. When you wrote that line, did you mean that the music you’re releasing now is being slept-on or did you also mean in terms of your wider contribution to hip-hop as part of Gang Starr?

Guru: “All of that. I mean, as much as people talk about my older stuff today, they weren’t really doing that back then, at least not to the point that some would have you believe. I mean, you’ve got to put yourself in my shoes, I’m sitting here today hearing what people say thinking ‘What the fuck is all the hoopla about?’ because I can remember sitting around while we were making those same records thinking ‘Those fuckers!’ when I would see certain ratings Gang Starr would get in different magazines.”

Solar: “I was a big fan of Gang Starr’s work, but I think part of the reason why people want to hold on to a certain era so much is because there’s not a lot of good music out there for them to latch onto today. So hopefully, if people give ‘Lost & Found’ a chance, they’ll find something they like. But a lot of people have come out aggressively against our records because of the box they want to put Guru in and that has hurt our sales and stopped those projects from being all they could be. But Guru and Solar lead with positivity, so we’ll just keep pushing and doing what we do. We respect everyone’s right to like or dislike our music, but all we ask is that people give our music a fair listen before they judge it.”

Solar is rhyming on the album as well as producing – how does that influence the creative dynamic between you both?

Guru: “For me it’s inspiring because as a team it takes us to new heights and opens up new creative opportunities. I always knew Solar had it like that with the rhymes, so it’s good to know the world is going to get to hear that now.”

Solar: “It gives us another level to collaborate on, not just in terms of me being able to rhyme, but also with Guru being a producer himself and having worked with some of the best producers in the game, it gives us both the ability to have a perspective on the whole creative process.”

What other projects are forthcoming on 7 Grand?

Solar: “K Born and Highpower are in the lab right now working on their album and I’m also working on my own album. We have a ton on our plate what with running a label and keeping our heads above water at this crazy time, so we’re just taking it one step at a time.”

Guru: “At 7 Grand we’re committed to preserving this hip-hop shit. We keep it real on so many levels and whilst our music may be intelligent, it always comes with that street credibility. We’re here to represent balance in the music.”

Ryan Proctor


Road To Release (Part Three) – Eternia / MoSS

“Live In Brooklyn” – Eternia continues to promote her forthcoming album “At Last” with some help from Milk Dee, Pharoahe Monch and Steele.

This Is The Remix! – Blaq Poet / DJ Premier

Behind-the-scenes of the video for Blaq Poet’s “Ain’t Nuttin’ Changed” remix.

New Joint – Marco Polo / Torae

Marco Polo & Torae – “Party Crashers” ( Duck Down / 2009 )

Taken from the album “Double Barrel”.

All For One (Part One) – Grand Puba / Lord Jamar

The Brand Nubian brothers talk about their early days together in the studio.

New Joint – Raekwon / M.O.P. / Kool G Rap

Raekwon ft. M.O.P. & Kool G Rap – “Ill Figures” ( E1 Music / 2009 )

Taken from the forthcoming album “Wu-Tang: Chamber Music”.

New Joint – Buff1

Buff1 ft. AB – “Real Appeal” (A-Side Worldwide / 2009 )

Taken from the album “There’s Only One”.

Road To Release (Part Two) – Eternia / MoSS

“The Set Up” – the second video blog promoting the forthcoming Eternia / MoSS album “At Last”.

New Joint – D. Rose / DJ Cozmos

D. Rose & DJ Cozmos – “Beautiful World” ( Soulspazm / 2009 )

Taken from the forthcoming album “Taster’s Choice”.