Young Guru Talks Run-DMC's Influence, Working Relationship With Jay-Z
Young Guru waves off notions that he's a staple in Jay-Z's entourage, and recalls how working with Memphis Bleek locked him in as the Roc's key engineer.
Earlier this week Young Guru appeared on CNN Radio Music Notes. The experienced production engineer recalled doing events for local colleges like the University of Delaware and Delaware State. Young Guru enthusiastically describes how he got introduced to Hip Hop when the culture was beginning to take over in the late '70s and '80s.
“Rock Box” by Run-DMC was particularly influential. "Imagine the feeling of A Hip Hopper seeing Run-DMC on MTV; it was like oh my God these guys are gods,” Guru recalled.
Many of the earlier released Hip Hop records pushed him to discover samples and different elements of Rap. A sufficient amount of the samples were found in his father’s record collection.
When it came time to go to college Young Guru had to make a decision to take a basketball scholarship or pursue his music dreams. It was at Howard University that he befriended Sean “Diddy” Combs and got to see the inception of Bad Boy Records. Some of his first engineering gigs were landed in college. He eventually moved to New York and landed a session with then-Roc-A-Fella Records star Memphis Bleek. Bleek helped introduce Young Guru to his mentor, Jay-Z.
Young Guru did stress to CNN though, that his ties to Jay are much more artistic than some may assume. "People sometimes get that misconstrued," he said. "They think that I'm in Jay-Z's personal life. I have nothing to do with his personal life. You can ask me anything about his music, but I'm not with him in the morning when he wakes up. We don't eat breakfast together. We make music together."
Young Guru is currently working with Jay-Z on scoring the Great Gatsby soundtrack, educating people through the Georgia Tech Ear Sketch program and Grammy U’s Era of the Engineer lecture series.