Exclusive: The Beantown legend tells DX about Lost And Found, and declares “Gang Starr is me.”
The first emcee to introduce the nation to Hip Hop from Boston, and founder of legendary rap group Gang Starr, Guru recently spoke with HipHopDX to share some details on his forthcoming third post-Gang Starr project (and eighth overall non-group release, including his four Jazzmatazz efforts), Guru 8.0 Lost And Found. The superb storyteller who authored gripping cautionary tales like “Just To Get A Rep,” and suavely showcased his player side on songs like the Jazz-Hop gem “Ex Girl To Next Girl,” also explained why he doesn’t need to keep talking about whether or not fans of these undisputed classic tracks, and the dozens of other standout selections he and former musical partner DJ Premier made together, will ever again hear new collaborations from one of Hip Hop’s most impressive tag teams.
Since Guru and Premier split roughly five years ago (for reasons that still remain unclear), following the release of Gang Starr’s sixth studio album The Ownerz, “Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal” has been churning out music with a new beat supplier, New York-based producer Solar. The new pair are now preparing to release their latest unified effort, the follow-up to 2007’s Version 7.0: The Street Scriptures.
“Hip Hop’s been lost - especially East Coast, New York, intelligent, fly Hip Hop,” Guru explained to DX of the meaning behind the title for he and Solar’s new offering, Lost And Found. “It’s been lost for awhile. And instead of us calling it dead, or just talking about what it needs or what it’s missing, we’re providing the solution and the answer. So, let’s say Hip Hop is in the lost and found, and we’ve got the claim ticket so to speak.”
A continuation of the sound found on The Street Scriptures, Guru’s latest is a more straight ahead Hip Hop project, as opposed to the more experimental fusion sound found on his Jazzmatazz outings.
“It’s not an album about cars and bling when Wall Street has been flushed,” added Solar, regarding the disc’s subject matter. “We’re still in a world war situation, so this is not an album that disconnects from reality.”
Lost And Found will boast cameos from various artists signed to Guru and Solar’s 7 Grand label (including K. Born and Highpower), as well as legendary deejay Doo Wop and U.K.-based soul singer Omar, who will appear on the album alongside Guru and Solar (who will also be blessing the mic this go-round).
The lead single from the album (with accompanying video directed by Solar), “Divine Rule,” is due to drop shortly. But any discussion with Guru on what music he is currently working on will inevitably lead from his present back to his past.
“So why don’t we do this, why don’t we just skip that [discussion] and I’ll just say I am Gang Starr,” he replied when asked to address the elephant in the room. “Gang Starr is me. And it comes out in whatever I do, to the fullest. 7 Grand is the future. Guru and Solar are those intelligent, creative leaders that Hip Hop needs right now, and will be needing… It’s your favorite rapper, the legendary, combined with NYC’s brightest producer. That’s what it’s about.”
“I would say both,” Guru replied when further asked if his pairing with Solar is eliciting disdain or simply confusion from the buying public who are used to hearing him rock over Premo productions. “But the hate comes more from within the industry, ‘cause there’s a lot of stubborn dudes that are just lost in the industry, which is why the industry needs a revival. But 7 Grand’s got loads of fans. Our concerts are sold out worldwide... This is that creative control that I always wanted as an artist. We are ‘The Ownerz.’ Solar and I are real owners. Instead of a concept, this is real.”
Fretting fans of Gang Starr, who are by and large still adjusting to hearing the Boston emcee without the sonic support of his Texas-born beatmaker/deejay, need not worry according to Solar, as he confidently explained, “Any icon of Guru’s caliber or standards can bring in an album on his own.”
Guru 8.0 Lost And Found is due in stores this June on 7 Grand Records.