web stats
 

MP3 Exclusives
New Arrivals

  Alt-Country
Alternative
Blues
Electronic
Jambands
Jazz
Metal
Pop
Punk
R&B
Rap/Hip Hop
Reggae
Rock
  Top Downloads
Features Archive
Contests
Control Panel
MUSICBLITZ Alert!
  BLITZMart
METALBLITZ
REGGAEBLITZ
BLUESBLITZ
Musician's Friend
  Alt-Country
Alternative
Blues
Electronic
Jambands
Jazz
Hip Hop
Metal
Pop
Punk
R&B
Reggae
Rock
  Getting Started
Free Players

Welcome ! 
 


(While Guru schools you, peep Gang Starr's "1/2 & 1/2 (feat. M.O.P.)")

More than a decade ago, he helped bring the bebop to hip-hop. So you figure a guy that pulled off a pairing that unlikely would have no trouble giving the rap world a shot of Streetsoul. You'd be right.

"Things were very calculated and focused on this album," says Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal -- that's Guru to you. "I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and I went in and did it."

What Guru did was round up an A-list of superstar R&B divas (Erykah Badu, Macy Gray and Angie Stone), plus old heads like Herbie Hancock and Isaac Hayes and hot hip-hop producers like the Neptunes to make Streetsoul, one of the slickest fusions of rap, jazz and soul in recent memory. It's the third album in Guru's Jazzmatazz series, and the one he says he's always wanted to make "since I got started."

Guru (Keith Elam) and his trusty partner, DJ Premier (Christopher Martin) came into the game as Gang Starr in at the start of the '90s, when the music was "all James Brown samples and '70s funk," as Guru recalls. Premier's stunning soundscapes brought the sound of jazz to hip-hop, and Guru's stern, complex rhyming made albums like 1991's Step in the Arena classics. But Guru worried about being limited by the jazz-hip-hop label the media slapped on the group's work. "I knew the label would hurt Gang Starr, and Preem and I needed space to do solo projects anyway," he says. "So I said, 'You know what? Yeah, we were pioneers of this sound. And now I'm gonna take it to the next level. I'm gonna get vocalists, I'm gonna get real jazz artists I've always wanted to work with, and we're gonna make an album'."

And so he did, rounding up vocalists like old college classmate N'dea Davenport and jazz stars like trumpeter Donald Byrd for the first Jazzmatazz outing. Dropped in '94, it was a hip-hop landmark, and Guru followed it up the next year with Vol. 2: New Reality. And after a five-year hiatus, he figured it was time for the third installment. He dubbed the result Streetsoul -- an attempt to shake the jazz tag for something catchier. Maybe being a dad -- a subject he tackles on the to-my-son tune "Guidance" -- has lightened up the serious Guru. Despite a hectic interview schedule, he was in an easygoing mood as he tackled some Musicblitz Q&A via phone from the Big Apple.

So what I hear is, you really racked up the frequent flier miles putting together Streetsoul.
Yeah. I made the decision from the drop that I was gonna try to work with a lot of different people again, but this time I was gonna go where they were at. That made it more comfortable for them, you know what I'm sayin', rather than have them all try to come in here. So I ended up going to Dallas to work with Erykah Badu, I ended up going to Philly to work with the Roots. I just figured, if they're more comfortable, we'll get a better result, and I think that's what happened. People really put their souls into this.

One of the things that seems to have changed this time out is that there's more R&B than actual jazz. And some people have commented that it seems like you went for a more commercial sound, having people like Macy Gray on the record. You even describe it as a "calculated" album.
Nah, I can't even say what's a commercial record, really. What I can say is that the way people reacted to these tracks let me know that this was gonna be a strong album. I mean, I sent a tape of "Keep Your Worries" to Angie Stone, and the next day, she calls me on the cell phone and she's singin' the hook! The same thing happened with the song the Neptunes did for Macy Gray ("All I Said'). Things like that was crazy!

Besides the current stars, you also hooked up with Ike (Isaac Hayes) for a tune. What was it like to have him walk into the studio for your album?
Ike, man. He walked into the studio with a fine woman on each arm. He was straight pimpin' (laughs). But you know, at first, we just took a day and kicked it. Just talked. Didn't do nothin'. I just tried to get a feel for things.

1 | 2   

 

|   Privacy Policy   |   Company   |   Contact    |   Press    |   Jobs    |
1999-2001
MUSICBLITZ. All right reserved.