Three years after the horrible allegations that followed veteran emcee Guru of the legendary Gangstarr Foundation to his grave, 7 Grand Records CEO Solar speaks out.
Amid the celebration of Guru’s timeless music at this time, from his glory days with Gangstarr to his international recognition from Jazzamatazz, rumors continue to haunt the legacy of this Boston born/Brooklyn bred legend. After Guru’s unpublicized split with DJ Premier to form his own label, 7 Grand Records, Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal joined forces with Solar, a virtually unknown producer. Guru not only made some of his final tracks with the Bed Stuy, BK boardsmith, but also left his entire music library in the sole control of Solar to the dismay and sideeye of many.
In an exclusive multi-part interview with TheSource.com, Solar speaks candidly about why he got so much backlash from the public after the rumors and his thoughts as to what caused the break up between one of the greatest in Hip Hop history.
TheSource.com : As the CEO of 7 Grand Records, what exactly do you mean when you say that you are organizing Guru and Gangstarr’s catalog?
Solar: First and foremost, organizing the catalog is no simple task. It’s fairly complex and what made the job even more complex was that my intention is to follow Guru’s wishes to the letter. You know, he left me with that responsibility and it’s certainly not a responsibility I would even dream of taking lightly and that was to have all of his music team in accordance, Gangstarr, Jazzmatazz, and Seven Grams in the catalog. The next thing, the driving force was to organize it as such and present it to the public in its entirety, not divided into factions that would at some point turn against each other. That was never his intentions with his music. So that’s what I’ve been working on. Presenting, representing the catalog in that light that it all goes together one way shape or another. Not meaning that the fans will like all of the music equally because obviously it’s very diverse. Gangstarr as its own super brand, hip hop super group Jazzmatazz is so eclectic and intelligent and represented a level of genius that quite honestly I don’t believe has been seen in hip hop. And I think it puts Guru in a stature of the greats. The Jimi Hendrix, the John Lennons, we can go on and on, the Bob Marleys. And it’s only by looking at the catalog in that light that you’re going to see Guru in his greatness. If you try to faction it off you don’t get the whole picture of the artist and to see it at another phase and life you bring along the Seven Grand catalog that’s when it really becomes amazing. And then the Seven Grand catalog, that’s where you see really the maturity, the growth of the man, the genius, the artist to the point where he was able to do music that was free of the major label gene. Much of the criticism that’s been heaped on the shoulders of now myself, but when Guru was here, the both of us, was that we were making music that didn’t sound like Gangstarr. And it was Jazzmatazz at the next level and that was always intended so we didn’t apologize for that because that was the whole idea. To try to make Gangstarr all over again was just ridiculous and offensive quite honestly. So he was very happy in that role. It’s his most adventurous music and like I said in the light of any great artist you’re going to have fans embrace it all, you’re going to have fans that like this portion of the catalog or that portion but the whole idea is to mature. The whole catalog is now available to all the fans who have followed Gangstarr, Guru, Jazzmatazz. For fans who have followed Jazzmatazz. And now the younger fans that are starting to realize, hey this Guru guy was really important.
TheSource.com: How did it come that you solely acquired the Gangstarr catalog.
Solar: Well it’s not that I’ve acquired the Gangstarr catalog. I’ve taken up the responsibility to promote the catalog. What happened is in the interim of it is there hasn’t been an effort a concerted effort to bring the catalog forward for various reasons. So it’s not that I’ve acquired it habit I do have an interest in all the catalogs that Guru left to me that he wanted me to have. But no I haven’t acquired the catalogs as such. But I am taking are in making sure that the catalog is presented properly in the light of the shit he presented. In the light of any other artist like I said that’s come along in our time you don’t want to look at any other part as not even. I’m not taking a position that this part of the catalog is most important or that part is less important. I see the whole catalog as most important.
TheSource.com: In terms of the Gangstarr catalog, have you reached out to Premier or vice versa in terms of promoting and preserving this catalog?
Solar: Yes I have and I believe as far as I know he’s doing his role as he sees fit. We don’t communicate on that level or haven’t communicated as such.
TheSource.com: Have you communicated on any level?
Solar: We’ve communicated by channels, not at the level that fans would like to see and I would like to see. Those avenues have not been open. I don’t know, its just a lot of air between us that hasn’t been bridged. Like I said, I’ve reached out and that’s all I can do is reach out. From the very beginning I reached out and basically it’s hard to speak on things without keeping it 100 so I’m just going to keep it 100. Nobody said anything about them slandering this man who couldn’t defend himself or accusing me of things that are ridiculous. Decisions were made and the chips fell where they fell and everybody knows. So without going back into all of that, the branch was always out there from the very beginning to do it right, keep it 100 and be honest about things. Sometimes people fall out of favor with other people. It’s a part of life. That’s it. Once a man’s not here, show him the respect that he earned while he was here. To try to take away his respect and his legacy because of things that happened while he was alive…to me, to attack a man after he’s dead, that’s cowardice. In order for that air to be bridged, it had to be an owning up to what’s been done in order to move forward.
TheSource.com: So what is it that you feel that had been done that needs to be owned up to and by whom?
Solar: In my opinion, I think just an honest assessment of why there was an attack on Guru’s wishes and his last will and testament when you had no part in that, that’s first and foremost. That’s everybody’s right. There is nobody in America who doesn’t have the right to leave their last will and testament to who they feel to make a last statement in their life and there was nobody else that was going to do that but Guru or me under those circumstances. Now whether you like it or don’t like it, trying to say I made all of this up, is foolishness. Not saying you can’t do it, because obviously its being done. This man can’t come and settle this. He’s the only one, as far as the public would be concerned, that they would listen to as far as the rumors are concerned. I’m right and exact as far as the legal aspects of it. I’m the person that Guru left in charge and I’m legally in charge and they knew that from the very beginning. They were told that by their attorneys and everybody else. Those were Guru’s wishes and if they would’ve left it at that and presented it to the public the way that Guru wanted it go be presented, I think everybody could’ve owned up and said, ‘Hey, this happens.’ It happens in families where two family members aren’t speaking and somebody passes. It happens everyday. Just look at any talk show. That person who didn’t get a chance to make up with that person who passed is left with that burden. They can’t blame that on me. I have nothing to do with that. It’s not my role. It’s not my place. They need to make that happen or not make that happen and that was that man’s decision. Guru’s a great man, a great genius, and all the rights as any other person in this world and does what he sees fit as his life was concerned. I know the things that went on. I understand what led to the break up of Gangstarr. I understand the millions of dollars that got stolen from Guru that are unaccounted for. I understand the violence that was perpetrated against Guru, where his life was almost taken in Queens under very questionable circumstances. I understand Guru’s concerns when he sees other people dead…murdered around this guy and nobody’s asking questions. Who murdered Big L? Who murdered Headquarterz? These are things that this man would’ve had to address with Guru in order for their situation to be right. As you know, I came out of this the bad guy. The finger is being pointed at me with all types of lies and accusations and slander that’s ridiculous. Right now, with my lawyers, I’m looking for the owners of fucksolar.com. These dudes are hiding like roaches.
TheSource.com: So when you’re saying this guy, you’re speaking on Premier?
Keep checking TheSource.com for Part 2 to the exclusive interview with Solar.
-Sha Be Allah(@KingPenStatus)