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Guru and Solar Bio (2008)
Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hip-Hop’s not dead. It’s just been in need of an upgrade. Legendary emcee Guru and super producer Solar, a teaming that has already produced three classic albums (Version 7.0: The Street Scriptures, Jazzmatazz Vol. 4 and The Timebomb / Back To The Future), have created that much needed upgrade with Guru 8.0 Lost and Found.

For Guru and Solar their upgrading of Hip-Hop started in 2004 when they launched 7 Grand Records and continued in 2005 when they released Version 7.0: The Street Scriptures. The album went on to be one of the best selling independent releases of the year. According to Guru, nearly four years after the release of that album it has become obvious that the game is in need of another boost. “It’s necessary to get upgrades to keep real Hip-Hop alive,” he explains, “and 8.0 represents that next level of growth.”

That next level of growth is illustrated in a raising of the bar, both lyrically and production-wise. According to Solar, “this is the next evolution of intelligent Hip-Hop, Hip-Hop on the next level.” He says that sonically he hasn’t just raised the bar, he’s taken the bar and blown it away. This is saying a lot as the beats on Guru 8.0 Lost and Found range greatly as Solar put his unique twist on a variety of styles. With everything he creates, however, there are two constants - they are all decidedly Solar tracks, and Guru rips over all of them with a skill and ferocity that even his most dedicated longtime fans will be impressed by.

Three examples of the diversity, both musically and lyrically, found on Guru 8.0 Lost and Found are the songs “Best Of My Years,” “Fast Lane” and “Divine Rule.” “Best Of My Years” has a classic Hip-Hop feel to it and features Guru rhyming about his relationship with emceeing. “Fast Lane” is a southern Hip-Hop inspired track that shows off Solar’s ability to take an established subgenre of Hip-Hop and rework it to make it his own. Stretching things out even further is “Divine Rule,” which is a throwback to Hip-Hop’s early beginnings when emcees used to rhyme over disco breaks. Guru speeds his flow up a notch for this song, proving he can still go toe to toe and flow to flow with anybody in the game.

Make no mistake, Guru 8.0 Lost and Found is Hip-Hop in its purest form. Guru is quick to point out that this album isn’t another edition of the Jazzmatazz series, saying “this is not Hip-Hop jazz, this is straight Hip-Hop, so lyrically you’re going to have that straight Hip-Hop element.” Solar adds the album is “indicative of Guru’s ability to command the Hip-Hop arena.” This is a big reason why they limited the number of guest appearances on Guru 8.0 Lost and Found as all but one are in-house, 7 Grand, artists. UK soul singer Omar is the lone non 7 Grand artist involved with the project. The others featured on the album are K. Born, Highpower, Doo Wop and the super producer himself, Solar, who makes his first ever appearance as an emcee, an appearance he calls a “natural evolvement of who I am.”

Much of the evolvement of both Solar and Guru has come from their time spent touring. The duo, who’ve spent each of the last two presidential elections (2004, 2008) overseas, spent most of 2008 on the road for the Timebomb / Back To The Future world tour and as Solar sees it, every time they travel they grow a little and that growth is reflected in their music. “When you see how Americans and America is looked at abroad and you see how other people are living in other countries, that’s reflected in the work and that gives the work that classic level that people are talking about and that’s something that I believe the major labels just haven’t been equipped to see. They just haven’t been able to tune in to something that deep, or that intelligent, they’re more in tune with other things.” He continued, adding “this is why you get a level of maturity and scope in our records that you’re not going to get from your average artist that’s just been invented and put out there.”

Lesser men would be burned out by such a schedule and lifestyle, but not these two, Solar thrives on it and Guru seems to be getting even stronger with age. He’s Hip-Hop’s version of Bernard Hopkins, the veteran boxer who is knocking people out. Solar is quick to note that Guru’s time in the game actually works as an advantage for him. He explains, “It’s been happening with important men in many other areas and this is another establishment of that in the realm of Hip-Hop and music. It’s something great and something above and beyond what men half his age are not able to accomplish.”

The latest great thing that Guru and Solar have accomplished is Guru 8.0 Lost and Found. It’s the upgrade Hip-Hop fans have been waiting for. “The concept of real Hip-Hop had gotten lost,” Guru explains, “but now it’s found again on this record.”

So if you’re tired of what passes for Hip-Hop on the radio right now, pop in Guru 8.0 Lost and Found and enjoy the upgrade.
posted by Adam Bernard @ 12:01 AM  
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