Guru and Solar: The New Dynasty
While the legacy of Gangstarr is one that will resonate throughout Hip Hop history, Guru and Solar have emerged as the new team to carry Hip Hop on their backs and bring it to the next level.
“I wanted to do something new; get a new sound. Reinvent myself; recreate.” – Guru
At first glance, the sight of Guru sharing a stage with someone other than Premier still carries some animosity, like witnessing musical adultery. Any true Hip Hop aficionado and/or fundamentalist mourned the final frontier of the two-man movement known as Gangstarr with fervor that surpassed the reaction to Nas pronouncing Hip Hop as dead years back. Gangstarr was responsible for clutching the torch from the “flower child” generation of Hip Hop through the “golden age” and beyond. Truly the untouchables, Gangstarr possessed a magic that translated from the studio to the stage. Whether it was Premo’s signature production style or Guru’s sharp lyrics – when even at his most simplistic moment made a lemonade reference a quotable- Gangstarr was our beacon of light that shone through even the darkest periods in Hip Hop history.
When rumors circulated about the dismantling of the dynamic duo, the news came as a shock to everyone but Guru. “It was around the time we recorded The Owners. I was just like, you know, this [Gangstarr] is reaching its peak,” Guru recalls. “I wanted to do something new; get a new sound. Reinvent myself; recreate.” And Guru did just that, eliminating all mental and chemical toxins, emerging in his best physical and spiritual shape ever…with a new partner-in-rhyme. Solar, a new-to-you producer, was a brother to the Gangstarr legacy for years. Serving as both a confidant and creative impetus for Guru, it was apparent that once Gangstarr gracefully bowed out, Solar would be the next of production-kin. There’s an obvious influence from his predecessors in Solar’s style, but dare we call it updated. Combine that with a living legend and the equation is flawless. Guru and Solar undoubtedly channel the familiar commercially viable but street-rugged sound of Gangstarr, only with obvious evolution and divine chemistry.
But with change comes unfavorable feedback, especially from those subjected to one side of Guru for so long. “We received a lot of negativity from the industry because Guru wanted a change. I think a lot of fans need to understand what goes on in a situation like [the breakup of Gangstarr],” states Solar. “The last Jazzmatazz, was [a Jazzmatazz album] but it wasn’t. It showed the direction that Guru wanted to go. For a lot of fans that are griping, I’m sayin’ think for a second. At least Guru remained true to Hip Hop, and true to his roots. The sound that I’ve brought with him is a winning combination.” Turning down multiple major labels, Guru opted to partner with Solar and started 7 Grand Records. If sold out shows and chart topping singles are any inkling as to the future of this independent venture, then this is more than just a change for Guru. It’s a continuation of history. Guru and Solar are gearing for what lies ahead: perhaps some well-deserved self-spoiling. “I’m on my way to buy a Mercedes,” laughs Guru. Solar continues, “Yeah, we’re gonna floss…but just a touch.”