The Source EXCLUSIVE: Solar Speaks Out Three Years After The Death Of Guru (Part 2)

gurusolarThree 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.

In this second installment of TheSource.com exclusive interview with Solar, producer and partner of late rap legend Guru, the emcee’s “successor” goes into what and who he feels is the real reason for the Gangstarr split, his solitary assistance to Guru in his last days, and what plans he has for Guru’s catalog in the future.

TheSource.com: When you say “This Guy”, you’re speaking about Premier?

Solar: Just Guru and Premiers issues in the public presentation of Guru passing and all of the slander and accusations and the problems that went on. That’s something that was between, that’s right, Premier and Guru. That’s where all of the clouds, so to speak, came over the lake rather than it be a clean passing that he deserved, to be able to pass and move on. Instead all of this is hurting his legacy and shitting on his name when this man isn’t even here to defend himself and there’s only one source where this is coming from; from Premier’s blog and from his website and from him personally. All these accusations against me were just baseless.

TheSource.com: Those are some serious accusations. Sexual assault. People are saying that you forced him to into signing and making these decisions.

Solar: Exactly, and that’s where it becomes just absolutely ridiculous. And in light of what I said, Guru and Premier, they weren’t together. They didn’t speak. They weren’t on speaking terms on any level whatsoever so to even try to say what Guru wanted, we were like brothers. I was with him throught the whole cancer situation. From the time he was diagnosed to the time he passed, I was there. Every hospital stay, I was there. I was there with him every day at the hospital. You know? He was my brother and I was with him through the parts where we were hopeful where we were hoping he could beat the cancer and through the times when he wasn’t. But again when somebody makes all these slanderous accusations about a man that’s not here, all I can do is what I’ve done and vehemently deny it and say this is nonsense, this is crazy. But in the absence of Guru being able to come forward and answer that, that’s just what it becomes. And on the flip side of that legally none of these things are foundable or have been foundable. All they’ve managed to do was slander a great man and slander a great man’s work and of course throw dirt on my name and my situation when I did nothing wrong. I had nothing to do with all of their problems that nobody’s bothered to ask Premier about. Nobody’s bothered to ask him what went on. Why Gangstarr really broke up. What went on with Guru feeling uncomfortable with all these murders happening in the Gangstarr camp and headquarters with Big L and the police investigation asking Guru what he knew about the murder. These are all things that made Guru very uncomfortable. Understandably so. And then there was a murder attempt on Guru’s life. Nobody’s asked him or went into these things that would easily drive a wedge in any two people.

TheSource.com: You said there was an attempted murder on Guru?

Solar: Back in late 2000 out in Queens, in the desert. He was ambushed and almost assassinated and these are all things that will come out eventually in the book, or the movie. These are the things that left the cloud. None of this came out. All they started doing was throwing around crazy accusations that Guru couldn’t obviously defend and all I could say is this was not the case. You know, none of this was being said while Guru was alive. All I can do is defend my brothers legacy and defend him. Nobody else stepped up to defend him. These people haven’t tried to defend him but at the same time you want to go out. How you gonna rep the man’s legacy and catalog when you throwing dirt on the man’s legacy and catalog? That’s a question mark. what I’m doing is pure. I’ve never thrown any dirt on Guru’s catalog. I’ve never thrown any dirt on Guru. I’ve never thrown any dirt on anybody. So I’ve represented it the way Guru would have wanted it represented.

TheSource.com: There have been people who have taken public shots at you. Whether it be on records, it almost seems the scandal has overshadowed Guru’s legacy. How do you feel about that?

Solar: I feel sad. I feel terrible, when neither guru nor I have done anything to merit that. All of this as far as I can see, as soon as they seen guru was on his way out they went right in with the lies and the slander. You know in this Hip Hop game, you can say anything, you can do anything and there’s no real reparation. And that’s what they did. And you know what I did, I went and I tried to keep it as smooth as I could without taking it to a whole other level which could’ve been done. But I answered it intelligently. So like I said this is the Hip Hop game. You know like I know there’s always been that element where situations can turn much bigger than what they should’ve been.

TheSource.com: Yeah, sensationalized.

Solar: Like in the west coast an east coast where you can have a whole coast of people ready to kill each other over some beef between two men.

TheSource.com: Now tell me about that. Have you had people actually threaten your life or come at you? Have you had any situations go down over this shit?

TheSource.com: No, not at all. I haven’t had anything of the sort. I’m a born and raised New Yorker and you know as they say certain things only God can speak on. So not at all. It is what it is. I come and go as I see fit. Never had a problem, anywhere at anytime. But like I was saying, the sensationalization of it just took on a life of it’s own without me adding any fuel to the fire, it just took off. Every day there was some crazy headline that had no base or reality but this was the angle that they took and that was the angle that the media responded to and understandable because that’s the kind of situation that were in unfortunately. But once you kind of let that cat out the bag it seems to me from my perspective without doing anything without adding onto it at all because I didn’t. I didn’t milk it. I didn’t try to keep it going. I just stepped away from it. It was like a fire that was out of control.

TheSource.com: Are you now sole CEO of Seven Grand Records?

Solar: Yeah I was sole CEO once Guru knew before he passed. Once Guru knew that the cancer was going to be fatal, we handled all of our business. We got all our lawyers together and we handled it properly.

TheSource.com: Will his catalog be extended?

Solar: Yeah Postumous music that he recorded at some point will be released for sale to the public. Some of it is going to be released just basically let people get a listen to some of it. There’ll be some stuff released over the next few weeks that will be accessible. But you know the whole idea again going back, we all know that anyone who has a half a wit in their head knows that if any of that were true, I’d be doing interviews from jail.

Check out TheSource.com for part three of the exclusive Solar interview.

-Sha Be Allah(@KingPenStatus)

Look of the Week: LES (ART)ISTS 2013 T-Shirt Collection

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LES (ART)ISTS‘ tees are made in France but inspired by American football jerseys. Some of the most influential people of our time like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Yeezy and Jay-Z — are included in the tees, providing playful tributes to some of the creative industry’s best and brightest.

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Roger Krastz
@walldoe

Three Years After Guru’s Passing The Source Reflects On His Career

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The 3 year anniversary of Guru’s passing

It has been just three short years since Gang Starr’s founder Guru (born Keith Elam) passed away. On April 19th, 2010 Guru lost a battle with cancer that lasted over a year. His partner in crime was DJ Premier. The Gang Starr catalog is well respected in the hip hop community, specifically Moment of Truth and Daily Operation. Guru and DJ Premier played a major role in the New York underground rap in the 90’s although both hailed from two separate cities.

Guru, a Boston native, helped pioneer that intricate New York Rap sound that became so revered. His Jazzmatazz series, spanning from 1993 to 2007, was a great compilation of Jazz infused beats laced with verses from him featuring artists like Damian Marley, Erykah Badu, Angie Stone, MC Solar, and Pharrell. It is truly one of the best collections of Jazz Rap in history.

Guru was a consummate professional on and off the mic. He held a degree from Morehouse College where after he pursued a graduate career at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. He was close to his son K.C. Elam, which he addressed in a letter to his fans close to his passing while in a hospital bed. It is unimaginable that Guru was slept on as an artist. We at The source miss him and wish he still lives in all hip hop fans memories.

Virgilio Mendez
@REGULARGUYV

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Caught You Slippin’: 10 Crazy & Weird Rapper Hairstyles

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The majority of the time, rappers usually have their sh*t together. Unfortunately, as evidenced by that picture of Trinidad James front row at the Hawks game, sometimes they slip up. This is a quick showcase of ten rappers who just didn’t remember to consult with someone before they left the house.

-Khari Nixon (@KingVanGogh)

20 Magazine Covers Featuring Hip Hop Artists

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Check out hip hop artists holding cover duties in other national & international publications.

In light of Jay-Z covering the most recent Time magazine “100 Most Influential People In The World” issue, we at the source have compiled a list of hip hop artists who have covered non hip hop publications in the past. Like Mr. Carter, their music has stretched beyond the realm of hip hop and entered the national stream of consciousness. Hip Hop’s elite have been featured on a number of magazines throughout the years, without a doubt in anyone’s mind hip hop holds weight in American pop culture and its global influence is bar none.

Virgilio Mendez
@REGULARGUYV

The Tupac Hologram: One Year Later

The 2Pac hologram that made its debut at the Coachella festival one year ago. It still begs the question: Is it okay to recreate an artists’ likeness for our own benefit?
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In issue 253 we looked at one of the hottest stories of 2012… the Tupac Hologram. One year later we remember the infamous “What the f$#k is up Coachellaaaaaa!!!!” line.

—From Issue 253—

Those were the first words the world heard from deceased rapper Tupac Shakur at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival since his untimely death in 1996. The legendary MC left behind millions of fans that turned to pre-recorded songs and posthumous guest appearances to keep his legacy alive over the years. Though Rick Ross had declared ‘2Pac Back’ in 2011, Coachella really brought him back. Despite the fact that the hologram has been used numerous times before, it was Tupac Shakur’s HD virtual reflection that became the talk of the town. In 2001, Hollywood used holography to impose a then lifeless John Coltrane in the movie ‘Vanilla Sky’ portraying the jazz saxophonist as entertainment for a room full of preoccupied partygoers. The pop band Gorillaz sent their holograms to perform ‘live’ at the Grammy Awards in 2006. And Mariah Carey, Elvis Presley, Black Eye Peas, among others, have all had holograms created in their absence. In Japan, where anime graphics are light years ahead of the U.S., there is even a fictional hologram performer Hatsume Miku, whose party music and penciled-in looks sell out venues housing 20,000 people.

In the case of Hologram 2Pac (who even surfaced on Twitter a day later), a trick called “Peppers Ghost” (the reflection of an image that is projected on a Mylar screen which has also been used in countless movies) was used. The price of these projections are currently anywhere from $100,000 to $400,000, but with the rapid change and advance in technology, consumers could soon have 3D projections in their own living rooms for a much lower price tag.

“I think they honored him. I thought it was amazing and showed where technology is going,” says fashion specialist and longtime Tupac fan, Kiahnni Frierson. “Some people say let the dead rest, but at the end of the day most of these young artists look up to him. Internationally. I thought whether it was real or not, it felt good to see him onstage, because I miss him.”

Eclectic artists such as jazz musician Miles Davis, Prince, Andre 3000 and even DOOM often implicate their own rules when creating and deciding when and how they will share their music. Most musicians mature over the course of their career span. Is it fair to screenshot someone from the era you see fit? Or, do we give the fans what they want even when the musician is passed on?

“I had mixed emotions when I was watching it,” says West Coast-based MC Crooked I. “It was kind of dope because it reminds of Pac…but it’s not him. It was dope and sad at the same time. You know why? [Because] it was a hologram. It was good to see Pac onstage, but it wasn’t Pac.”

Although some people were pleasantly surprised by the Tupac projection, there are others who felt it tainted the artistry, or some who were just plain ol’ creeped out by it. This raises the ultimate question, Who can do what with the artists’ image in the event of their death?

Graphic companies who plan on re-enacting their own holograms should seek

permission from the estate, right of copyright, and information on right of publicity and false sponsorship and false endorsement.

“I wouldn’t mind it happening to me because that only means I left a dent in the game enough for them to want to bring me back. But if I’m still living, I’m against it. I don’t want to see a younger version of me up there,” Crooked I laughs. “It might be that way soon. What happens when the whole crowd is a hologram? What happens when nobody is going to crowds physically?”

– From Issue 253.
Words By Courtney Brown

8 Songs That Will Fill Your Appetite

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Earlier this week Rockie Fresh celebrated his Birthday by releasing a track entitled “Panera Bread.” The cut features Rick Ross and will be featured on Rockie’s forthcoming mixtape The Birthday Tape due next week.

Now for those who have been living under a rock and don’t know about Panera Bread food chain, then you should do yourself a favor and head to the closest Panera Bread in your area and try out their Bacon Turkey Bravo, and since we are on the topic of food thanks to Rockie, we decided to make a list of 10 songs that are sure to fill your appetite and that you would probably find in a Panera Bread kitchen.

Roger Krastz @walldoe

Flying Lotus Talks J. Dilla, His New Short Film, and “Until The Quiet Comes”

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As a performer, Flying Lotus knows how to get a crowd going. He’s constantly bobbing his head to his electrifying beats and swinging his arms as he uses his mixer in between hits from a joint thrown to him by an audience member. Flying Lotus is a large presence on stage.

Once the lights dim and he’s stepped off stage, Flying Lotus becomes Steven Ellison. His all black attire accentuates his mysterious persona, however upon sitting down with him, it is evident that he is a genuine guy that simply loves producing music.  Steven Ellison is a pensive man with a bright smile and an even brighter future.

Steven, aka Flying Lotus, will release his fourth album, entitled Until the Quiet Comes, on October 2nd. In preparation for his album release, Flying Lotus teamed up with Khalil Johnson to produce a short film, and spoke with me about the making of the short film, future work with Erykah Badu, and what may surprise fans about Until the Quiet Comes.

 

You dropped a short film today, until the quiet comes, a little preview of that, had 3 of your songs on there. Can you break it down for me a bit?

When it came to that film, I put a lot of trust in the filmmaker, Khalil Joseph. He’s, I think he’s a genius, I was just like look, whatever he wants, you just have to do it, you just have to trust the man. Khalil wanted to shoot in Nickerson Garden because of the kind of stuff you get there. It’s gold. You don’t have to dress anything. The magic happens on the set with him.

 

What’s the significance of the J.Dilla shirt?

As far as the J.Dill t-shirt, it was one of those questions like, what are we gunna put him  in? what is he gunna wear? I thought it was cool to rep Dilla. It was funny because we almost didn’t have the shirt. It was like nah that might be too much, or just too close, so maybe not. But in the end, it made it, and I’m glad it did because I thought the kind of poetic vibe of the video, and that t-shirt, it had elements of me, lots of different things and ideas that I’m into, without it being blatant and obvious. There was a lot of subtlety and strength in his work.

 

You tweeted that the helicopter and ambulance we just there, was that really a coincidence?

Yeah, right where we were shooting there was some shit that happened like right when that car made that left. There’s some shit that happened right there when we were shooting stuff. All that stuff was really natural and part of the atmosphere, and I’m sure that’s probably why khalil wanted to shoot in Nickerson garden because of the kind of stuff you get there. It’s gold. You don’t have to dress anything

 

How did you choose the three songs that were gunna be on there?

I didn’t, that was khalil’s thing. He had the album, I told him he could do whatever he wanted.

 

Questlove hit you on twitter saying the short film was “nothing short of amazing”.  What’s it like getting feedback like that?

It’s great. With him, I specifically reached out was like “look,  man, you gotta to see this thing. I know it’ll be up your alley”.  You know, there’s some people that might not get it, but I was like “quest will fuck with this thing”.  I’m just so glad that people responded the way that they hoped they would to it, and didn’t try to see it as anyone trying to glorify a situation like that, you know, Where there’s violence in the hood with kids and gang bangin’ and shit.. It didn’t feel like we glorified it at all. I felt like it was a surreal, but very real, kind of feeling and sentiment that was left at the end.

 

So you dropped this short film as sort of a preview of your album, Until The Quiet Comes, which drops at the beginning of October. What’s gunna surprise us about this album?

It’s going to surprise people because I think that some people had this idea that with my last album, because it was such a big bold statement, that I’d be trying to make a huge, uber humongous record, but instead I was like imma pull back and do something more minimal and a little bit more meticulous in that way but not so in your face with everything. So, I think it might surprise people that it’s actually quieter than the last thing that they heard.

 

The first single you dropped was with Ms. Badu, rumor has it that you’re going to be producing an entire album for her in the future. Is that true?

Well, at the time we recorded that song, that was actually supposed to be for that project. We haven’’t really talked about working much lately. So, I don’t know. I’m still down to do it if she is, but I don’t know where she’s at with stuff.  I think she’s kind of like, in her own universe of traveling and making things on her own.

 

You had commented that the song you’re doing with Beck had been on your computer for a couple of years. What’s your process like for giving people songs?

It’s weird because there’s a lot of songs like that where there’s these collaborations that happen, or there’s these tracks that just don’t get finished and get left on my computer because I’m excited about something else. It’s really difficult when there’s not really a specific home for it. When I was making the album, I was like, the beck song aint gunna work on the album, so I’m not gunna think about it and I’m gunna worry about the songs that are on the record. I don’t really have a home for it yet, so it’s not my priority. It’s a good song, but I just don’t know where it’ll fit in the musical universe. Maybe I’ll put out another EP or something next year, that could work, we’ll see.

 

You’re touching on a whole lot of  genres. You’re working with Beck, Erykah Badu, Schoolboy Q, and some of Odd Future. Why do you find it important to work with so many different genres.

I think it’s just what I’m into. It’s not necessarily something I feel is important, it’s just exciting for me because I like Beck, I like Odd Future. It’s not necessarily because they have names or anything, it’s just because I’m a fat. I get to work with people who I admire. That’s one of the blessings that comes with having done this for a while. You kinda get on people’s radar that you admire.

 

Do you have a favorite genre?

No… probably rap though. I mean, I grew up with it, that’s when I fell in love with music. I mean in ’93 I was listening to Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. I think I fell in love with rap. So that’s where I’m from. I love everything. I was probably listening to Stravinsky then too.

 

If we were to get a hold of your computer, iTunes, what would surprise us?

Maybe the classical stuff. Maybe some of the death metal. You’d be like “whaaat” you have death metal on there?

 

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Denounce Art of War 3, Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, Influence, & More

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All five members of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony sit down with Emily Berkey to denounce their alleged album, Art of War 3, and clear up rumors about the track listing

After a brief break in their day filled with meet and greets and sound check, all five of the thugs, decked out in Bone Thugs-n-Harmony gear, leave their Downtown Seattle hotel and head to their first show of two for the night. Wanting to give back to all of their fans, they’ve added another show after the first one sold out so quickly.  As Will.i.am and Britney blast over the radio in their crowded Explorer, the men talk about how they’re going to pace themselves for the night. Bottles of Hennesy will not be opened until after their first show, and Redbull will be necessary. The men are concerned with giving their fans the best shows the can. Even if this means the men of Bone Thugs won’t be able to indulge.

They’ve slipped away to the green room. A windowless room filled with Redbull and bottled water. The room is slowly filling with cigarette smoke as dispensary owners show the thugs their latest goods. Somehow, fans, male and female alike, have slipped backstage and are standing around, watching the men of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony in awe. The humble five-some welcome these strangers with open arms, and sign gear for them. The five never turn a cold shoulder to their supporters, or speak a harsh word to thirsty females. “Some of these women want attention, some of them just want to have fun”, states Sloan Bone.

As eyes lower and the crowd upstairs gets louder, the men join together in prayer, circled up, hands in the center, led by Flesh, who encourages his daughter and her mother to join in. The first show of the night lasts over an hour and a half. The thugs provide what feels like an intimate show to a sold out Seattle crowd.

The first show ends and the thugs go their separate ways. Flesh leaves in a taxi while the other four leave in the Expedition driven by their manager, Jamie Adler. The hotel is their destination. An hour of rest is all they get before their next and final show on the Northwest leg of their 20th Anniversary Tour.

As Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s 18 hour day filled with a meet and greet, sound check, and two shows finally comes to a close, I am able to sit down with all five of the Bone Thugs for an interview. Check in with The Source over the next five days to hear what they had to say…

Emily Berkey: You’ve been working on your newest album, Art of War 3

 

Layzie Bone: No!

Flesh-N-Bone: No, no, objection!

Layzie Bone: Let me clear that up, cause there’s been a misconception. We were dealing with a company that me, Bizzy, and Flesh was working on the album with and they put it on the internet saying that they had a five man Bone Thugs-N-Harmony album called Art of War 3 and that’s totally not true. What we’re working on is the 20 Year Anniversary project, which is a project that we’ll all do together. Brand new music, over the years.

Bizzy Bone: …We just gotta get those things out of the way because it’s absolutely not true and we wanna make sure that it’s known clearly and not speak too much on it and give it too much hyphy because it ain’t a finished project, it’s just some damn snatch and grabs off the goddamn internet, it ain’t professional, it ain’t where it needs to be, if they do have anything it’s gonna be on some smash and grab.

 

Emily Berkey: So the track list that’s out right now, those aren’t your tracks?

 

Bizzy Bone: It’s smash and grab. It’s going on the internet and snatching up different songs

 

Emily Berkey: So are the rumors true that you’re gonna have Kendrick on the album?

 

Flesh-N-Bone: What!?

Layzie Bone: That’d be nice, but we haven’t done nothing with him.

Bizzy Bone: You mean the 20th Anniversary album? That’s up to Kray. He [Krayzie] is like the mastermind behind most of the record to give us a good jumpstart, and we all get to put in our two and ten cents after he gets the groundwork in. We have some organization, and we’re not running around crazy, we have organization we’re not five wild niggas running around, all willy nilly you understand? We’re grown men, have been in the business for 20 years, we know a little somethin’ somethin’. We know how to step back and let a company do what it does and let a CEO do what it does and let us as artists do what we do. That’s where our minds are right now. So we really want to get that across to The Source this evening.

 

Emily Berkey: Krayzie, they’re telling me that you’re in charge of the framework of this album. What do you expect it to be like?

 

Krayzie Bone: The vision that I see is just us being simple. Just solidifying who we are and what we’ve done. It’s like a celebration us being in the game for 20 years. What other group has been around that long? All of the members are still alive and healthy. Plus what we’ve done is we’ve changed the game so much, it’s like this whole game has spawned from what we’ve done. We are looking to have a double CD. The first CD will be Bone Thugs, giving our fans the original Bone sound, what they want to hear. The second CD we’re looking to have as many guest appearances as we possibly can.

 

Emily Berkey: So you could possibly put Kendrick on a track?

 

Krayzie Bone: We’re looking to get the newest, most current to the old school. We’re trying to get everyone to come out and celebrate us being alive and keeping in the game for 20 years. Whoever we can get to get down with us and celebrate with us is welcome.