Guru: What’s up Pizzo, how you?
HHS: Cool what’s going on?
Guru: Nah just making it happen baby. We got like two whole weeks to finish mixing up the joint, it’s real hot.
HHS: Word up man, what can we expect from the new album, how will it differ from your previous albums?
Guru: It’s like, it’s connected to the previous Gang Starr albums in the fact that all of our stuff has a certain sound to it, a certain mystique to it, but it’s the next level. We like to evolve, we evolve with the times. It’s like Premier’s beat style has been duplicated and copied and bitten, and he’s evolved to another level and created a new, extra bounce. You hear it on “Skills”, that’s a Gang Starr track, but that’s a 2003 Gang Starr, you know. It’s a different bounce, there’s a little twist to it. And my flow elevates year after year because I stay busy, like… even though I’ve been rhyming for a long time, I still love it. I work out with the best in New York, some of the younger cats, whatever. I stay training and stay honing my skills, so that’s what it’s all about you know?
HHS: Definitely, so you guys are like one of the last remaining true hip-hop acts in the game – at least in my opinion – how do you maintain your position in the fact that hip-hop is always changing and evolving into different sounds?
Guru: Because it’s like watching a parade go by. I was talking to Rakim about this the other day. He told me the cream will always rise to the top, and all that other stuff will fall to the wayside, and that’s definitely what happens, you know? I feel like we always have our eyes on the bigger picture. Premier and I are like brothers, we’ve been roommates and all that. We started out and we didn’t have any money, we we’re eating fifty cent noodles. We came up together and we always keep that in mind, so a lot of other groups of my era broke up and try to get back together for the money or whatever. We’re not like that, we do separate projects, but we’re like a two-man Wu-Tang – we put it all back into one pot. So we never ever try to tear apart what we were building.
HHS: So speaking on that subject, how many Gang Starr albums will we see?
Guru: I mean, until the wheels fall off man. Until… I might be gray hairs with a cane, still spittin’ on stage you know? (Laughs) But on the real, you definitely going to hear at least three more albums.
HHS: That’s good. So in your opinion what’s your favorite Gang Starr song ever recorded?
Guru: Every day I have a different one, but for today it’s “Take It Personal”. Yesterday was “Just To Get A Rep”, the day before that it was “DWYCK”, and today it’s “Take It Personal”.
HHS: Speaking on that track, I always had a question on that song…. on the lyric “Rap is an art you can’t own no loops, it’s how you hook ‘em up in the rhyme style troop”. Was that aimed at anyone in particular?
Guru: It’s funny because someone asked me a similar question about “Battle” from the 8 Mile soundtrack, asking if that track is aimed at someone. What I would say in general, is that me as an emcee, I put emcees in categories. If I had a personal problem with an emcee, I’d just go see him about it. Fortunately I don’t have problems like that with rappers. I’m just not that kind of rapper, my stuff is too message orientated to be wasting my time in a dis battle, you know what I mean? But I was talking more about beat-makers, because back then, they’d be like “oh, nobody else gonna have the same sample”, come on… if I got a record collection and you got a record collection, we might have the same record. So we might loop or sample the same record, but it’s about how you hook them up and it’s about how the emcee sounds over the beat; so that’s what I was trying to say.
HHS: When you were saying you are not the type to make a dis record, what do you think of all these people making dis records against each other right now?
Guru: It’s annoying me, it’s giving me a headache.
Premier: It’s getting too much. I liked Nas and Jay with “Ether” and “The Takeover”, you know that was dope because it was necessary. Pretty much Jay got on Nas, and Nas had to holler back. You know everybody thought Nas couldn’t come back because Jay was dropping very witty stuff and everything….
Guru: With the wordplay, yeah….
Premier: You know now everybody’s at everybody. You know there’s nothing wrong with keeping things in a battle format….
Guru: These cats are starting to say too much personal shit about each other and then the beats are wack, oh man….
Premier: Yeah and don’t start bringing peoples’ kids or mothers into it that has nothing to with it. If you gonna talk about that person only, and but them to shame, that’s all good. The battles back in the day were based on that, but if you try to start talking about their children, their parents… they’re mixing up the regular street of hip-hop with all that personal stuff and that’s not part of the game. So when they mix it up like that, I don’t give them no applause. I don’t care who it is. There’s a certain line that you don’t cross when it comes to battling on the mic and using hip-hop as your vehicle to get your thing across. Like I said, if it’s a one on one match against that person and you’re dissing them, cool. If you say â€˜you’re an R. Kelly molester’ or something like that in your rhyme, that’s cool because you are using little things to pick on them and put them down, but like I said, everyone’s talking about I’ll kidnap your kid, I’ll do it with your girl and your mother.. It’s like M.O.P. said, that’s when you bring that gats out.
HHS: Aight, so I mean I look at all your albums as pretty much classics, but do you guys ever look back on something and say, damn I wish I never did that song’?
Guru: Well, our first album we had just met, and I had all my rhymes in my head, I had like two albums of material in my head. And he had the beats already, so that was when we really learned about production and how to put things together. So that first album, to us, we don’t really count. We call that album “our resume”, that was so we could just get into the industry. I don’t wish we never did that album, we just can’t compare that album to everything else that came after that.
HHS: On the new Prince Paul album, Preemo talks about hip-hop being wack and everything… what do you think is wrong with it and how can it be fixed?
Guru: I mean, he’s tired of it being watered down. He calls what we do hip-hop, but what a lot of other cats do “something else”. Some cats ain’t doing hip-hop, their doing “something else”. You know, and maybe they are good at doing “something else”, but it ain’t hip-hop. He says like hip-hop is like a fat person on one side of the see-saw and a little person on the other. We gotta help the little guy even out the weight.
HHS: I know you both work with a lot of up and coming, underground artists. Who are some of the artists that you appreciate that you feel don’t get a lot of love?
Guru: I’ve always felt that way about M.O.P., so I’m glad about them, there are gonna have a lot better promotion now with Roc deal and all that. But I mean, there’s a lot man… I mean there’s guys like Ras Kass, who spits fire. Probably all the guys Preemo does beats for. And then within our camp, Preemo’s got a label called Year Round Records, with a group called NYG’z, and this guy called Thug Poet off of Queensbridge. I got a kid named Bless from Montreal, I got Krumbsnatcha, I got a kid named Black Jesus, so look for them to on the come up. But on the album we got Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Freddie Foxxx, Snoop Dogg, Big Shug, M.O.P., and Krumbsnatcha. There’s a lot of underated emcees… Dead Prez… and then there’s a lot of hot stuff from cats that they don’t play on the mix shows. Like Premier does this satellite radio with Marley and Pete Rock… he gave me a CD of the show he just did…. he’s got some joints on there, that I never hear. He got one by Cam’ron and Diplomats called “I’m Ready”… it’s like b-side to one of the singles, but it’s hotter! That’s what we’re about, finding those hot obscure joints, you know?
HHS: So what else are working on outside of Gang Starr?
Guru: I’m just raising my little boy man, he’s two and a half… he takes up a lot of energy. Little Guru, you know.
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