Today, 4/19/13, marks three years since we tragically lost Keith Elam, better known as GURU (Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal). The mast lyricist left behind a legacy of innovation, creativity, and experimentation among his many other gifts. Whether contributing his raspy voice to the production of DJ Premier in Gang Starr or fusing his vocal abilities with jazz instrumentals through his own Jazzmatazz projects, G.U.R.U. always pushed the boundaries. In honor of the day, we’ve got a brand new track in honor of GURU by way of Marco Polo, Talib Kweli, and DJ Premier.
London’s legend of the mic, Omar Lye-Fook will be joined by one of our favorite beatboxing, producing talents, Taylor McFerrin, for a free duo performance at the Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn this coming Saturday (6/2/12). McFerrin has been gaining buzz from the release of his debut EP Broken Vibes which features his unique blend of beatboxing, musicianship, and production.
Check out a special feature from DJ Raydar Ellis on a few of his favorite jazz vocal samples in hip-hop and where they came from. Including Roy Ayers, Quincy Jones, Billie Holiday, Kanye West, De La Soul, and more!
The Instruments Issue centers on exceptional, challenging or thought-provoking moments and movements in jazz. At the heart of our creative energy for this issue is an insistence on understanding the musician’s experience and illuminating the mystery around their instruments.
Since this Issue is a major focus of our site, we decided to re-launch Issue No. 2 The Hip Hop and Jazz Debate, which came out in Jan. of 2011. If you didn’t get a chance to read through all of our great features, now is your chance to go through them one by one, including a lengthy list of album reviews. Top Features from this Issue include Weldon Irvine, Respect the Architect: DJs Are Musicians, Word on Rap: The Vocal Instrument, Jazz Poetry, Rap: Cause and Effect of the Black Arts Movement, Insane in the Left Brain and DJ with Live Band vs DJ with Emcee.
It’s hard to imagine a more organically orchestrated and magical tribute to the late Guru than the one that we had on Thursday, April 21st. With the 400 or so attendees, there were many more of you out there who missed the night for whatever reason, and will never experience first-hand what we witnessed that night at Le Poisson Rouge.
Guru Legacy consists of several jazz arrangements from the Jazzmatazz catalogue, as well as sample-based remixes of those arrangements, by various Hip Hop producers. Look for more Guru: Legacy this May.
The Revive Da Live Big Band Tribute to Guru was a night to remember. A special thanks goes out to DJ Premier, Greg Nice, John Robinson, Jeru the Damaja, Lord Finesse, O.C., Craig G, Masta Ace, Akrobatik, Peter Gunz, Roy Hargrove, Roy Ayers, The Tap Messengers, and everybody who came out to support the show. Check back in the coming week for media recaps from the show.
Inside Headquarterz Studio is history. The gold records, used tape, personal memories, and stories have all been immortalized through the music that was made within the walls. And if anyone knows what happened there it is DJ Premier, half of the duo Gang Starr, and one of the few who knew Guru so well. The Revivalist sat down with Primo to discuss what made Guru a pillar of music and why he continues to be remembered with reverence.
Revive Music Group celebrates their 5th Anniversary with a mind-bending, monumental Revive Da Live Big Band Tribute to G.U.R.U. and the Jazzmatazz Legacyunder the direction of pianist Marc Cary and trumpeter Igmar Thomas, featuring some of G.U.R.U.’s legendary collaborators as special guests.
But I will say that I’ve always seen Guru as – kind of like a trumpet. It’s funny that he’s deep into that jazz tradition. But Guru was never minstrel and that’s what really set Guru apart from most of the other people in the hip-hop culture. Because hip-hop was all about bravado and a bunch of exclamation points after your presentation, which basically rendered most of the people in hip-hop sort of one dimensional. No so much with Guru. He wasn’t a caricature–very cool, very laid back. He appeared as every guy. He never bragged about what he had and what he didn’t he was more about teaching lessons and showing you reality. There’s a lot that we can learn from Guru. That’s how I see him.
Last week we brought you “Keep Your Worries” from The Beast’s upcoming Guru Legacy EP. This week we have a behind-the-scenes look at the recording process and an interview with Beast-master and emcee, Pierce Freelon.
The Beast, a hip-hop quartet comprised of Pierce Freelon, Eric Hirsh, Stephen Coffman, and Peter Kamosh are preparing to release their latest EP, Guru Legacy, aimed at reinterpreting some of Guru’s tracks and digging into the effect Guru had on musicians in both the hip-hop and jazz realms — two places they know very well. In the weeks leading up to the Revive Da Live Big Band Tribute to G.U.R.U. we will be releasing new material from the EP including tracks, remixes, videos, and interviews with captivating musicians who have been influenced by Guru.
Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal also known as Keith Elam, departed this earth on April 19th, 2010. Whether contributing his raspy voice to the heavenly production of DJ Premier or fusing his vocal abilities through his own Jazzmatazz projects, G.U.R.U. was one of a kind. In 2008, Revive Da Live did a show with G.U.R.U. and trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Below is the interview footage from this show, never released until now. Although we’re all aware of the dark cloud that surrounded G.U.R.U. during the last few years of his life, this interview captures he and Roy in rare form.
The third studio release in the canon of classics produced by Gang Starr, A Daily Operation, stands as the unofficial primer for listeners who have somehow managed not to familiarize themselves with the collaborative works of DJ Premier and Guru while noodling around the hip-hop curiosity shop. The album remains a seminal work for both the genre and the duo over a decade after its release.
The music that fills Guru’s Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1 is fundamentally hip-hop—the beats, the rhymes, the structure of each song; and like in most other popular or hip-hop songs, there are verses, choruses, and loops. The most significant distinction, however, between Guru’s songs and everything else from the time (1993) and since, is the live instrumentation.