Growing up in suburban England in the early 90’s I had absolutely no interest in rap music or hip-hop culture, how could I possibly relate to what was happening on the streets of Brooklyn? My musical taste at the time was fairly standard indie & rock; Chill Peppers, REM, The Doors etc
That all changed one very early morning in 1993. I was chilling at a friends house after a night of clubbing when he starting rummaging through a bag of cassette tapes (the common musical currency at the time) and pulled out Jazzamatazz Volume I. “You’ve got to hear this rap album”, my response was probably “I don’t want to listen to that shit”. Undeterred he went ahead and put it in the tape deck.
Thats when everything changed, a musical epiphany, from the very first line of Loungin’ i was hooked. What was this a smoky mix of jazz and rap? I didn’t move for the next 45 mins (other than to flip the cassette to the other side) as I listened to the whole album. Not a single weak track, rock solid.
So who is this GURU guy? Born Keith Elam in Roxbury, Mass. he relocated to Brooklyn to pursue his hip-hop career and along with DJ Premier founded Gang Starr, pioneers of the NYC hardcore rap scene. In 1993 he went solo and released the seminal Jazzmatazz Volume 1 followed quickly by Volume 2, sadly his subsequent releases were sub-standard and his popularity waned.
This weekend marks the 5th anniversary of GURU’s passing, so this playlist is my dedication to him, RIP Slick
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