Rapper/composer Guru (true name Keith Elam) initially rose to prominence because “lyrical half” with the hip-hop duo Gang Starr, just one from the initial outfits that attempted to fuse jazz with rap. After 3 albums by Gang Starr hit record keep shelves (1989’s No Much more Mr. Nice Guy, 1991’s Step from the Arena, and 1992’s Everyday Operation), Guru launched his very own solo career, issuing Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1 in 1993.
The album included guest appearances by the wants of Roy Ayers, Donald Byrd, and N’Dea Davenport from the Manufacturer New Heavies, and was followed up two several years after by a sophomore solo outing, Jazzmatazz, Vol. 2: The New Reality, which again included a variety of exclusive guests (as well as Ramsey Lewis, Branford Marsalis, and members of Jamiroquai).
Regardless of his solo career, Guru remained genuine to Gang Starr as well, continuing to lead to further albums such as 1994’s Challenging to Earn and 1998’s Moment of Truth. In 2000, 5 many years soon after his 2nd solo outing appeared, Streetsoul (the third from the Jazzmatazz series) was issued, again featuring a stellar cast of supporting characters: Herbie Hancock, Isaac Hayes, the Roots, Erykah Badu, and Macy Gray.
Wasting small time, Guru returned straight into the recording studio, issuing a follow-up one year after, Baldhead Slick & da Click.
It took four decades for the next Guru release, Version 7.: The Street Scriptures, to come out, the earliest on his new label, 7 Grand Records, with beats by Solar (who became a vital force on 7 Grand’s subsequent releases). The MC used the same producer for his next installment of Jazzmatazz, Vol. 4, which, as always, included a number of guest vocalists and instrumentalists and was released inside summer of 2007.
In addition towards the aforementioned artists, Guru has collaborated with some of rap music’s best-known producers, as well as fellow Gang Starr member DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Alchemist, Ayatollah, and DJ Spinna, as well as Ice-T, Naughty by Nature’s Treach, Killah Priest, and Ed O.G. ~ Greg Prato, All Music Guide.
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