DJ Premier Speaks On Guru’s Passing and Solar Situation | aboveGround Magazine
I would come to see [Guru's trust in Solar] as his artistic death over time He also detailed Solar's technique for “turning” Guru: isolate him from his self esteem issues that kept in this deplorable and unhealthy relationship. Video in this thread The Truth Behind Guru (RIP), Dj Premier, & Solar did Guru ever say to you about why he had broken off so many relationships with former . give up total control to a manager whom they trust and that manager then. The true nature of Guru's relationship with Solar has been a hot topic of debate since Guru went into the hospital and Solar began acting on his behalf.
I was moving back to New York. I started a personal relationship with Solar and subsequently became pregnant by him, and had a child by him.
In the middle ofa situation happened on tour. They needed some help with some business things — they were in Europe, and needed some things done in the States, and I happened to be able to help them out at that time. By the end ofI decided that I was going to leave and come back to Denver, due to issues that I was having with Solar in our personal relationship. After our daughter was born, I started talking to them again, and had just a personal relationship at that time with both Solar and Guru.
I considered Guru a close friend of mine. Solar is obviously the father of my child. Inonce again, they were over in Europe, and had some complications on tour. Their tour manager had to quit in the middle of the tour.
So they had me do some stuff for them. It ended up working out well, and at that point in time, they decided to bring me on as an assistant for [7 Grand Records] and I was both of their personal-slash executive assistants, at the same time, it was a small record label, so I did whatever needed to be done to try and make the record label run smoothly.
A lot of people believe that Premo has been [attacked by these words Solar may have written in the letter]. A lot of people are curious to know if Solar would have any motive. Um…I do know that there were at least some tensions.
But I do know that there was some tensions. Just watching, over the time that I spent with them, Solar had such a twisted sense of how important [his own role] was to the music game. I think there was an extensive amount of jealousy towards what Premier had already created in the music industry.
I interviewed Premier in December in New York shortly after the break-up was implied. Premier expressed that the group was simply on glorified hiatus. In interviews to come, for various outlets, Guru said some harsh things. In your private conversations with Guru, was that [sentiment] really there?
There was definitely some distaste. He was convinced, by Solar, that back in maybe, Guru was held up and mugged in Queens, [New York]. Solar convinced Guru, at that point in time, that Premier had put the hit out on him, and Premier wanted him dead. For the record, you and I spoke privately before this interview.
I spent extreme amounts of time with both Guru and Solar, both individually and altogether. I traveled with them. I, myself, never saw any indication of it being a romantic or sexual relationship. I do have a child with [Solar]. I, however, do not believe he is. I never saw any indication of that.
I never saw any type of affection in that way, if you want. I saw Guru interested in women. Obviously when I was around, Solar was with me at that point in time, but at the same time, I have my feelings that there were probably other women as well. I never got the feeling that it was homosexual. Solar didn't know I had seen this go down. It happened in a back alley behind a club after a gig in Europe. I was heading back to the hotel post-gig, cutting through the backalley of the club as a shortcut.
After a gig Guru and Solar often stayed behind, and the rest of the group would head back to the hotel. So I'm walking down the alley heading to the hotel, and suddenly the back door of the club flies open and Guru comes stumbling out like he had been shoved, Solar right on his heels yelling at him like a little boy. By now, this was a fairly common occurrence for me to see, but what happened next left me paralyzed.
Guru seemed to be quietly arguing back. Clearly he felt that whatever had happened didn't merit such a response from Solar, and it seemed like he was trying to explain himself. Solar - who was already knee-deep into the habit of cutting off Guru and not letting him complete full sentences - asked him: Shut up right now!
But let me just explain Solar swung on him And then again in the head. Far enough away that they couldn't see me, but frozen in my tracks. I took a step forward, but I didn't know what to do.
And then Guru seemed to sort of shrug it off. Until that last year of his life, he was a tough, well-built guy, but I did think it was weird he didn't fight back. And I'm pretty much a peace-loving pacifist I was hired as the Jazzmatazz trumpet player, not as the Jazzmatazz judge and jury - so I swallowed hard and left, disturbed by what I'd seen.
The next day, in a moment when Guru and I were alone, I quietly asked him, "hey G He looked me right in the eye and said "aw, I dropped some weights in the gym. I gotta be more careful, right son?
He then winked at me and walked away But instead I felt sick. Sick that this man - one of my heros - had been abused It was then that I started feeling fear Because I knew that if push came to shove, Solar was capable of much greater violence.
I started recognizing it in his eyes. In the early days I would express my opinions freely But when the violence started coming out from behind closed doors, that's when I started getting fearful While on tour in Brazil, after some girl he'd decided was "his" started talking to me for "too long" post-show, he shoved me screaming how I was "disrespectful".
It was the first time he ever put his hands on me. I have no doubt in my mind that if Marcelo the promoter didn't come to see what all the ruckus was all about, I would've been hospitalized. That promoter and I still talk about that incident to this day, and I consider him a real friend for having put me in a separate vehicle, away from Solar and taking care of me that night I was so shook by the whole incident.
Guru called me, apologized which he rarely doesand said he'd talk to Solar about it. Told me he "needed me there", and that I was an "important part of Guru's Jazzmatazz". Guru tells you he needs you - of course you stay. But, in retrospect, I don't think he ever did talk to Solar.
The Source EXCLUSIVE: Solar Speaks Out Three Years After The Passing Of Guru | The Source
Later on, as I continued to defy Solar's insipid military style "rules and regulations" they were such an afront to every fiber of my artistic beinghe would continue to threaten me I didn't know what to do with that kind of information I would just stay silent and wonder how far he was willing to go. Coming home from tour dates with them was always rough. And when I'd write Guru about my concerns I was convinced Solar hated me, and wondered why I hadn't been fired long ago, considering how much he was always upset with me.
In speaking about it with DooWop, he once said to me "Brown, who else is this psycho Solar going to get? Do you think Roy Hargrove or Randy Brecker is gonna put up with his crap? And they can't call someone who can't play - cuz you've already established the trumpet soloist HAS to be strong Finally though, saturation was reached for me in Jan '10, and I had to leave the band I was then calling Spazzmatazz behind closed doors Wop and I left together.
But finally the cost was too high He should NOT have even been on that last tour in Nov - he looked so haggard and decrepit. He should have been in a hospital bed in America, not running around on stages in Europe, exacerbating whatever was compromising his health which the world would find out later was cancer. But Solar made him When Wop and I left, to us, we were leaving Solar - not Guru But it mattered more to be rid of this man, than to try and collect that dough not for lack of trying.
Solar, had taken over ALL the finances by that point, and withheld Wop's and my money after that final tour Nov' To this day, both Wop and I have yet to be paid in full for that last tour. Up until mid I had always dealt with Guru one-on-one for finances. As SOON as tour dates were over, he'd wire cash directly into my bank account. Wop also tells a similar story - that Guru always took care of him. Thus I never felt I needed a contract. But the second Solar took over the books - that's when the problems started.
The last tour I did with them was in Nov ' I start emailing them once every 3 days I was like "what the hell are you talking about???
It was all I could do since I had no contract. I cc'ed Solar on it. It was now late Dec and she, nor Solar, nor Guru ever wrote me again. And on Jan 1st, I sent an official resignation letter to all 3 of them officially stating I was resigning from the band, and that any institute that behaves as maliciously, brutally and underhandedly as 7 Grand isn't a company I want to be employed by.
I also mentioned what a laughing hypocrisy Solar's long speeches about "my word is bond" and "i take care of my own" was. I never heard from any of them again.
On Feb 28th,I heard on the news that Guru had a heart attack and was in a coma, and on Apr 19th, Guru was announced as having died I have read rumors that Solar would get jealous when you performed, and one in particular that he put you in a cab after a show once because you killed it with a solo.
Can you recall any such experiences? Listen, I dunno if Solar would get "jealous". I'm not sure that's the right word for it. But let me explain what happened slowly, and what started happening over time: Guru - in the early days, because he's a gracious, honourable and magnanimous human being - would walk around to each band member at the end of the show, say a line or two biographically about them and then say their name.
For example, he'd go over to the drummer and yell in the mic, "From London, UK Guru, in the early days, would go round the whole band doing this - and do me second last Guru was always VERY generous with his praise, and there's a YouTube vid of him shouting me out where he says so many kind things you can see me visibly humbled by his words, as I would be every night.
When he finished reciting his introduction of me and conclude with, " And impressed that he - as a bandleader - was so unselfish with his stage. Jazz musicians, even in the highest ends of the industry, are all like this. We jazz musicians all know that we're part of a collective - so every part of that group consciousness deserves to be acknowledged And to see Guru doing this, made him even more impressive to me - he behaved like a great jazz musician!
But here's the thing - he would always intro Solar last I've seen it described in a review as " What did he expect? On stage he just ran around, a bad hype-man, often shoving Guru out of his way, and then telling him afterwards "Guru - you're getting in my way on stage, you have to open your eyes son" THAT was my role in Jazzmatazz - the soloist. So I worked hard to bang out bigger and better solos So at the end of the night, sometimes my applause was second loudest, only to Guru's - the man himself.
He wouldn't say anything - but he clearly felt that his own applause should be greater than everyone's. So look what he did after that: It was about drawing further attention to himself. So, slowly - over months - the band intros got smaller and smaller, and Solar's intro got bigger and longer The smaller my intro got, the more determined I was to play my ass off and incite a crowd.
After a particularly good gig at Club Planetarium, in Vienna - it's reported that the applause following one of my solos was so loud you couldn't hear Guru rapping. As soon as that gig ended, Solar told the promoter to put me in a cab and get me back to the hotel immediately. Did I miss something in the schedule? Solar told me that we had a super early flight and we had to leave quickly to pack and get to the airport.
Shouldn't I take some gear too? But he was intent on packing me in a cab and getting me out of there. So I left - having had no contact with anyone except the promoter. He said that Solar just wanted me out of there cuz the crowd was making too much noise for me.
After that, Solar continued to slowly marginalize all of us while getting Guru to beef up his own introduction, pushing the band farther back in the stage setup, eliminating all my solos from happening at the front of the stage you'll see tons of YouTube footage from '07 and '08 from around the world, with me soloing at the front of the stage This marginalization of the band by Solar continued until finally, on this final tour in Nov and part of the reason I lefthe had Guru wave in one grand sweeping gesture at the 3 of us and say, "the 7 Grand Players!
This also became a source of comedy for DooWop and I during soundcheck. When Solar wasn't around Wop would go in the front of the stage and pretend to be Solar and go "yeah Brown, stand right there No, a little farther to the right.
I can barely hear you, speak up with you talk to the God! Yes - there's a door at the bottom of the stairs, exactly. Ok, now go through that door, down the hall, and take that service elevator to the basement. You'll be soloing from there".
In the last few weeks of my last tour with Jazzmatazz, we learned to just laugh at this ego-driven marginalization, and just do our jobs with our heads down. We had already resolved to leave the band as soon as we were paid which we never wereso it didn't matter what Solar did or said.
We were just so ready to leave by then. Ironic that Miles Davis, in his electric period, used to walk around on stage with the names of his musicians on big cards for the audience to see when they finished solos - yet Solar felt that marginalizing the men that make the music would some how elevate his own status.
Solar never understood this in his ultimate quest for control and power, thinking that his key to fame would be to indoctrinate audiences the same way he did Guru I'll talk more about this later.
But audiences weren't buying it, and his lack of vision is poignant. What was Guru's attitude through all of this? What indications did you have that he was frightened by Solar? I dunno if that's the right word. He was being controlled by Solar, absolutely - but it was more of an indoctrination. And Solar's manipulation of Guru was so deep that Guru would just parrot whatever Solar wanted the world to hear.
I'll talk about this more in the next question. Guru generally didn't talk about that. But what he did do, was parrot what Solar continually told him. Except I had heard Solar whispering that shit in his ear for the last month.
Solar had Guru convinced that Premier was running a "covert internet campaign to discredit Solar, and thus disrespected Guru".
He had Guru convinced that all those bad reviews were as a byproduct of Premo's campaign. Look - Solar's a master manipulator - and if you want to control someone and feed them a set of ideas - what's the first thing you do? You isolate them from their friends It's cult mentality - applied to one person.
And Solar did this slowly and methodically over years. Isolate him from his family: Solar quietly whispered in Guru's ear that he couldn't count on his family and that HE - Solar, the god walking the earth - was the only one Guru could count on. And Guru eventually believed it, and isolated himself from his family.
I do not doubt that Patricia Guru's sister was estranged - as Solar claims in his interviews - and hadn't spoken to him in years Because Solar talked Guru out of attending a family funeral - and Trish thought that was wrong - and told Solar this, thus putting her in Solar's bad books Isolate him from his friends: And Guru eventually believed it, isolating himself from his former partners and the rest of hip-hop in general it's why Guru never worked with anyone else except Solar I saw this in action when we did a show with Big Daddy Kane.
Kane came over to pay his respects and say hello, paying particularly attention to DooWop, whom he addressed as "the mixtape king". Kane shook all our hands very politely, including Solar, said a few kind words to Guru, and left. And the minute he was gone - Solar said "did you see that Guru? See how he disrespected me? Yet after 10 minutes of a nonsensical tirade from Solar, Guru was saying "yeeeah, I didn't see that at first, but I see what you mean lord".
I saw it again when KRS-1 jumped up on stage with us in London. So Rich did - and KRS spat brilliantly over the new tempo.
Solar Was Guru's Abusive Gay Lover?
I'm the producer of the show Guru - no one changes tempos on one my tunes! See how he disrespects you when he does that? And - by the end of Solar's speech - Guru was saying "yeah, yeah, I see what you mean now, thank you brother for pointing this out".
Imagine this happening every day for a decade. Isolate him from his fans: Solar quietly whispered to G that his fans were just subjects, and that you can't spend too much time with these idiots everyone was a "subject" to Solar There's YouTube footage of Solar pulling Guru away from fans in autograph sessions Once Guru was in my hotel room, and we were talking about our fathers, whom we both respect so much And G left immediately to follow Solar, saying that I had asked him a question about the schedule, not wanting Solar to know we'd been speaking about personal matters.
Seeing that kind of thing go down hurt me a lot. Isolation was key to Solar's power over Guru. Were Solar and Guru gay lovers? The isolation is also why less intelligent men mistakenly have thought that they were gay. They sat together on planes, cars, vans, trains He will claim that these are the actions of friends Solar successfully isolated Guru from everyone around him, limiting his friendships I've seen that smooth talking brother roll up on lots of girls I guess it's easier to think of someone as iconic as Guru, as gay And there's a big difference.