Here is part one of HHS1987’s exclusive with esteemed DJ & studio engineer Young Guru at the Heineken Green Room event at Tango in Philadelphia. Young Guru sat down with our very own E-Money in front of a packed house and spoke for over an hour on his career and experiences as the sound technician behind one of Hip-Hop’s most historic record labels.
Young Guru detailed his start as a DJ in Delaware, how connecting relationships in college prompted an early partnership with with Sean “Puffy” Combs and Bad Boy Records, moving to New York as a young father, as well as how forging a friendship with Memphis Bleek that led to a prominent position at Rocafella Records in it’s rise to prominence.
Guru also touched on his desire to teach up and coming engineers, engineering the session for Hov’s legendary diss “Takeover”, and how Just Blaze and Freeway’s synergy led to the first State Property LP
Roc-A-Fella Records is a record label founded by Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Damon “Dame” Dash, and Kareem “Biggs” Burke. It operates as a subsidiary of Universal Music Group, being distributed by Universal Music Distribution.
The foundation of the label occurred in 1996, beginning as an independent outlet for rapper Jay-Z’s first album. After being turned down by several major labels, Carter, Dash and Burke started their own label through Priority Records, using money from the music videos provided by Payday Records due to their singles only deal. Though Reasonable Doubt didn’t immediately attain commercial success, it spawned several hits, a close relationship with The Notorious B.I.G. and procured him a reputation in the hip-hop community. Starting out as Roc-A-Fella’s only artist, Jay-Z was supported by Biggie producer DJ Clark Kent and DJ Ski, who was then working with Camp Lo; affiliated rappers included duo Da Ranjahz, Sauce Money, Jaz-O, and a young Memphis Bleek, though only Bleek would eventually sign with the label. According to Dame, the label had intended on releasing Nas’ group The Firm, but the deal fell through: