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Guru’s Jazzmatazz at 25

The innovative album that blends jazz and hip-hop celebrates its silver anniversary

Guru in 1993. Photo by Thierry Le Gous

Above: Guru in 1993. Photo by Thierry Le Goues.

A classic rule of journalism is “If you can’t be first, be best.” You could just as easily apply that principle to Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1 by the late hip-hop artist Guru. A quarter-century ago, the rapper born Keith Edward Elam used his debut solo release to marry two genres—hip-hop and jazz—that had already enjoyed a long history of courtship. Through his careful calibration, the two discovered a more joyous, organic, and even-handed relationship than they had ever known before.

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