Young Guru Says "Hip Hop Is Not A Color-Based Thing"

Young Guru recalls seeing Afrika Bambaataa's notebook placed next to ancient Egyptian scrolls in a museum.

In a newly-published interview with Hardknock TV, audio engineer/producer Young Guru offered his thoughts on race and Hip Hop. During the interview, Young Guru was asked what can be done to ensure that Hip Hop remains at its essence and doesn’t get absorbed into the mainstream so much that its history is lost.

While speaking on the matter, the beatsmith explained that Hip Hop needs to be properly documented and preserved. He also spoke on white artists in Hip Hop and shared his belief that Hip Hop isn’t color-based and says it’s the one place where the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream has been realized.

“If you don’t control what it is it can easily become something else,” Young Guru said. “If you don’t take and accept who you are someone else is gonna take your culture and flip it and do something else to it and not give you the credit for it. So, it’s up to Hip Hoppers to document Hip Hop, right? But the way that you preserve what it is is to teach the youth exactly where it came from. So, that their expression at the core of it is Hip Hop, right? So, when it spreads to different countries, different continents, it’s still the core of it is Hip Hop. But the expression is always gonna be new because the person is new…You can’t tell me that the Beastie Boys are not Hip Hop. You can’t tell me that MC Serch is not Hip Hop. What I think that people when they look at when it spreads, the audience themselves may not be Hip Hop. Macklemore’s audience may not be the biggest Hip Hop audience, but you can’t say that Macklemore himself is not Hip Hop. Hip Hop is not a color-based thing, right? It’s actually the place where Dr. King’s dream is the one place where it’s been realized, right? Where it doesn’t really matter what color you are. It matters how dope you are.”

Prior to speaking on race in Hip Hop and preserving the genre, Young Guru expressed his approval of Hip Hop being taught more often at colleges and universities. He later recalled visiting an exhibit at Cornell University and seeing Afrika Bambaataa’s notebook placed next to an ancient Egyptian scroll.

“We’ve always said that you can take the poetry of Hip Hop and teach it as classes,” he said. “There’s so much that can be learned from not just the lyrics, but the production and the social context of why these albums were made. But it’s great to see that people are finally recognizing Hip Hop as something that’s so important that it should be in these arenas and be taught. I think one of the greatest things for me was when I went to Cornell to check out the Hip Hop exhibit that they have. They actually have like Afrika Bambaataa’s notebook next to ancient Egyptian scrolls. So, you see the respect level…You really value that notebook and see the historical value in Afrika Bambaataa’s notebook the same way that we now see the historical value in some ancient Egyptian scroll. You know? That’s a huge statement…The only problem that I have with it is that you have to be really careful as to who is the information giver. And what information that they’re giving. And the great thing about Hip Hop is that the people who created this, the forefathers, our founding fathers are still alive.”

Young Guru’s interview with HardknockTV can be found below.

RELATED: Young Guru Explains Why New York Hip Hop Is Coming Back



  • Anonymous

    I forgot to note there is another story out about how young brothers need an associates degree or bachelors to even be considered for a job a white with a HS diploma can get. Young guru looking hella pussy rite now saying this.

  • Anonymous

    Meanwhile tomorrow an expose on school segregation is coming on tv. Not only are there more segregated schools now than 1964, whites from Baton Rouge wanna be St George and keep blacks out. We dont believe you young guru you sounding like a recent entry level house n!99a rite now word is bond

  • Klone Killa

    Expect nothing less from a NI**ER associated with Jigga(boo)

  • Anonymous

    Whatever fool! Anything for that check from the massa huh

  • The Clap

    Whatever, Guru. Serve your masters for that check. Has anyone even asked why this is the topic of an interview and has been for the past few months. While you have wack ass rappers like g-eazy breaking into the game and macklemore winning a grammy. To anyone born between 83 and 91, prepare to have your minds blown in like 8 years when there wont be a single black rapper remaining.

    • Anonymous

      Hiphopdx dont talk about them young brothers in nyc who got signed to sony doing their rock in times square but they quick to post about a young nyc white kid trying to rap. Them young brothers already did coachella People see the agenda, only the vultures and naive gonna let them tell it like its gospel


  • Well

    Macklemore is hip hop and Ryan Lewis isn't

  • Anonymous

    Young Sambo Guru another house nigga like Talib kweli and Common

  • Anonymous

    eminem is the jackie robinson of hiphop

  • Thomas

    hip!! hop!! hop!!(People) just!! don't Don't stop!!! (Fairfield) hup!! hup!! hup!! (people) hop!! 2-3-4 me Kool!! (hip!! hup!! hup!!) 3-4 hup!! hup!! 3-4 Roc!! Roc!! Roc!! People(hip!! hop!! I rule!!!!!

  • Thomas

    Bust!!!! Dis!! reservoir,Spill!! WAIKATO Dr-aught!!Work hard thats incredible.Skull!! up fast, down you go< hot!! pop!! pop!! pop!! 3-4 fuck!!! fuck!!! f#ck!!(protocol!! In the clubz!!! for Pac!! California!! to Detroit,Thugg!!! Thugg!! Thugg!!(pause)thug!! thug!! thug!! to the world. Thug!! thug!! thug!! people. Is what we want from you!! tommy gun!! and MYA boo!! The mighty Waikato Platoon!!

  • Thomas

    Hip!!! hop!!! hop!!!(People)just don't don't stop!!(FAIRFIELD!!)hup!! hupp!! hup!!(People!!)hop!! 2-3-4 me kool!!(Hip!! hup!! hup!!) 3-4 hup!! hup!! 3-4 Roc!! Roc!! ROc!! People(hip!! hop!! hop! I rule!!!

  • WillieGMcKnight

    Start working at home with Google! Its by-far the best job Ive had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this - 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail,,,,,,, ===================== =====================

  • hell on a uncle tom

    Fools like this guy, may or may not understand that just like Rock, Blues, Jazz; hell, even the numbers game in NYC, (see the movie HOODLUM)anything profitable or potentially progressive for blacks, that blacks invent must be protected otherwise in due time it will co-opted, taken over and controlled by crackuz and we as blacks will have no say-so whatsoever in it or about the direction which that thing goes in. But still he's willing to sacrifice us all for a pat on the head.

    • Anonymous

      When you're speaking about corporate business, ya you're right, but if an artist is white and is hip-hop, you're wrong.

  • Anonymous

    Lol just because you trying to be colorblind doesnt mean that base isnt prejudiced Stop trying to cater to these white folk and just deal with white folk.

  • Anonymous

    Yo Guru, who is paying you to push that kumbaya, white-washing, turn-the-other-cheek agenda???

  • Anonymous

    Hiphop is a black thing but JEWS run hiphop and blacks are just mad about this.

  • chris johnson

    all i do is write checks and take offers.

  • Astute Observer

    Look at his face for a moment. Doesn't it seem like the area below his nose is fuckin huge in comparison to the area above his nose? XD

  • chris johnson

    am i write?

  • Miami Heat Loses

    Who the hell cares what this old piece of shit says or thinks? Seriously! I don't care what they're exhibiting at Cornell. It's always old ass dudes who aren't making moves in the industry saying where hip hop should go.

  • HipHopisDead

    Hip HOp was never based on color but on SKILLS. There are hardly any rappers out there with real Mic Skills. Only a handful. The other 90% are killing Hip Hop. Weve always said that you can take the poetry of Hip Hop and teach it as classes, he said. Theres so much that can be learned from not just the lyrics, but the production and the social context of why these albums were made." That USED to be the case, but not anymore. I highly doubt you can learn anything from Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, T.I, Iggy, NIcki etc Poetry my ass.

  • Chris Johnson

    First Name: Crack Last Name: Caine PURE DOPE.

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