REFLECTION – Several years ago I had the opportunity to work on a project that was very rewarding and significant for me on many different levels. Jazzmatazz is the Hip-Hop/Jazz fusion series conceived and produced by the late Keith Elam, known to the world as GURU from GANG STARR. Both of us originally being from Boston knew a lot of the same people, but didn’t know each other personally. In the summer of ‘00 he was putting the finishing touches on Jazzmatazz 3: Streetsoul and looking for a new look to the old Jazzmatazz logo. I pitched concepts to Virgin Records in New York, and if my memory serves me correctly, there were a few other artists competing for the job as well. Ultimately my work was chosen; a comic book style rendition of the Hip-Hop icon. From then on, we were friends. Guru never forgot where he came from and had a reputation of looking out for people from the hometown. And “looking out” is exactly what he did. My artwork saw life far beyond Streetsoul. At that time it was also used as the face of Guru Productions and could be seen on the Bald Head Slick album on Ill-Kid Records; an independent project featuring Boston-based rappers Big Shug, Edo G, Smitty, Krumbsnatcha and many others. I always assumed that we would eventually work together again on something. Unfortunately the opportunity never presented itself to us.
I recently came across this live performance of “Keep Your Worries” with Guru, Angie Stone and Herbie Hancock. Check out the huge banner in the back featuring the artwork done by yours truly. He never stopped looking out…RESPECT.