Young Guru: Hip Hop Is Not A Color Based Thing

(AllHipHop News) The discussion surrounding race and Hip Hop has become a big topic over the last year. From Lord Jamar saying white artists are “guests” in the culture, to Macklemore’s controversial Grammy win over Kendrick Lamar, to Forbes initially claiming “Hip Hop Is Run By A White, Blonde, Australian Woman” via Iggy Azalea – the conversation continues to be ongoing.

[ALSO READ: Hip Hop’s Anger Over Macklemore’s Grammy Win Is About Respect Not Race]

Hard Knock TV caught up with veteran engineer Young Guru to get his perspective on the topic. The longtime Jay Z associate connects Hip Hop with Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have A Dream Speech.” For Guru, it’s not about the color of your skin, but the level of your talent.

Hip Hop has always had that different face. If we really go back and you really talk about Hip Hop music and Hip Hop culture some of your greatest graffiti writers like Zephyr and these guys were white guys. People try to take out the Spanish and Puerto Rican influence in some of the greatest B-boys and some of the greatest DJs in the beginning of Hip Hop.

You can’t tell me that the Beastie Boys are not Hip Hop. You can’t tell me MC Serch is not Hip Hop. 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. People are going to have their own expression.

Hip Hop is not a color based thing. It’s actually the one place where Dr. King’s dream has been realized. Where it doesn’t really matter what color you are. It matters how dope you are. That’s all it is. That’s what the content of character means. How good are you at what you claim you do? That’s Hip Hop. The only place you could ever see that.

During the interview Guru also speaks on his time teaching at the University of Southern California, the importance of documenting Hip Hop’s history, and the difference between a producer and a beat maker.

[ALSO READ: Young Guru Shares His Extensive Vinyl Collection In “Crate Diggers” (VIDEO)]

Watch Guru’s full interview below.

  • Executive

    He looks youg as hell for 40, that rocafella money mane.

  • TruthSerum

    In before the ignorant hate speech starts…….

  • atlantahiphopshop

    He is right. IT USED TO BE that way. Not anymore. There is more money in catering to the buyers, period. The consumers are polarized, and they are choosing what they buy based on familiarity and programming, not who’s hip hop. Hip Hop isn’t racist, the fans are. The industry has watered down hip hop enough to grab the Beliebers and Miley fans. Pop has meshed with hip hop and cleaned itself up. The industry knows that the only kid that is getting an itunes $100 card is white in Suburbia. Let’s really keep it real. This guy also has interviews where he said labels are snakes. This discussion is being researched the wrong way. The industry is pushing singles on the internet, who buys them? Why? Not because they sound amazing or they are “real”, it’s because they are popular and familiar.

  • Slaughtr



      Right On Brother!

    • B.U.

      Exactly. Dr. Kings dream is incomplete because economic justice was central to his message . Everybody focuses on the campaign against Jim Crow segregation but they conveniently leave out his fight against economic inequality.

    • maya

      It was created by black New York City youth.

      • SBRon

        “Puerto Rocks” were there, too…

      • maya


  • I completely agree. Looking at the fanbase, all the white guys I see who openly use the word “Nigga” or “act black” is because they are brought up in a Hip Hop environment. When people are fully emerged in the culture or music atmosphere, color doesnt really exist. It’s those people who are still on the outside or halfway about it who throw all the propaganda in it.

  • Ipullcards

    He means meritocracy.. Yea hiphop was that. But when Eminem has a track calling out woman black b1tches, when u have the iggys (fake black hood voice) and the Miley’s Cyrus’s u start to think.. Wait.. These whiggers are trying to sabotage our culture.. Hmmm Dame sounds pretty smart right about now.. Who let’s them in? The lyors? The T.I.’s? The just wanna turn a buck… At the expanse of hiphop and blacks

    • maya

      They are not the ones destroying it.

      • Ipullcards

        Never said they were. At the end all be all, we still have to say yes! But everyone knows blk ppl can fuc up a wet dream!

    • FRUKOH

      White Jews already own this ‘black music’ industry, aint no ‘trying’ to sabotage, they already have, beginning with NWA back in the day (Jerry Heller the white jew was their manager) up till now.

      • maya

        It really has gone in a effed up direction since NWA.

      • Twonpass

        Spot on…………
        zionist jews run all of hollywood and music…. all of it

        this is what you get….

      • Ipullcards

        But Jews were just like us 70 years ago but somehow they still managed to get on top.. Hmmm. Makes you question blk ppl.. & we’ve had 400 years!

      • Eric Stewart

        Sorry brother jews were never like us. I cant change my skin color in order to assimilate into white society. They have the ability to blend in so they can make moves. All they do is take the kinks out their hair, get a nose job and change their name and blend right in. Just ask Donald Sterling….oh i forgot thats not his real name.

      • Ipullcards

        U giving excuses doesn’t help. Oh we have it so bad but only exacerbate our issues with ignorance and violence. U can feel sorry for blk ppl all u want I’m done esp after this generation

      • Eric Stewart

        Not giving excuses just stating facts. We do need to work on improving ourselves as a people. Just understand that if we dont care about the state of blacks in this country no one will. All we do is defend others while they step on our necks. Our struggle is unique, next time u see a jewish guy get brutalized by the police let me know.

  • Markus

    Dr. King would not endorse this current generation of hip hop.

  • Elayorx El

    Wow. No disrespect to YG, but King is also the same gentleman that stated, “I fear I may have led my people into a burning house”! Let’s also not forget that speech was edited, and “greenlighted” by the same PTB(powers that be), who financed King, along with some of his other cohorts during the so-called, “Civil Rights Era”. In addition, why is King always treated as if he was the ONLY individual that ever lived, to champion the virtues of humanity at that time? Does it not perplex those to see everyone in history that were ever taken out(killed), including King(because his views started to change), that were truly about peace, and equality on this planet, and maybe said to themselves, “how come no one ever speaks at all about the rest of these people”? Because they was really BOUT IT, and the, “I have a dream” Dr. King, allows people to somehow tow the line between, what should be done, and what one wants to do, now.(reason why he has a holiday) You cannot have both. It is either one, or the other. Real freedom, or death.(please refer to Patrick Henry) Technically speaking though, Guru is correct, and as some have already alluded to here, that was in Hip-Hop’s original form. As the great Cornell West once put it: “You have those either interested in careers, or callings”, and for the most part, I’m really interested in what the one’s answering “callings” are saying, and if that is YG, then I’m all ears.

  • Pingback: Young Guru: Hip Hop Is Not A Color Based Thing | HIP HOP WORLDWIDE()

  • Eric Stewart

    Keep yelling hip hop not a black thing if they want. And by the time our kids become our age a black face in hip hop will be rare. Yes other cultures did have a part in it but this was our self expression. They gone Chuck Berry these coons out here. Dudes out here ready to off each other over twitter beef, while they pull the rug right from under the culture. Niggas dont take a stand against nothing but each other, over bullshit 99% of the time

    • Ipullcards

      I cosign this

  • Sgt. H. Jennings

    Hip-Hop isn’t just about the music. It’s a culture, a lifestyle. It’s the one thing the urban youth in America took control over and brought it to the level of popularity it possesses today which from a positive standpoint is quite powerful to say the least. But the core of hip-hop is not 100% black. I feel it’s foundation is 100% urban based which consist of blacks, whites and latinos…. It’s more than just music and if we can grasp that concept, some may have a clear understanding of hip-hop as a whole which reaches far outside of what’s coming out of your speakers. Sure blacks have contributed more to hip-hop than any other race. That’s not in question. Ask anyone what race comes to mind when they think about hip-hop and I’m certain they’ll say blacks. But ask someone who has done their research, know the history of the culture and you’ll hear stories about the white graffiti artist, the latino street dancers in the late 70’s and early 80’s along with the blacks rapping in the streets and at block parties which are all foundations of hip-hop. True hip-hop is bigger than music and it’s core followers know this…..

    • Eric Stewart

      Hip hop is black. Why is it so hard for us to claim something as ours. Yes others dabbled in it from other cultures. But we birthed it. How the hell can they lay claim to something that they didnt even consider as a form of music until recently. Now that the culture has grown and influenced others they want to claim it. They can have rap. But hip hop is ours. Theres a difference

      • Sgt. H. Jennings

        I agree there is a difference between the two and blacks have contributed more to hip-hop and rap than any other race on the planet. No argument there bro. I don’t think anyone is trying to claim or take hip-hop/rap away from “us.” I think some or shall I say many are trying to capitalize off the extreme popularity and magnet hip-hop brings to the table today and those who are doing it bear a certain level of power in music and business that the typical hip-hop artist/hip-hop label or culture itself can’t compete with. Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Google and HTC has the power to shut hip-hop down if they so choose from a commercial standpoint. Instead they would much rather make money off it just as so many others have and are currently doing. Why do you think Apple purchased Beats Headphones? Damn sure isn’t their sound quality. It’s the following that comes with this business venture that is 100% hip-hop based. If they wanted to tap in the headphone market with a more quality sounding pair of cans, they could have purchased Grado, Shure, Sennhieser etc. No, they want that hip-hop market and they have the cash/power to get it. opps, meant to say take it. It’s deep bro. They just have more money/power and influence over the pop world on a level that far exceeds hip-hop itself. “Hip-hop” had no other choice but to follow suit or face the obvious. Sad but true.. I see your point though bro.. Understand 100% We let hip-hop go a long time ago… If anything, it’s our own faults for allowing it to get to this point.

  • Pingback: Young Guru: Hip Hop Is Not A Color Based Thing « Brand Newz()

  • hassan

    The reason he sayin that cuz he gettin pay if he was broke sittin in project he probably talk shiit about white people and how hip hop is fuk up but again that non my business