The last album [artist id="8646"]Guru[/artist] and [artist id="504156"]DJ Premier[/artist] released as [artist id="98"]Gang Starr[/artist] was 2003's The Ownerz, and then rapper began recording with a new producer named Solar. As the years wore on, whispers of tension between Guru and Preemo grew louder until they were reportedly fully estranged from each other, both musically and as friends.
Premier, for his part, had kept mostly quiet about any conflict between himself and his former groupmate, who died last week. Solar, however, told MTV News that Guru might have felt frustrated by the public overlooking his contributions to Gang Starr, one of hip-hop's most revered acts.
Solar said he doesn't want to sound critical of Premier, though, because he hasn't spoken to the DJ in years and never knew his take on things between the pair.
"I haven't spoken to Premier, all the way back since they finished The Ownerz," Solar told MTV News. "We haven't spoken. He hasn't reached out to me, and I haven't had the opportunity to reach out to him. What it's been, more or less, with Guru, there's been a lot of frustration on his part for various reasons once 7 Grand [Records] was started, it became ... I don't know, just certain aspects of Gang Starr and that relationship seemed to keep hanging on to him, and he felt it was dragging him down or holding him from getting to where he wanted to get, and it was influences that he felt around the industry was contributing to that. And I know that was a source a frustration for him and a source of frustration for myself. I felt the tension too."
Solar added that he didn't want to be in the middle of any conflict between the longtime collaborators, during Guru's life or now in his death. He emphasized that although he was privy to Guru's feelings on the matter, it would be unfair for him to take the rapper's opinions as fact since he hasn't spoken to Premier.
Solar did reveal that Guru was "definitely going through a crisis and having some trouble."
"Guru was frustrated, he really was," Solar said. "And I think anybody around him at that time, Premier and all his people around him, might have saw the frustration around him. [Guru] was drinking, there was a lot of things going on with him that you could see, from anybody."
In the meantime, Solar is in the early stages of planning a memorial concert for Guru, which is tentatively slated for the summer. He said he'd like Premier and all the members of the original Gang Starr Foundation involved in the process.
It remains unclear if Premier would be open to such a tribute.
During his radio show on Sirius/XM last week, Premier disparaged Solar numerous times on air, criticizing his handling of Guru's condition and refusing to acknowledge the producer by name.
Share your memories of Guru and Gang Starr in the comments below.