Lil Dap, “[People] Didn’t Give it up to Guru the Way it Was Supposed to.”

It’s been over 10 years since we last heard from Group Home. In 1999, the Brooklyn duo (LIl’ Dap and Melachi the Nutcracker) that was ushered into the game through Guru and DJ Premier, released their second album, A Tear for the Ghetto. And while the offering was a far cry from the group’s much-lauded debut Living Proof (1995), it stood as another chapter in the Gang Starr Foundation history. This past April, another chapter was written when Guru—Lil’ Dap and Melachi’s mentor—passed after a bout with cancer.

To pay homage to their fallen comrade, Group Home has prepared a new album Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal (the same acronym Guru used to come up with his name). Now, in the wake of Guru’s passing, Lil’ Dap speaks out on what the fallen hip-hop great meant to him. Where did the inspiration for the new album come from?

Lil’ Dap: The inspiration we always had, it’s one of our fallen soldiers. You’re always on deck regarding anyone of your loved ones and things of that nature, and how you remember them.

When did you begin working on it?

We had stuff in the can regarding my personal use and things of that nature, but since Guru’s passing I had to guide some of the things that I was doing on the side. I just wanted to give some love that way, the way I remember him.

When did you start working with Guru?

I been working with Guru since the ’80′s. I met him through my man Tommy Hill [of the Ram Squad], who brought him around the ‘hood.

What do you feel is different about this record?

This one is just us. We gave it to them freely, put it out real quick via a small independent label, Babygrande. But mostly it was for my man [Guru]. As long as the people got it and it clears up all the negative energy that was out there regarding all of us—Premier—all of us regarding the hip-hop game. We’re just trying to clear up the realness by giving it to the people the way we feel. At the end of the day, we’re out here with these people.

Where do you think the negative energy is coming from?

After his passing, I didn’t feel like the game gave it to him the way it was supposed to give it to him. This brother put a lot of work into the game, and gave a lot of inspiration, saved a lot of people’s lives. I feel like the game ain’t really give it back the way it was supposed to give it back. So by us doin’ what we’re doing right now, it will heal wounds.

Who did you go to for production on this record?

Me, and the party I’m with. We all provided everything you’re hearing right now. We have a bonus track with Premier (“The Legacy”), that helps to show where we comin’ from and who [Guru] was.

Was it difficult to come back and do a Group Home album after you’ve been doing the solo thing?

The solo work didn’t have too much press behind it, but we kept it above water. I think we’re one of those groups where 10-20 years from now we’ll still be above float. So my solo stuff was just to let people know we were still around.

While you we’re doin’ your solo stuff, where was Melachi the Nutcracker?

He was incarcerated for a little bit, but I got him back in motion. Welcome to the 21st century. We’re getting the vibes out and letting you know there’s more work to come. We’re like a gun, ready to cock off the game, ready to do another one. The energy has been preserved.

Why was he incarcerated?

It’s the way of the game. You got people who say they’ll take care of you. Some people can deal with it, others can’t you know. Things happen. At the end of the day, we’re from the street. We don’t let the music come between reality. I’m not gonna act like the music game is takin’ care of us, or that we got it like that. We out here with the people. We’re like the last Mohicans of the rap group. Not like we choose to, but we’ve always been here. That’s why I always say we stay in our lane, we don’t think above our britches.

Isn’t hip-hop built on that type of ambition though?

Yeah, it is, but it’s like a staircase, you gotta climb. If I do start making it, the people who’ve been holding me down, I’ll be able to take care of them. It’s all an understanding, which is what a lot of people have lost. We’ve been in these streets ever since you heard of Group Home, and it ain’t do shit to us.

Are you going to put out another record on Babygrande?

Babygrande just sparked this project, and there’s a lot of love. We’ve got more work to do, and I don’t know who will come to the table but with this one Babygrande was ready to work with us.

What are your favorite tracks from this new album?

“The Realness 2010” and “Up Against The Wall” featuring MC Ace & Lord Jamar. There’s a lot of beautiful tracks on there, and there’s a lot of real hip-hop. We brought it back, but updated it. I’m not mad at it, ‘cause when I sit back and listen to it; I feel it’s a real cool album. We’re right on schedule.

Do you support the family and Guru financially from this record?

Well that’s on Babygrande’s behalf—it’s on their ass to make sure they do the right thing regarding this project, to make sure his son is taken care of. Our dedication towards him is to show the world what he’s done for us. At the end of the day me and Mel, kept our heads up and put it out there.

Ultimately what does Group Home represent?

It represents our low-budget environment. Unfortunately the people that never had a mother or father look for a big brother. And that’s what Guru was for us, so we represent all low budget environments. Either you got it or not, we’ll still hang with you. It’s always been like that with us, so I guess that’s why people love us. —Eavvon O’Neal

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  • Don mcCaine

    Real spit here by Dap.

    I said that people were talking about tributes for Guru, but wouldn’t pay them any mind when they happen. They were more worried about if he was gay than listening to his legacy.

    Unfortunately, this generation is not Hip Hop heads, they are Rap fans.

    Do you know the difference?

  • Sha

    Dap was correct about cats not showing a lot of love to Guru.

    But on the real?

    Can you really have a full fledged tribute without the all out inclusion of Preemo? I don’t know. Seems kinda weird. Seems like maybe it was manufactured by BabyGrande Records to capitalize off of Guru’s death. They’re known for doing slick stuff. Like how they tried to release some REFLECTION ETERNAL STUFF around the same time Hi-Tek and Kweli dropped their new album.

    The only thing that isn’t making me outright call foul is that The Group home is behind it. And they do have history with Guru. But it still seems strange.

    • Don mcCaine

      “Who did you go to for production on this record?

      Me, and the party I’m with. We all provided everything you’re hearing right now. We have a bonus track with Premier (”The Legacy”), that helps to show where we comin’ from and who [Guru] was.”

      ^ think you missed that fam

      Also they have a song out there w/Jeru too.

      • Sha

        Nah. Didn’t miss that.

        The bonus track “The Legacy” is hella old. It was on their “Tear for the ghetto” album. So officially…. Preemo contributed 0% to this album. Kinda suspect.

      • Magnetic

        But just a bonus track tho’? Premo produced every joint on their first album, so that seems strange to me as well, but Guru and Premier did break up so I guess there was some issues which being a Gangstarr fan from way back in the 80′s killed me.

        As far as a tribute for Guru goes I’m calling XXL on that shit for real. They gave Guru an article but gave that clown Diddy the cover which to me was some fake sell out bullshit. Out of respect for real hip hop and principal alone, Guru should’ve got the cover for real.

      • Sha

        Also kinda strange when asked if Group Home is financially looking out for Guru’s fam with this project, Lil Dap says,

        “Well that’s on Babygrande’s behalf—it’s on their ass to make sure they do the right thing regarding this project, to make sure his son is taken care of. Our dedication towards him is to show the world what he’s done for us.”


        So you mean to tell me, you are straight capitalizing off of his death?! You are putting the money straight into your pockets? This was supposed to be your man.

        No Preemo. Guru’s dead. Yeah….Baby Grande is some shady cats. And I might put Lil Dap and them as more shady than the label.

        • Don mcCaine

          He has a point Sha, the label is supposed to handle the legal stuff, but they could waive or sign over their %’s…

          The way it’s looking, unless it’s Preme putting out throwaways, Guru ain’t gonna get any love.

          No one is buying ANYTHING Solar puts out.

          Anyone know the status on that ‘Dwyck’ re-make?

          @ Magnetic

          Yeah we tore into double x for that cover snafu. I even said they could’ve did alternate covers.

  • Q461

    Guru was def a huge loss to hip-hop. Its a shame most younger fans never felt his true impact to the game. Gang Starr always put out classic material and Guru’s Jazzmatazz shit was hot, but none of these young cats really know about that, case in point, we are the only 3 who commented on this article.

    Big ups to the Gang Starr Foundation ( Group home, Jeru, Primo etc) for holding down their man and trying to preserve his legacy. That Grouphome Livin Proof record was always in rotation on my stereo back in the day. I was just sayin this the other day, but thats some of Primo’s best beats of all time.

    • Don mcCaine

      ^ yep yep

      been playing ‘The Realness’ & ‘Baby Pa’ all day.

      Y’all should revisit the Premo news drop from the other day, I left a novel there to relate to…

  • Dick B.

    I agree that Guru isn’t given enough props.

    Group Know ain’t a thing without DJ Premier though.

  • TonyStakz!!!


  • caino

    The sad thing is, like $ky mentioned at the time of his passing more people seemed to be more worried that he might be gay than him actually dying, which is soo sad! Peeps need to educate themselves and look at the back catalogue….. Gang Starr for life!

  • Anonymous

    fuck that love the group home …………..

  • brooklyn

    i’love lildap for that group home 4 life…..

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