Tasha Denham was an employee of Guru & Solar’s 7 Grand Records label as well as the mother of one of Solar’s children.
In an exclusive (and lengthy!) interview with Hip Hop DX, she sheds quite a bit of light on the violent, controlling nature of Guru & Solar’s partnership.
DX: As a close associate, an employee, all these things. When was the first time you started to notice that things were not normal or healthy?
Tasha Denham: [Pauses] I think it came pretty early on, really. One of the defining moments to me when I knew something was…it was the way Solar spoke to Guru. It was always down to him. He really belittled him, and would do it in front of other people. This wasn’t something he just did in private. He is a member of The [Five Percent] Nation of Gods and Earths, as is Guru. He would use that against him, to bring him down. It was important to both of them, very important. I believe Guru’s a pleaser; he liked to make people happy. [Solar] would tell him that the Nation of Gods and Earths are ashamed of him, they’re disappointed in him. That he doesn’t live up to their teachings… There was a lot of times they’d get into arguments over it. He’d sit, and Guru would try to defend himself, and Solar would just get more and more irate over it.
There was one night we were at Guru’s house. I was about three months pregnant at the time. Guru kept defending himself. Guru actually stood up and kind of got in Solar’s face about it. Next thing I know, Solar punched him in the face. From that point in time, he just started kicking him and hitting him. Guru was fighting back, he wasn’t just sitting there being a punk, but at the same time, Guru had severe asthma. He didn’t have his inhaler. He started really hyper-ventilating and really having a hard time, and Solar kept beating him. It wasn’t a fight anymore, it was beating him. I felt that it was so bad that I got in between the two of them and broke it up, because I knew he wouldn’t hit me of course. At that point in time, I was pregnant with his child.
Instead of stopping and making sure his partner, friend, “brother” – as he calls him was okay, Guru was sitting there saying, “I’m having an asthma attack. I need to go to the hospital. I think I’m gonna have a heart attack.” He’s bleeding, really shaking. Instead of stopping and calming himself down, [Solar] told me, “We’re leaving,” and goes and gets in the car and drives me back to the city. [He] didn’t call and check on Guru, didn’t make sure he was alright. That’s probably one of the first times I was like, “Wow, this relationship is really unhealthy. It’s a really sick relationship.” After that, if I didn’t physically see it myself…I saw [Guru] punched in the face numerous times with no provocation. It [would just be] that he’d get upset with something Guru would say and punch him in the face. I know he knocked a tooth out of Guru’s. I know he gave him a black eye [so Guru would] have to wear glasses for photo-shoots and concerts. To listen to [Solar] talk to [Guru], you’d think he was talking to a child sometimes. Guru would tell me how bad that hurt him. He’d say, “Back when we were just friends, he never would have spoken to me this way. He always treated me with respect. Now that we’re doing this record label, he has no respect. He treats me this way.” There was a fear in him. Solar had distanced him from everything in his life: his family, his ex-partner, the whole Gang Starr Foundation and the music industry, really, as a whole. Guru spent a lot of time alone. A lot of time, if he wasn’t with Solar, he was by himself. It was his son or Solar.
Check out our coverage of the controversy surrounding Guru’s last months.
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