Gimel “Young Guru” Keaton, Grammy Award-nominated engineer, DJ and music producer best known for his work with rapper Jay-Z, is joining the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music as an artist-in-residence for the 2013-14 academic year.
Young Guru is known for shaping some of the top talent in hip-hop. A frequent collaborator with Jay-Z, he has mixed 10 of the acclaimed rapper’s albums. Other highlights include recording work on Eminem’s Lose Yourself and Notorious BIG’s Let Me Get Down. He has also collaborated with Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Rihanna, among others.
“I would like our culture to understand its value and its reference point in history,” he said. “I want to preserve the culture and value of hip-hop so that people understand how big it is across the world. I want it to be fully understood by people, to be studied and revered the same way you would study jazz artists or opera at a class in a university.”
After years of success in the recording field — which has included multiplatinum albums and multiple Grammy nominations — Young Guru is now elevating the discourse of audio engineering philosophy, science and technology, emerging on the lecture circuit as one of the subject’s most distinguished speakers.
Beginning this fall, he will join the faculty of USC Thornton’s Contemporary Music Division as an artist-in-residence, a position occupied in previous years by guitarist Steve Miller, R&B performer Patrice Rushen and renowned Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier.
Because of his diverse background, Young Guru will work with a wide range of USC Thornton students in the Division of Contemporary Music, including those in the Popular Music, Music Industry and Music Technology programs. He will visit the University Park Campus and lecture students studying hip-hop, electronic music, music industry and songwriting. He will also consult with USC Thornton faculty on the future development of a new degree program in music production. His first lecture at USC Thornton will be available via Live Stream. Those interested in seeing the live stream may sign up at www.djyoungguru.com/livestream.
Young Guru’s appointment builds on his long-standing interest in education. As a teenage, he earned his moniker after teaching classes in African history at a community center. His charitable organization, The Young Guru Foundation, recently partnered with SAE Institute Capetown, South Africa and Heal the Hood to offer one-year scholarships in sound production. He has lectured at the New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Music, Emory University, Loyola University New Orleans, Middle Tennessee State University and Drexel University.