Tuesday, April 20, 2010

R.I.P. Guru of Gangstarr

Hip-Hop has lost another pioneer, legend and soldier in the genre. Guru passed away yesterday (April 19th) after battling cancer. He spent some time in a coma after suffering from a heart attack in late February. I'm glad to have met Guru on two occasions and to have sat down and talked to him for hours. He was very genuine, humble, and leveled with you. I had a copy of Hard To Earn and the 12'' of Mass Appeal autographed by him, but they both were stolen.

The following is an excerpt from DJ Premier's blog. Read the full passage here.

Guru, born Keith Elam, rose to fame in the 80’s as the founder of the legendary rap group GangStarr. The group released the classic single Words I Manifest followed by their critically acclaimed debut album No More Mr. Nice Guy (1989) and the classic album Step In The Arena (1991). Guru was the first artist to truly blend Hip-Hop with Live Jazz beginning in 1993, and seeing the vast influences his Jazzmatazz concept has had on the industry, it is clear that Guru’s musical contributions have been way ahead of their time. Guru has worked with such great artists as Herbie Hancock, Isaac Hayes, Donald Byrd, Ramsey Lewis, Roy Ayers, Chaka Kahn, Branford Marsalis, David Sanborn, Bob James, Erykah Badu, The Roots, Common, Angie Stone, Jamiroquai, Macy Gray and Damien Marley, to name a few. Despite the fact that Guru isn’t hailing from New York, he is noted as a pioneer of the New York sound and true lyrical Hip-Hop. Guru later on joined forces with hit producer Solar and formed his label 7 Grand Records with the goal to keep “real” Hip-Hop alive.


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