The death of a hip-hop “Guru”

Guru should be remembered for more than his hip-hop contributions.

Throughout his 20-plus year career, Guru gave hip-hop fans music that was not only entertaining but music that challenged them intellectually.

When people discuss hip-hop music and the top artists of all time, Guru should be mentioned. He produced quality music along with many other things that make him a hip-hop icon.

His music didn’t make you snap your fingers; it didn't come with a specific dance. That’s what separated him from many other artists.

Guru was one of the few hip-hop artists who have confidence in their style. He talked about real life issues such as relationships, family life and politics.

Guru, whose real name is Keith Elam, passed away April 20 at the age of 48, after a yearlong battle with cancer.

One half of the legendary hip-hop duo Gang Starr, alongside producer DJ Premier, Guru brought an intellectual sound to rap.

Known as “Gifted Universal Rhymes Unlimited”, Guru’s music was never truly recognized by mainstream America. He was a respectable artist among others in rap music. Guru worked with artists like Jadakiss, Scarface and Snoop Dogg during his career.

WARNING: Video contains explicit lyrics.


Guru released both group and solo albums, most notably the Jazzmatazz series, which had an R&B and jazz feel. Gang Starr released “Moment of Truth” in 1998 and a compilation album “Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr” in 1999. Both remain classic albums today.

He was working on a Gang Starr reunion album up until he became ill.

With his socially conscious lyrics alongside Premier’s beats, the tag team became an elite group in the underground hip-hop world. Guru’s music uplifted and inspired the black community and those across the world to live life the right way.

Outside of music, Guru had a passion for helping those less fortunate. He founded the organization Each One Counts, which helps underprivileged and abused children by providing them with better life opportunities.

With the death of Guru, hip-hop lost a talented artist. But it lost an even greater person.

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