Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Respect The Architects: R.I.P. Guru (Of Gangstarr).

"Guru of Gangstarr Dies, Writes Letter To Supporters

Legendary Gangstarr artist Guru has succumbed to cancer after a lengthy bout with the disease.

The artist, born Keith Elam, died on Monday April 19. He was 43 years old.

Solar, Guru's partner, expressed sadness over the loss.

"The world has lost one of the best MCs and Hip-Hop icons of all-time -- my loyal best friend, partner, and brother, Guru," Solar said in a statement. "Guru has been battling cancer for well over a year and has lost his battle! This is a matter that Guru wanted private until he could beat it, but tragically, this did not happen. The cancer took him. Now the world has lost a great man and a true genius.

Guru, a Boston native, rose to fame in the 80's as one half of Gangstarr, the iconic rap group with DJ Premier.

The group released six highly regarded albums in their tenure until 2003 when they broke up. After his successful run with Premier, Guru founded 7 Grand Records with producer Solar.

Solar went on to tend to the rapper as he fell ill, seemingly controlling the flow of information and access to Guru. Many of his family members complained that they were denied their right to see him."

Read The Full Story Here: Allhiphop.Com

CHRIS LIVE AKA SHAKER SAYS: Since it's formative years, Hip Hop, as a culture, has had to deal with mortality and the specific complexities of untimely death. B.oogie D.own P.roduction co-founder DJ Scott La Rock was murdered in a hail of bullets in August of 1987 setting in motion a sad pattern of violence that culminated with the assassinations of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls and, sadly, still continues until this day.

Now, as Hip Hop grows older, we inevitably must face the loss of luminaries due to a host of new complications. Yes, Trouble T. Roy died in an accident and Eazy-E lost his battle with AIDS - so, it hasn't been all gun smoke - but, moving forward, we will increasingly see many of our pioneers pass from prolonged illnesses, diseases and, eventually, even age.

Whilst Livestyle is dedicated to the delicacy of refinement and the exploration and discovery of the joys of life, as a blogger, I am also obligated to acknowledge it's inherent duality ... particularly when it hits so close to our Hip Hop home. Yesterday the music world bid a premature farewell to G.ifted U.niversal R.hymes U.nlimited of the legendary group Gangstarr.

Mr. "It's Mostly The Voice" and his partner in crhyme, DJ Premier, expanded Hip Hop's musical vocabulary and crafted some of the most beloved and memorable compositions that we have ever heard. Arcane Jazz records were lifted from cobweb covered crates, sampled, looped and cut to precision by DJ Premier, setting an enviable stage for Guru to lay his unmistakable monotone soliloquies of excellence. Lyrically simple, but mentally nimble, Guru represented substance and could always be counted on to deliver compelling music to an intelligent audience. Guru was never a favorite MC of mine independently, however, as the voice of Gangstarr, he is responsible for some of my favorite songs of all time ... songs that have become a cherished part of the soundtrack to my turnstyle hopping, orange box cutter toting Brooklyn childhood. How real is that?

Speculation abounds with regard to the circumstances surrounding Guru's death - not so much about why or how he died, but, rather, with regard to the role that French artist MC Solar played in Guru's personal life during his final years and whether or not his responsible for some of the seemingly petty rhetoric found within Guru's goodbye letter to his fans - but, I refuse to indulge the rumors. I had the pleasure of meeting this man a few times, so, instead, I choose to eulogize and honor an incredibly influential pioneer and remember some of his best work. My sincerest prayers go out Guru's family during this most trying of times. GOD Bless. R.I.P. Keith "Guru" Elam. Respect the architects!



Gang Starr - Mass Appeal
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