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R.I.P. Guru

Toward the end of March it was reported that legendary rapper/producer Keith Elam, aka Guru, had come out of a three-week long coma and was in a stable condition. Now, reports are coming in that the hip-hop star has lost his lengthy battle with cancer, and has passed away aged 43.


Guru’s partner, Solar, has offered the following statement: “This is a matter that Guru wanted private until he could beat it, but tragically, this did not happen,” he said. “The cancer took him. Now the world has lost a great man and a true genius." Guru lost his battle with cancer at some point during Monday (April 19).


A lengthy letter written by Guru has been published on Allhiphop, which offers some of his thoughts on how he wishes his legacy to be handled after his death:


I, Guru, am writing this letter to my fans, friends and loved ones around the world. I have had a long battle with cancer and have succumbed to the disease. I have suffered with this illness for over a year. I have exhausted all medical options.


 I have a non-profit organization called Each One Counts dedicated to carrying on my charitable work on behalf of abused and disadvantaged children from around the world and also to educate and research a cure for this terrible disease that took my life. I write this with tears in my eyes, not of sorrow but of joy for what a wonderful life I have enjoyed and how many great people I have had the pleasure of meeting.


My loyal best friend, partner and brother, Solar, has been at my side through it all and has been made my health proxy by myself on all matters relating to myself. He has been with me by my side on my many hospital stays, operations, doctors visits and stayed with me at my home and cared for me when I could not care for myself. Solar and his family is my family and I love them dearly and I expect my family, friends, and fans to respect that, regardless to anybody's feelings on the matter. It is my wish that counts. This being said I am survived by the love of my life, my sun KC, who I trust will be looked after by Solar and his family as their own. Any awards or tributes should be accepted, organized approved by Solar on behalf myself and my son until he is of age to except on his own.


I do not wish my ex-DJ to have anything to do with my name likeness, events tributes etc. connected in anyway to my situation including any use of my name or circumstance for any reason and I have instructed my lawyers to enforce this. I had nothing to do with him in life for over 7 years and want nothing to do with him in death. Solar has my life story and is well informed on my family situation, as well as the real reason for separating from my ex-DJ. As the sole founder of GangStarr, I am very proud of what GangStarr has meant to the music world and fans. I equally am proud of my Jazzmatazz series and as the father of Hip-Hop/Jazz. I am most proud of my leadership and pioneering efforts on Jazzmatazz 4 for reinvigorating the Hip-Hop/Jazz genre in a time when music quality has reached an all time low. Solar and I have toured in places that I have never been before with GangStarr or Jazzmatatazz and we gained a reputation for being the best on the planet at Hip-Hop/Jazz, as well as the biggest and most influential Hip-Hop/Jazz record with Jazzmatazz 4 of the decade to now. The work I have done with Solar represents a legacy far beyond its time. And we as a team were not afraid to push the envelope. To me this is what true artists do! As men of honor we stood tall in the face of small mindedness, greed, and ignorance. As we fought for music and integrity at the cost of not earning millions and for this I will always be happy and proud, and would like to thank the million fans who have seen us perform over the years from all over the world. The work I have done with Solar represents a legacy far beyond its time and is my most creative and experimental to date. I hope that our music will receive the attention it deserves as it is some of the best work I have done and represents some of the best years of my life.


R.I.P. Guru



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Sad, sad day.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Andrew_Martin/me.jpg Andrew_Martin

RIP, Guru. That letter clears some things up.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/brandon/216_browser_clut.gif brandon

It kind of does, Brandon. But it's also ridiculously depressing to read that part regarding Gang Starr and Premo. It's difficult to believe that Guru held a grudge even as he was on his deathbed.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Andrew_Martin/me.jpg Andrew_Martin

I agree. It's a bit hard to read, but then, we weren't there.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/brandon/216_browser_clut.gif brandon

True. Just depressing and frustrating, really.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Andrew_Martin/me.jpg Andrew_Martin

Man, what a tough story overall. Very sad news. Step in the Arena is one of my favorite hip-hop albums of all time, so while it sucks bad enough that Guru is gone, it's just as sad that there's all this tension around his death.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/mfiander/profile.jpg mfiander

So sad him and Premier never reconciled. 'Hard to Earn' is probably my favorite work he's done.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

R.I.P Guru....Truly a legend and one of Hip Hops Finest and Brightest....Peace god

EuGenius SOL

Jazzmatazz was mind blowing too.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

^Yeah it was. *sigh* Listening to "Moment of Truth" right now.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Andrew_Martin/me.jpg Andrew_Martin

Sad, sad news

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Thumbu/tumblr_kxam1bj7qq1qa1cnpjpg.jpg Thumbu

This is a huge loss for hip-hop. And like Dave said, it's too bad that him and Premier weren't on good terms. They made so many great albums together, Daily Operation and Hard To Earn being some of their best.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Max/AM02.jpg Max

very sad

/site_media/uploads/images/users/paulgiunta/avatarjpg.jpg paulgiunta

Questlove weighs in -

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Andrew_Martin/me.jpg Andrew_Martin

I'll be listening to Gang Starr albums all day today.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Frotoon/brotherragejpg.jpg Frotoon

Terrible news, RIP Guru.
Step in the arena was the first hip hop album I owned, still love that sh.t so much.. the first 3 jazzmatazz records were amazing as well, but I gotta admit I never really gave #4 a chance, I may have to now....
Anybody know what the deal was with he and preemo? Like why the apparent animosity on his side and Premier refusing to admit GS was done on the other?


Sad day, we lost a top five true MC from the "Golden Era" of Hip-Hop. Yeah his deal with Primo is unfortunate, the behind the scenes Hip-Hop scene is grimy and relations are lost in the fire sometimes, but to me those Gang Starr albums were major outlines for me and what "REAL" Hip-Hop is!! -Thank you Guru, R.I.P. -c-lo


Conspiracy? The author of this article seems to think so.

I kind of hope that Solar wrote that letter and not Guru, like Andrew said, sad to think that he holds a grudge on his deathbed, especially after they created such awesome music together.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/BFD/chuck close.jpg BFD

/site_media/uploads/images/users/BFD/chuck close.jpg BFD

Very sad day. Questlove among others have expressed doubts over the legitimacy of that letter seeing as Guru was in a coma - I prefer to take their side of the story.

We all know about the super smooth monotone but I always felt like Guru was underrated as a lyricist b/c he preferred to keep things straight forward and ground level in an era where everyone was trying to out-complex each other (cough = Jeru).

There was a period of time when you couldn’t go to a hiphop party without hearing one of his classic anthems like “DWYCK”, “Mass Appeal” or “You Know My Steez”. We lost one of the best today. RIP

/site_media/uploads/images/users/BTW/btw-berlinjpg.jpg BTW

Hey man, no need to chirp Jeru. Also, I would argue that Afu more-so personified that sinuously complex style than Jeru. And I still hear DWYCK in the warmup to most hip hop shows I go to..
I REALLY hope that letter is illegitimate, reading the line about his 'former DJ' honestly pains me physically..


"Come Clean" is one the 10 best hiphop tracks of all time to me and Jeru was certainly a dope MC in his own right (even his debut verse on "You Da Man" is classic) but he got a little ridiculous with all the super scientifical stuff and I was mainly using him as an example of the polar opposite of Guru's content.
Guru and Primo should also be noted/praised for their generosity. How many younger MC's got their first real shine on a Gangstarr album? = many, many.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/BTW/btw-berlinjpg.jpg BTW

Very sad to see him go. I've never listened to hip hop much but I will go and listen to his music in honor of his life and who he is and was in this life.


this is a very cool thing that Guru did.
i feel this and am really gr8ful for it.
om guru om
om guru om
om guru om

jaik miller

There are also reports that everything coming from Solar is complete BS -

Apparently Guru never did come out of his coma, so I have doubts about the veracity that Guru wrote that letter. I'm also suspicious of this organization Solar set up.

Whatever the truth - it just seems like a very sad situation for all those who were close to Guru.


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