Guru Dies, Age 43: “If I wasn’t kicking rhymes, I’d be kicking down doors, creating social change and defending the poor.”

Dear Readers,

This is a tribute piece for Guru, Keith Elam, who passed away Monday, April 19, succumbing to the cancer he had been battling for months. Baller Status has the full coverage.

Forever can be a sad thing.

Especially now. While we have them, we should respect them. Let’s take this sad moment to recognize how many of Hip Hop’s doula’s we still have–those men and women who birthed the 20th century incarnation of urban culture out of the American jungle, finding those of us lost in the wasteland a home.

Remember ladies, when he told us to expect nothing less than the best baby doll, because you’re royalty?

Or what about when he told us about mass appeal, the sickest anti-sell out song ever. Meditative. Embodied.

My high school sweetheart listened to Soliloquy of Chaos on repeat, for weeks we made love to that song. But that’s how it was for him, hot in those streets, and that’s how it was for me, chaos at home, did you come to see the show or see the stupid nigga playoffs, killing you and killing me…Here goes the instrumental, for my heads.

I’m in the cafe, just got into this convo about Guru with two nice gentlemen, and we talked about relevance. How Gangstarr will always be relevant, how even their very last album was mad relevant. And we talked about his hold out against capitalism, his age, how young he was, how much he travailed against just doing it for what sells. That was his Robin Hood Theory.

What about how he reached with both arms for jazz, pressing hands and albums with respect for the lineage. Jazzmatazz, volumes 1 and 2. Here’s a cut Guru dedicates to his unborn child, featuring Amel Larrieux.

In short, the REAL, HIP HOP, MC’ING and DJ’ING. I guess right now we should start the show.

RIP Guru. We already miss you. And we already thank you. Your legacy is so strong. Decades strong. Timeless.

Peace,
Roopa

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