Keith Elam alias Guru, the mastermind of GangStarr has passed away. He was 43. Elam’s friend and longtime partner Solar said on DJ Premier’s site that Guru was suffering from cancer for the past one year. The disease had resulted in a cardiac arrest which had resulted in Guru going into a coma state.
"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. "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."
Twitter recorded some of the first tributes. Rapper Heavy D said, "FOR GURU!! I loved my friend he went away from me, nothing more to say the poem ends, soft as it began - I loved my friend, Langston Hughe."
The first moment of glory for Guru in the music industry was in the 80s when he launched Gang Starr with a dream debut, No more Mr. Nice Guy which was followed by the classic of 1991 Step in the Arena.
Jazzmatazz Vol 1 was a project where not only did he start off on his own but also did a fusion between jazz and rap. Hip hop artists and jazz legends including Donald Byrd, Branford Marsalis and Ronny Jordan teamed up to form some wild collaborations.
The vol 1 of 1993 was followed by three more volumes which had appearances by Jamiroquai, Erykah Badu, Macy Gray, the Roots and Isaac Hayes.
Towards the end Guru wrote a farewell for his fans with a tribute to Solar and his family and particularly his son KC.
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.
"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."