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GURU from Gangstarr RIP 1961-2010

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GURU from Gangstarr RIP 1961-2010


The influential rapper Guru has died in hospital aged 43 following a battle with cancer.

The Boston-born MC, real name Keith Elam, was hospitalised last month after he suffered a heart attack and had been in a coma.

Guru rose to fame in the 80s as one half of Gang Starr, the conscious rap group he founded with Grammy award-winning producer DJ Premier.

Gang Starr was credited with the birth of the Hip-Hop/Jazz genre.

A statement issued by his friend and producer Solar said: 'Guru has passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer.

'Guru suffered from the malicious illness for over a year and after numerous special treatments under the supervision of medical specialists failed, the legendary MC succumbed to the disease.'

Gang Starr released six highly regarded albums in their time together until 2003 until their acrimonious split.


After his successful run with Premier, which included classic songs such as Jazz Thing which featured in Spike Lee film Mo' Better Blues, Guru founded 7Grand Records with producer Solar.

Bizarrely Solar released a letter alleged to have been written by Guru to his fans, but the tone of the letter has led fans to doubt its authenticity.

Guru released six albums with DJ Premier

The statement said: '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 letter also contained a pointed reference to former bandmate DJ Premier.

Guru allegedly wrote: '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.'

Following the split Guru released a series of Jazzmatazz albums where he teamed up with classic jazz, soul and hip hop artists.

His Best of Jazzmatazz album included collaborations with hip-hop band The Roots, Brand New Heavies singer N’Dea Davenport, Chaka Khan, Branford Marsalis, Donald Byrd, Kelis, Ramsey Lewis, Erykah Badu, Lonnie Liston Smith, and Jamiroquai.

He continued to tour the world with a band and producer Solar.

The rapper is survived by a son, KC.


On February 28, 2010, Guru went into cardiac arrest and, following surgery, fell into a coma..It was claimed that Guru had briefly wakened from his coma but died on April 19, 2010, aged 48, from multiple myeloma. Elam was survived by his parents, three siblings and a son, Keith Casim.

Solar claimed that Guru had awoken from his coma whilst DJ Premier and members of the rapper's family stated that he never regained consciousness from his coma..Guru's family claimed that Solar prevented them from contact with Guru during the latter's final illness. The validity of the death-bed letter has been challenged by Guru's family.


DJ Premier produced a tribute mix to Guru and has released a public letter along with Guru's sister Patricia. Harry J. Elam, Guru's older brother, wrote a personal memoir in remembrance of his brother, Keith “Guru” Elam, published in the Boston Globe on April 23, 2010.

Studio albums

No More Mr. Nice Guy (1989)

Step in the Arena (1991)

Daily Operation (1992)

Hard to Earn (1994)

Moment of Truth (1998)

The Ownerz (2003)


Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr (1999)

Mass Appeal: Best of Gang Starr (2006)


Words I Manifest/DJ Premier In Deep Concentration

Positivity/No More Mr. Nice Guy (Remix)

"Just To Get A Rep"/"Who's Gonna Take The Weight?"

"Love Sick"/"What You Want This Time?"/"Credit Is Due"

"Step In The Arena"/"Check The Technique (Remix)"/"Credit Is Due"

"2 Deep"/"Take It Personal"/"Ex Girl to Next Girl"/"B.Y.S."/"Soliloquy of Chaos"

"Code of the Streets"/"Speak Ya Clout"


"Mass Appeal"

"Suckas Need Bodyguards"/"The ? Remainz"/"Now You're Mine"


"You Know My Steez"/"So Wassup?"

"The Militia"/"You Know My Steez (Three Men And A Lady Remix)"

"1/2 & 1/2"/"Gangsta Bounce"

"Full Clip"/"Dwyck"

"All 4 Tha Ca$h"/"The ? Remainz"

"Discipline"/"Just To Get A Rep"


"Nice Girl, Wrong Place"/"Rite Where U Stand"

"The Ownerz"/"Same Team, No Games"

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New album dropped today - can't even get past the intro...too many bangers

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