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RIP Keith "Guru" Elam: Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal

By Zonews
Apr 20, 2010 - 11:19 AM

Instead of preaching death in my songs, I breathe life.
- Guru, "Discipline"

Keith Elam, better known to the hip-hop world as Gang Starr emcee Guru, passed away Monday following a long bout with cancer. He was 43.

I'm not one for eulogizing celebrities or postmortem fellation, but it goes without saying, this is a really sad day for hip-hop. I'm also not an obituary writer, so I'll keep this brief (you can read a proper obituary here). Though this may seem obligatory--you can't dedicate a website (or your career) to hip-hop and not note the legacy of Gang Starr--I say it with sincerity that this is a huge loss for the music world. Guru is one of rap's undisputed G.O.A.T.s. One of the few hip-hop artists to have a successful career that spanned more than two decades, Guru leaves behind a catalog of influential work, both as a member of Gang Starr and for his Jazzmatazz series where he collaborated with jazz and soul artists.

I was maybe 6 years old when I saw "Words I Manifest" on Yo! MTV Raps (still one of my favorite songs to this day). Guru's distinct, "wild with my monotone style" voice became one of my favorites and one of the most celebrated in hip-hop. I found myself quoting his lyrics all the time, be it saying quirky shit like, "Lemonade was a popular drink, and it still is" or adopting "Ex-girl to the Next Girl" as my motto when I got dumped. His wisdom-laced rhymes are the reason myself and many others love hip-hop. I hope that these young aspiring rappers who only know Lil' Wayne and Drake see "RIP" Guru as a Twitter trend topic, download Full Clip and use it for inspiration.

RIP Guru.

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