A Letter to Guru – Read Between the Lines

When news first broke about Gang Starr’s Guru suffering from a heart attack and slipping into a coma, my first thought was damn, “No More Mr. Nice Guy?” I couldn’t imagine a world without “Premier & the Guru” together, so I let my “Conscious Be Free” and focused on “Positivity.”

Over the years, I’ve gained a lot of “Knowledge” listening to Gang Starr. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned is that life is about “Cause and Effect.” If you focus on the negative you can some times make those things “Manifest.” So I just put on some “Jazz Music” and pretended I was “DJ Premier in Deep Concentration.”

Still, I couldn’t help but think about the worst because so many times people are “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow.” If that was the case, I wondered to myself: “Who’s Gonna Take the Weight?” A lot of MCs today don’t have any “Form of Intellect,” and say shit “Just to Get a Rep.”

Guru, on the other hand, was always someone with “Precisely the Right Rhymes.” You could just “Check the Technique” and see that a lot of what he said was “Beyond Comprehension.” Every time he “Step in the Arena” Guru always had a “Game Plan” for the “Execution of a Chump.”

It just sucks that so many kids ask me “The Meaning of the Name” and I have to explain that Guru stands for Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal. I know some cats are too young to know of his “Street Ministry,” but “As I Read My S-A” I just hope that you think of Guru tonight when you “Say Your Prayers.”

It’s hard for me not to “Take It Personal” when tragedy befalls “The Illest Brother.” I remember when I first heard “Ex Girl to Next Girl,” I just loved the way Guru “Flip the Script,” like fuck what ya heard, “I’m the Man.”

There’s “No Shame in My Game,” hip-hop is my “Daily Operation” and I live this “24-7-365.” Guru is just such a “Hardcore Composer,” and it’s “Much Too Much” for me to deal with the “Conspiracy” and people spreading rumors about his passing. I don’t even smoke but I want to “Take Two and Pass” but instead retreat to “The Place Where We Dwell” and just “Stay Tuned.”

Aiight Chill…” I just caught a few “Words From the Nutcracker” and he said Guru’s doing well but he still has “ALONGWAYTOGO.” That’s what’s up, good to hear he took “The First Step.”

Earlier someone asked me what I liked about Guru and told them to listen to “DWYCK,” but they still didn’t get it so I told them it’s “Mostly Tha Voice.” Whenever he was on the mic it sounded like he was “Comin’ for Datazz” like, “Now You’re Mine.” I guess that’s why he started “Blowin’ Up the Spot” by saying “Suckas Need Bodyguards.”

See, Guru always managed to “Speak Ya Clout” without “Tonz ‘o’ Gunz.” He just abided by the “Code of the Streets” and proved why respect in this game is so Hard to Earn.

Even though Guru was from Boston he always spit that “New York Strait Talk.” The brother put in “Work” from “JFK 2 LAX” and that’s what made him hip-hop “Royalty.” I mean, if you’ve ever listened to “Above the Clouds” you’ll see why “The Rep Grows Bigga.”

Another track that helped Guru reach his “Moment of Truth” was “Robbin Hood Theory.” If you call yourself a Gang Starr fan, “My Advice 2 You” is to listen to that so you can learn about “The Militia” and the difference between “B.I. vs. Friendship.” It’s like real fans don’t download albums, they respect good music, so “Next Time” you go to “The Mall” be sure to cop a couple Gang Starr classic. Bring a few friends, too, and “Make Em Pay.”

See, true fans respect “Skills” and either “Put Up or Shut Up.” Downloading is cool but it can lead to “Deadly Habitz” that just “Sabotage” the game “Rite Where U Stand.” It’s like dealing with a “Nice Girl, Wrong Place.”

In This Life…” Gang Starr are “The Ownerz” and they always “Playtawin.” So don’t think of this as a premature “Eulogy.” I just been “Zonin’” ever since I heard about Guru’s heart attack, and going through his catalog with you just gave me “Peace of Mine.”

Sincerely yours,

Anslem Samuel

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  • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

    Excellent! Well done!

    When I heard the news, I immediately started playing Gang Starr and zoned out to Guru’s delivery over Preemo’s beats.

    • http://www.emcdl.com EmCDL

      Co sign, did the same thing. I only have three of their albums so far, I need to collect on the rest of the ones I don’t have. Hard To Earn still my favorite ish so far.

    • ApolloKid551

      I did the same my brother, it makes you realize which i already knew how great Guru & DJ Premier were togather, When i was listening to Step In The Area album i just blacked out on that joint just every single track is classic material, I also thnk that Guru don’t get his proper shine as a great MC he gets overshadowed by Premier alot, His voice & delivery was 2nd to none, his command on the mic was dominate, his technical skill were at a very high level & his content & topics were on point it ranges from Sucka’s Need Bodyguards to Words I Mainifest to JFK to L.A., he was very diverse & very sinple, He was and always will be in my arguement of the greatest MC’s of all time, K.O.S….

  • Ikeberg $lim

    Soooo many classics. But my favroite songs are Soliloquy of Chaos & B.I. vs Friendship(I’m a big M.O.P stan). Get well GURU. Also he’s never really been mentioned when the discussion of top lyricists is brought up. Damn shame.

    • DBlock

      because he isnt one of the game’s top lyricists. it aint hard.

      guru + preemo = hand + glove. but for once, let’s avoid the time-honored tradition of overblowing an MC’s status post-mortem. after all, the g-u-r-u’s still alive!

      • Ikeberg $lim

        Not overblowing his status. He is a top lyricist to me. Not in my top 5, but he is worthy of dicussion. I also agree with guru + preemo = glove + hand. But the same could be said about rakim & eric b.

  • http://xxlmag.com hello

    i think this post is a bit wrong considering he is fighting for his life. fair enough you are respecting the work but its like he’s already died,

    hope you have a speedy recovery Guru and hope to see you back on the mic soon.

  • tim duncan

    maybe the corniest blog post ever

    • GURU

      Shutup and pay your respects

    • DV8


      Mr. Samuel just gave you a history lesson my friend.

      I suggest you play every track up there and soak up game on how this hiphop thing is really done.

  • Deadly MIME

    Aw all this morning I’ve been jaming his Gangstarr shit just cause I was thinking about him. Hope hes doing better.

  • Mikey T.

    Nicely done, Anslem.


  • cshelton

    Unless you got paid for this blog in excrement, it was a complete abortion.

    • Won1

      wish ur mother woulda gotten one

  • Lamene

    Words well spoken from a true HIP HOP Fan. Awsome piece!!!!!!

    Peace Anslem.

  • 11KAP

    Goodlook, son. Respect.

  • dbys12

    my favorite gangstarr joint is Mass Appeal that beat was so dope

  • capcobra

    good shit..get well soon champ.

  • oskamadison

    Creative and well-written. I wish Guru a full and speedy recovery.

  • DJ

    I dont understand why he is not in more peoples top 5 MC’s. He is far more overlooked than people like Luda. He has arguably 4-5 classic albums and so many memorable lyrics, not just one liners that stick in your head, but whole songs, I probably still have the whole Step in the Arena album memorized. I was about 10 when it came out and I know who he is, so no excuse for a hip hop fan not knowing who he is, all these young kids know who BIG and Pac is, Guru has far more classic material than both and is higher on my list than both.

  • http://sociallightsounds.com Arablak

    I couldn’t have said it better.

  • http://www.philaflava.com Beat Bitter

    You faggots. Why don’t you come up with your own shit.

  • http://www.epicwinftw.com smuggo

    biting the philaflava.com that feeds you, faggots

  • http://www.jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

    This blog is an excellent syllabus for those who want to do the homework on Guru, Premier and the GangStarr collective.

    Great concept, Anslem! Looking forward to seeing you apply this format to other deserving artists. It got my attention.

  • http://philaflava.com credit

    philaflava.com/forum is watching you watching us

  • The real chris

    Glad guru doing better and hell for what i heard so far from him he a dope rapper and has my vote as a elite mc.and the rap game is missing alot of that currently.

  • OG Matt Herbz

    Damn…this is just reminding me that I’ve got some gaps in my Gangstarr collection. Everything from Daily Operation to The Ownerz is on lock, though. Hope dude can pull through; that’s tough.

    –OG Matt Herbz–

  • bongolock

    very dope

    get well soon keithy e

    i used to love that manifest video when it came on yo. it was like he was all up in the camera and enunciating every word

  • http://Philaflava.com PhilipFlavor

    Philaflava owns your soul.

    • http://www.nakedwithsockson.com Anslem

      What the heck are you Philaflava cats talking about? I never even heard of this site until today.

      Are y’all saying they did something similar to this? If so, I had no clue. I even just checked out the site and didn’t see anything.

      Somebody fill me in.


    Bitin’ ass Anslem

    • http://www.nakedwithsockson.com Anslem

      Bitin what, dude? Like I said, I never been to your/that site. Why don’t you post a link to what you’re talking about so I and everyone else can see what you’re talking about because other than that I don’t have a clue.

  • whaaa

    My prays go out to Guru, I was never really into Gangstarr(yes we have the freedom to listen to whatever we want), but I have always respected them and him especially…get better, and dude was right this article makes it sound like he’s already dead…

  • CFA’s Crack Addiction

    Bitin’ ass bloggers. Their blogs i seize them, then try em for treason.

  • Lu Galasso

    That was brilliant! A nice way to remember and pay homage to one of the best to ever do it. Admittedly I didn’t get into Gangstarr until later in their careers but when I got in I was hooked. Above the Clouds is one of my favourite tunes of all time.

    My thoughts and prayers are extended to Guru and his family and friends. Praying for the best and blessings bestowed upon him and his fam in the worst.

  • HERM


    I don’t have much in my Gangstarr collection I’ll admit, but I’m a fan, Hard to Earn is my shit. I was waiting for you to incorporate Brainstorm into the whole thing. “It’s like an outrage, when punks step on stage/with the weak show, weak flow, and still make dough.”

    Get well soon, Guru!

  • Power I Bismillah

    Peace to the God 7-21-18-21!(Guru) Get well soon beloved. Excellent job by the writer too. Very creative…

  • http://zachwolfe.com Zach Wolfe

    Killed this, Love It!

  • MikeD

    You know my steez Anslem! Whattup XXL????

  • http://www.facebook.com/maxprofit Max Profit

    Much Respect Due to Guru, a Hip Hop Hall of Fame member. If There was one.

  • http://www.sneakypeteworld.com sneaky pete

    dope. EXCEPT no mention of my favorite GangStarr song: Mass Appeal?!!

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