We Don’t Need Your “Tribute To” Anything, Thanks
As you’re all aware by now hip-hop lost another voice earlier this week, as one Keith “Guru” Elam lost his bout with cancer (where the hell did that come from?) on Tuesday. I’ll refrain from giving my own thoughts on the handling of the situation… scratch that, I’ll just say this: somebody from within Guru’s camp is handling things in a very bitchmade manner, and eventually it will all be exposed.
Anyways, with Guru’s death landing on the unofficial weed holiday, not only was I hit with an increased amount of marijuana-inspired music, but I was hit with Guru tithes as well. I’m sure this will be taken the wrong way (as is the case when it comes to these shits), but I feel that a plethora of tribute songs to Guru aren’t really needed right now in our lives. Not to say that all of them are done in poor taste, but let’s be honest: the last thing fans really need is a rush job “freestyle” over an old Gang Starr instrumental, especially given the curious circumstances surrounding his death.
Back before everything a simple click away (word to this copy of Kick Ass I plan on watching this weekend), artists were forced to sit in the lab to create a song to a fallen artist. Shit, Sauce Money… excuse me, Puffy danced his way into the public eye with that awful tribute to Biggie twelve years ago, and he hasn’t left since. Now all you need is Garage Band and an instrumental you can swack from the finest of message boards, and a couple minutes later you have a song ready to aurally violate the rest of the world with. News flash, rapsters: the world doesn’t want – and in some cases doesn’t care for – a Guru tribute from you. Most come off as a desperate cry for attention, with the truly genuine ones getting lost in the shuffle due to the dilution of tracks in the rap gene pool.
Plus, it’s not like anybody is going to really remember which rapster did what song 24 hours later. The Internets has made things so ADHD-esque I couldn’t even tell you what dropped in the past couple hours, much less last week. The only thing that comes to mind was the video for Ciara’s “Ride,” and that was for the obvious reasons.
Hell, I’ll even admit that while I maintained a level respect for Guru, I always preferred DJ Premier between the two. And once Guru split from Primo to start dealing with Solar, I never gave three-eighths of a shit toward that work. Primo’s work with Christina Aguilera and the Teriyaki Boyz of all people were far more interesting than anything Solar and Guru did together. Call me insensitive about it (among other things), but I know I wasn’t the only one who felt a little indifferent about Guru passing, particularly when this Solar shit popped up. I wasn’t aware of Baldhead Slick’s bout with myeloma, and the fact that it was just now revealed he had myeloma to begin with is indicative of some more slimy shit I really don’t care to put any thought into.
Yes, Guru’s passing was tragic and unexpected. But no, we shouldn’t be so quick to jump the gun and drop a tribute song after tribute song, especially when Mister Cee’s Guru dedication > every other Guru dedication thus far. At this point I’d listen to the poetical eloquence of my old junior high school classmate Ray J wax poetics on the science of tricking than that shit. Fuck Ray J.