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Today In Hip-Hop: Guru of Gang Starr Passes Away

On this day, April 19, in hip-hop history…


2010: It’s been three years since the passing of Keith Elam, better known as guru of Gang Starr. The term lyricist gets thrown around a lot in hip-hop. There are few who can wear the title and gain respect after their death. DJ Premier’s partner was a seasoned veteran that dropped consistent rhymes adhering to the flavor of east coast hip-hop. His legacy lived on in dedications from artists like Marco Polo and Nitty Scott, MC. A true fan of those early ’90s classics soaked up Guru’s street knowledge, and is very much an alternative to today’s mainstream hip-hop.

Backed by Primo’s polished production, Guru weaved his narratives on classics like “Work,” “Full Clip” and “Moment of Truth.” The duo laid the groundwork for a vision of rap that many followed—organic jazzy beats, smooth rhymes and a pure message. When those two were in the studio together, everything seemed to flow nicely.

Guru helped pioneer a musical movement with conscious hip-hop. He will forever be remembered for his 20-plus years contributing to the game. “So like they say, every dog has it’s day / And like they say / God works in a mysterious way / So I pray remembering the days of my youth / As I prepare to meet my moment of truth.”

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