Guru’s Family Speaks on Rapper’s Death

The confusion over the death of pioneering rapper Guru (born Keith Elam) continues. Today (April 21) his family issued a press release contradicting many of the statements made by the Gang Starr MC’s business partner Solar.

As previously reported, Solar sent out a press release yesterday containing a letter he claims Guru wrote before passing. However, the Elam family said that Guru was in a coma since mid-February until his death and never regained consciousness, leading many fans and associates to believe that Guru did not write the letter.

“Not trying to bring negativity into the situation,” ?uestlove of The Roots wrote on his Twitter account. “But I do NOT believe he wrote that letter. 1) he was in a coma. 2) HE WAS IN A COMA!”

Solar addressed the claims of fraudulence in an interview with MTV. “I mean, it’s ridiculous,” he said. “Guru knew this time would come. The great artist he is, us being intelligent people, we knew there was going to have to be a statement relating to this. Unfortunately, there are those who have the wicked agenda, and just can’t accept that Guru and I have handled this thing as men and not children, and this is how men of honor handle their business. He arranged his press release. I’m the repository of Guru’s life story. I recorded his life story for book and for movies. We’re not foolish. He was diagnosed with cancer well over a year ago. It’s been operations and so forth. It would be ridiculous for him to not be prepared.”

The Elam family also addressed claims in Solar’s press release that Guru started a non-profit organization called Each One Counts, that’s dedicated to helping abused and disadvantaged children from around the world, as well as educating and researching a cure for myeloma, which the rapper suffered from.

“The family is not aware of any foundations established by Guru,” the Elams said. “We know and understand that countless fans want to express their condolences and love and, to that end, we are planning a memorial event in the near future that will be all-inclusive. Please look for further details from the family as they become available.”

The Elam family said that Guru suffered from multiple myeloma for over a year. Accrued complications from this illness led to respiratory failure and cardiac arrest, which put the rap legend in a coma. On Monday morning, Guru became hypertensive due to low blood pressure and suffered a fatal heart attack.

Guru first burst onto the New York rap scene with DJ Premier in the late 1980s as Gang Starr. The group released six albums—1989’s No More Mr. Nice Guy, 1991’s Step into the Arena, 1992’s Daily Operation, 1994’s Hard to Earn, 1998’s Moment of Truth and 2003’s The Ownerz—and helped to create the underground East Coast hip-hop sound. Guru is also credited for being one of the first rappers to merge hip-hop and jazz with his Jazzmatazz series. Since going solo, Guru has gone on to release several discs of his own, including last May’s Guru 8.0: Lost and Found on the independent label 7 Grand.

As of press time DJ Premier has yet to release an official statement. Stay tuned to as more info emerges. —Elan Mancini

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  • HERM

    Geez, I’m still stunned by all of this. And, it’s a shame there has to be controversy with his passing.

    Rest in peace, GURU. Much love & respect to his family.

  • ozzy B

    ?uestlove is bang on the money. Solar seems very possesive. if i know Guru from his songs and lyrics, he wouldnt let someone like this control the situation. if your in a coma, what can you do?

    Lets see what preemo has to say

  • Jamal7Mile

    There’s no way Guru wrote that letter, not even before the coma. Solar reminds me of Yoko Ono who kept John Lennon isolated from the Beatles, both before and after death.

    If that letter was a will or legal document, there’s supposed to be a witness that signs it.

    “I’m the repository of Guru’s life story. I recorded his life story for book and for movies.” – Solar.

    Now we’re getting somewhere…


      At least Yoko Ono was John Lennon’s wife. This Guru letter was just Wrong on so many levels that it’s sickening. Guru never even shared with his Fan’s or Fellow artist that he was ill… His family wasn’t aware that he was ill until he was in the hospital for 2 weeks. Guru was obviously a ‘VERY PRIVATE MAN, and now we’re suppose to believe that he would share such a personal letter that read like a love letter to Solar with the WORLD??? I doubt it. What a horrible way to end such a beautiful legacy. Solar needs his a** Kicked.

  • Sha

    Ok…. It’s time for me to spread some gasoline. First… With Producers and Emcees that come up together…. For some odd reason the emcees usually become angry with the producers because of the large amount of cash and rightfully placed recognition they get. The emcee feels as though he deserves a portion of whatever the Producer makes because the emcee feels like they came up together. It’s a logical feeling to have, but a very unreasonable expectation. Now with Gangstarr… I saw some of the interviews and Guru was seriously hurt about something. I can’t speculate too much without sounding like a jerk, but I’m sure he didn’t feel too good about the props Preemo was getting. It is obvious in those old interviews. The whole MC Solar thing is just a continuation of those sour grapes. Whatever was said between Preemo and Guru, Guru took it painfully. But the whole Solar thing makes me really really question what was going on between Solar and Guru. REALLY! What dude would refer to another man as “My Partner” continuously? And many albums deep in the game, why would you trust someone you barely know above your family? Huh? I don’t know…. And I have never seen a man have such a mental hold over another man to make him make such permanent life decisions. Only husbands and wives role like that. Before everyone jumps on me, I am not calling Guru gay. But man…. Something’s up. Something very serious is behind this shit. Real talk.

    • $yk

      “The whole MC Solar thing”

      ^ fam MC Solaar (French rapper dude, correct spelling) is NOT this buster Solar.

      “I’m the repository of Guru’s life story. I recorded his life story for book and for movies.”

      ^ I see nothing but outrage and lawsuits coming from this action.

  • Joe Morgan jr.

    I refuse to read this based on the grounds that Solar did not approve this message. Solar has made it very clear that GURU’s family is not to be listened too. Solar has done a top notch job of making GURU’s death all about Solar instead of focusing on the many years of joy that Keith Elam brought into this world thru his music. R.I.P. GURU thank you for sharing your gift with us. May the Lord look after your family.

  • BossGame

    Don’t know this cat Solar, but man! he comes across like a real predator in this. Hope it all works out to and for everyone involved.

  • sealsaa


    It’ll be interesting to see what Guru’s lawyers have to say, and hopefully Solar will be exposed. Good to see that his family is publicly disputing what they know to be false. The man’s dead, and all this guy can think about is robbing him, shitting on his legacy, and taking shots at Preem. Solar needs hands put on him.

    • $yk

      “It’ll be interesting to see what Guru’s lawyers have to say”

      ^ hopefully they’re not Solar’s lawyers

      • Jack Tripper

        hopefully they’re not Solar’s lawyers

        I kinda got a strange feeling that they are. This whole situation stinks. And then for Solar to write that letter passing it off as Guru’s letter. In the letter he wrote for Guru he had Guru referring to Solar as his “partner”. And then in Solar’s letter he referred to Guru as his “partner”. Off top that “partner” shit had me wondering. But what really let me know that Solar wrote that letter that he’s passing off as Guru’s is that in both letters they refer to each other using the same terms.

        • $yk

          I just don’t understand that man’s tactics. The way he’s going with it will cause more $ to be spent (lawsuits, fees, damage control) than made (signed over royalties {I’m kinda paying attention to this}).

          Ain’t NO ONE copping Guru ANYTHING on 7 Grand, believe that. Solar’s gonna have to fight for that Gangstarr $, this is the early posturing I saw.

          I hope Solar has a luxurious, well endowed foxhole somewhere because he’s finished.

          Big $ (labels) and strong interest (posthumous music) with a good reference (Premo) can make things go away for the good of all.

  • adrian smith birmingham england

    r.i.p. gang starr guru let him rest i dont think guru would take shots at preem a joke dont get it full clip

  • Tron

    Oh, man I didn’t hear till today. Nuff respect to Guru, man. “Mass Appeal” is my shit!!! Quite relevant too when you survey today’s hip-hop landscape. One time for the big homie Keithy E.

  • brand-new

    R.I.P. guru forever “above the clouds”

  • MOT

    Gangstarr- Eulogy-

    Remembering their faces and voices

    And when the wise man said

    Life is full of choices

    Some get caught up, others are innocent victims

    All I know is they were close to us, and that we miss them

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  • KLAP215

    Damn I feel like a little part of me has died… It’s crazy we lost a great man and one of the HipHop’s best voices!!!
    R.I.P. Keith E. Elam aka GURU!!!

  • that nigga

    This stinks horribly!! RIP – THE GURU!!

  • rocking

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