Legendary MC Guru (Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal) Passed Away
Legendary MC Guru Passed Away
Yo! Raps has exclusively learned from hit producer Solar that Hip-Hop legend and GangStarr founder Guru has passed away yesterday morning (April 19) after a long battle with cancer.
According to Solar, Guru suffered from the malicious illness for over a year and after numerous special treatments under the supervision of medical specialists failed, the legendary MC succumbed to the disease. Guru always tried to keep this harrowing diagnosis in private but in early 2010 he had to admit himself to hospital due to serious effects caused by the disease.
Since the onset of illness, Guru tried to live a “normal” life as an influential and outstanding musician, loving father, family man, and best friend. Doctors encouraged Guru to think positive that the cancer can be arrested and that a full recovery is possible but several special treatments including hard hitting chemo therapies failed.
While in hospital with terminal cancer, Guru wrote a letter, which was provided by Solar, to his fans addressing his illness, his shining music career, his family and loved ones.
“I, Guru, am writing this letter to my fans, friends and loved ones around the world. I have had a long battle with cancer and have succumbed to the disease. I have suffered with this illness for over a year. I have exhausted all medical options. I have a non-profit organization called Each One Counts dedicated to carrying on my charitable work on behalf of abused and disadvantaged children from around the world and also to educate and research a cure for this terrible disease that took my life. I write this with tears in my eyes, not of sorrow but of joy for what a wonderful life I have enjoyed and how many great people I have had the pleasure of meeting,”
“My loyal best friend, partner and brother, Solar, has been at my side through it all and has been made my health proxy by myself on all matters relating to myself. He has been with me by my side on my many hospital stays, operations, doctors visits and stayed with me at my home and cared for me when I could not care for myself. Solar and his family is my family and I love them dearly and I expect my family, friends, and fans to respect that, regardless to anybody’s feelings on the matter. It is my wish that counts. This being said I am survived by the love of my life, my sun KC, who I trust will be looked after by Solar and his family as their own. Any awards or tributes should be accepted, organized approved by Solar on behalf myself and my son until he is of age to except on his own.”
The statement reads on,”I do not wish my ex-DJ to have anything to do with my name likeness, events tributes etc. connected in anyway to my situation including any use of my name or circumstance for any reason and I have instructed my lawyers to enforce this. I had nothing to do with him in life for over 7 years and want nothing to do with him in death. Solar has my life story and is well informed on my family situation, as well as the real reason for separating from my ex-DJ. As the sole founder of GangStarr, I am very proud of what GangStarr has meant to the music world and fans. I equally am proud of my Jazzmatazz series and as the father of Hip-Hop/Jazz. I am most proud of my leadership and pioneering efforts on Jazzmatazz 4 for reinvigorating the Hip-Hop/Jazz genre in a time when music quality has reached an all time low. Solar and I have toured in places that I have never been before with GangStarr or Jazzmatatazz and we gained a reputation for being the best on the planet at Hip-Hop/Jazz, as well as the biggest and most influential Hip-Hop/Jazz record with Jazzmatazz 4 of the decade to now. The work I have done with Solar represents a legacy far beyond its time. And we as a team were not afraid to push the envelope. To me this is what true artists do! As men of honor we stood tall in the face of small mindedness, greed, and ignorance. As we fought for music and integrity at the cost of not earning millions and for this I will always be happy and proud, and would like to thank the million fans who have seen us perform over the years from all over the world. The work I have done with Solar represents a legacy far beyond its time and is my most creative and experimental to date. I hope that our music will receive the attention it deserves as it is some of the best work I have done and represents some of the best years of my life.”
Guru, born Keith Elam, rose to fame in the 80’s as the founder of the legendary rap group GangStarr. The group released the classic single Words I Manifest followed by their critically acclaimed debut album No More Mr. Nice Guy (1989) and the classic album Step In The Arena (1991). Guru was the first artist to truly blend Hip-Hop with Live Jazz beginning in 1993, and seeing the vast influences his Jazzmatazz concept has had on the industry, it is clear that Guru’s musical contributions have been way ahead of their time. Guru has worked with such great artists as Herbie Hancock, Isaac Hayes, Donald Byrd, Ramsey Lewis, Roy Ayers, Chaka Kahn, Branford Marsalis, David Sanborn, Bob James, Erykah Badu, The Roots, Common, Angie Stone, Jamiroquai, Macy Gray and Damien Marley, to name a few. Despite the fact that Guru isn’t hailing from New York, he is noted as a pioneer of the New York sound and true lyrical Hip-Hop. Guru later on joined forces with hit producer Solar and formed his label 7 Grand Records with the goal to keep “real” Hip-Hop alive.
Guru’s longtime partner, Solar, issues an official statement about the lost of the legendary MC which you can read below:
“The world has lost one of the best MCs and Hip-Hop icons of all time — my loyal best friend, partner, and brother, Guru! Guru has been battling cancer for well over a year and has lost his battle! This is a matter that Guru wanted private until he could beat it but tragically this did not happen. The cancer took him. Now the world has lost a great man and a true genius. For the fans that reached out with love and support, I can’t tell you how much that meant to Guru and myself. Guru prepared this letter [read above] while he was in the hospital for the fans. I hope now that Guru has moved on to a better place! Guru is a great Black American Hero and should always be remembered as such and he is much more that just a Hip-Hop icon — he has changed the world for the better. I salute my fallen brother Guru! He will be missed tremendously!” Solar stated.
We will sorely miss Guru, both from a personal and from a professional standpoint. Our warmest condolences to Guru’s family and loved ones at this difficult time.
Solar wrote The Letter, Not Guru. Per DJ Premier’s Blog
UPDATE 04.22.10: Solar Speaks To MTV’s Sway, Clarifies Rumors On Guru’s Death
MTV News’ Sway Calloway spoke to Guru’s musical partner and business manager Solar this week. In the wake of Monday’s tragic announcement of Guru’s death, Solar
has been scrutinized by Hip Hop fans for both his relationship with Guru’s blood relatives, as well as suspicions that he wrote a damaging letter, making allegations of a Guru-led foundation that family members were unaware of.
Sway boldly asked Solar about a potential homosexual relationship between the artists
, that Sway referred to as “romantic in nature.” Solar quickly waved doing those rumors, in saying, “Yeah, that’s untrue. Completely unfounded and true. Guru’s a family man. I’m a family man. And it’s always been that way.” Independent of his and Guru’s relationship, Solar also asserted both artists heterosexuality. “We’re straight men. Down the line.” The New York producer who had worked with Guru since 2004 continued, “He dealt with women and family. I dealt with women and family. It’s the way it is, it’s the way it’s always been, and there’s never been any blurring of the lines whatsoever.”
As the interview continued, Sway asked about rumors of physical abuse, specifically Solar being physically harmful to Guru. With a gasp, the producer replied, “Wow. Me and Guru, we used to play-fight. Rough-house. Not only with him, but other members of the band when you’re on the road. You knock around, and that’s it. I can’t even begin to imagine where that would come from. It’s idiotic. Again, these are all kinds of accusations [made] without Guru to be here and look you in the eye and say, ‘This is just ridiculous.’ Now it’s just me saying this is ridiculous.” Earlier this week, a member of that band, the duo’s deejay, Doo Wop, who had worked with Guru for almost 10 years previously, spoke of an altercation while on tour
, although the other party was not specified.
Additionally, Sway asked Solar about Each One Counts. In Guru’s alleged final letter, the children’s charity organization
was mentioned, despite the Elam Family being unaware that such a foundation even existed. “That’s an organization that was started by Guru, myself and my people. Hopefully, it’ll grow to be a huge, worldwide charitable organization,” defended Solar. “There’s a lot of things Guru’s done in his life with his business that [the Elam Family] doesn’t know about. He doesn’t report to them. He never did report to them. Guru’s a full-grown man.” Further speaking of family relations, Solar said that it would be the family’s responsibility to provide Guru with a proper funeral. “I’m done with that. That’s on…that’s between…that’s on them.” The production and business partner of the last six years added that after this past week’s emotional duress, he was unsure if he’ll attend the funeral.
Moments later, in a detailed conversation about the Elam Family, Solar stated, “I’ve got the utmost respect for his family.” The producer spoke of meeting Guru’s father, and commented that Guru’s only mentions of his sister were that they were not close, and presently estranged in his final days.
Sway also confronted Solar about Guru’s dying letter. Many have questioned how much of the peculiar statements were authored by the Gang Starr founder. “Guru wrote some of it himself. Some of it he was able to write,” said Solar, referring to Guru’s declining physical abilities. The parts that Guru did not pen
himself, Solar said were tracked by him. “I made a lot of notes that was kept on my own.”
The full interview segments are below, which touch more on the letter, family visitation rights, and more.