Rapper Guru has died aged 43 after a long battle with cancer, it’s been announced on the DJ Premier Blog site.
The New York MC – whose real name was Keith Elam – suffered cardiac arrest on March 2 and had been in a coma.
Premier and Guru made up the hip-hop duo Gang Starr, which released six pivotal hip-hop albums between 1989 and 2003, pioneering a new and ‘conscious’ brand of rap alongside acts like A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul – and a brand of sample- and scratch-heavy beats that still get imitated to death. Guru went on to release a series of “Jazzmatazz” albums featuring collaborations with the likes of Courtney Pine, Roy Ayers and Kool Keith.
I met him in South Africa a couple of years back, and whilst he was a little standoffish, he did sign my vinyl copy of ‘Full Clip’, which I’ll treasure forever.
He had a unique, unmissable voice that will be sorely missed. Here’s a reminder of what made Gang Starr so great:
“Above the crowds, above the clouds – where the sounds are original
Infinite skills create miracles…”