If you haven’t already heard then you either must be hiding under a rock or just aren’t a true hip-hop fan. Last night Guru, one-half of the legendary hip-hop duo, Gang Starr, succumbed to his battle with cancer. Back in February Guru was hospitalized and fell into a coma but he recovered from the coma and all was well or at least that’s what we all thought.
Guru, whose real name is Keith Elam, formed Gang Starr back in 1987 with DJ Premier and they went on to become one of the most influential hip-hop groups of all time. With hits like “Just to Get a Rep”, “Mass Appeal”, and “Step in the Arena” they were the definition of what real hip-hop was and is about and their contribution to the game will never be forgotten. They rapped about their realities, their struggles, and what NYC life was like back before the commercialization of the genre and the popularity of the internet made it easy for anyone to find success.
Gang Starr was one of those socially conscious groups that made you think while also bop your head and move your feet to the beat. Together they released 6 albums from 1989 to 2003, including the classics Step Into The Arena and Daily Operation. Guru later on ventured off and had a successful solo career with the release of his Jazzmatazz series.
During his solo career, Guru paired up with Solar who has been his musical partner for most of the last decade. Solar, however, has been the subject of much criticism and backlash lately. He had been disparaged during Guru’s most recent hospitalization in February by Guru’s family and members of the media because of reports that he was controlling and limiting access to Guru. Solar was also releasing odd statements on Guru’s behalf. All of which is questionable and rather shady in my opinion.
But to add fuel to the already blazing fire, a letter supposedly written by Guru before his passing has surfaced. In the letter Guru is basically praising Solar for all of his support and loyalty while criticizing and attacking his former musical partner, DJ Premier. I got a copy of the letter from nymag.com. I, along with many hip-hop fans question the validity of this letter but read it for yourself and let me know what you think. Do you think that a man in his death bed is really trying to criticize and bash someone who he had much success with? I don’t think so. I tend to think that when you’re ready to say your goodbye’s to the world that you would want to make me peace with everyone that was ever a part of your life but that’s just me. Let me know your thoughts.
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.
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.
This letter just doesn’t sound authentic to me. If it is, then it’s my bad but if this is a ploy by Solar to get some sort of recognition or admiration then shame on him and grow the f*ck up. Let the man rest in peace. Guru you will be missed. R.I.P.