Monday, April 26, 2010
The rap world lost one of its most authoritative voices today: Guru, the MC half of the legendary duo Gang Starr. Guru, whose birth name is Keith Elam, suffered a cardiac arrest back in February, and fell into a coma. There's no confirmation yet on the cause of death, but reports suggest it was the result of cancer. He was 43.
Gang Starr, which also featured production genius DJ Premier, was a trailblazing force in hip-hop, combining Guru's worldly lyrics and laid-back flow with a smooth sampling technique that drew heavily on jazz.
Guru explored this groove even further with his 1993 solo album Jazzmatazz Vol. 1; subtitled "an experimental fusion of hip-hop and jazz," the disc showcased jazzbos like trumpeter Donald Byrd and saxophonist Branford Marsalis, and was a key release in the oft-derided genre known as acid jazz. (Guru released Jazzmatazz Vol. 2 in 1995.)