Posts Tagged ‘Guru’


Back in April, Marco Polo paid homage to Guru by releasing this tribute track on the third anniversary of his passing. Today, he supplies visuals complete with throwback clips of Guru. This song will be included on Polo’s upcoming album PA2: The Director’s Cut, which can be pre-ordered HERE. Pay close attention to the timeless advice Guru gives at the video’s conclusion.

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It’s hard to believe that three years have passed since the death of Guru. Marco Polo continues his excellent legends series with a tribute helmed by Talib Kweli and scratches from who else but DJ Premier. Polo’s PA2: The Director’s Cut is set to drop in July via Soulspazm Records. If you’re feeling this, you can purchase the track here.

Tomorrow marks the three-year anniversary of the passing of the legendary G.U.R.U. of Gang Starr. I decided to this leak this record one day early to ensure DJ’s and everyone can have it ready for his anniversary and it can be played tomorrow. This is one of the most important records I’ve ever been a part of. Thank you to Talib Kweli and DJ Premier for being a part of this incredible record! We will also be premiering the “G.U.R.U.” video very soon (which is directed by Todd Angkasuwan) so stay tuned. Please help share this record and celebrate the life of an artist who influenced myself and so many others in Hip-Hop and music period! R.I.P. Keith Edward Elam aka G.U.R.U. (Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal)!


In honor of the late Guru’s 50th birthday, Gang Starr Foundation DJ Premier and Big Shug linked for this dedication track “We Miss You.” Shug details his humble beginnings with Guru at Morehouse College to being amazed at Guru’s progression just a few years later with DJ Premier. Due to Guru’s untimely death, music represents the only way Shug and company can make amends for the estrangement they had with Guru in his final days. Thankfully, the song is not mired by a bunch of shots Guru’s final partner Solar.



Last Friday (May 20) REKS was in Boston to peform at the 2011 Guru Tribute show. The good people over at Clockwork Music were kind enough to supply this footage of “This Or That,” “Self Titled” and “Drunken Nights.” Do yourself a favor at pick up REKS’ debut if you haven’t yet.


On the first anniversary of Guru’s death, it’s only right that Beats, Boxing & Mayhem pays tribute to arguably Gang Starr’s most celebrated song, “Mass Appeal.” The track itself is a time capsule. If you ever have trouble explaining to someone what mid-90′s East Coast Hip-Hop sounded like, simply play this song. Its effectiveness comes from its simplicity: hard drums and a mesmerizing loop that makes you instinctively nod your head. That loop goes back to 1980 and the hand of guitarist Vic Juris. His original composition is named “Horizon Drive,” a piece that would fit in well today on any “smooth jazz” station. For Hip-Hoppers, our exclamation moment begins at the 3:33 mark and lasts all of about two, maybe three seconds.










Unfortunately, it appears that Juris himself isn’t appreciative of Primo’s sampling genius. On YouTube, he let his displeasure be known for what he sees as theft of his work.

“I wish YouTube would take this tune of mine down,” Juris fumed. “Maybe these thieves could have learned how to play an instrument.”

Of course, Hip-Hop fans tore into Juris for his comments. Some of the more choice ones are below.

“If the sample cleared, why are you complaining?…I’d be willing to bet that you made more off Primo’s 2 second sample than you did with this song.” -cawj7896

“Dude just mad ’cause more people talking about Primo on a video featuring his music.” – StrosB4Hos

“Funny how you want YouTube to take [it] down. Without it no one would ever get to hear it anymore…and good music would be lost forever…you should be happy that more people can enjoy it now… instead of [it] just faintly heard in [the] background [at the] irs office, hotels, weather channels and on hold.” -arlichar11

“Shut up and collect your royalty check.” – Truintell

“Keith struggled so much, because the lifestyle that was glorified, was not his lifestyle…”

Highly respected jazz saxophonist and bandleader Branford Marsalis has always hand a strong hand in Hip-Hop. Unlike his brother Wynton, who doesn’t even recognize Hip-Hop as a true art form, Branford’s work with Hip-Hop musicians goes back to his sax solo on Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power.” His most famous contribution was linking with DJ Premier for two albums as Buckshot LeFonque, a group project that merged jazz, Hip-Hop, R&B, rock, and pop. While admittedly closer with Premier, Marsalis speaks on what events he felt lead to Guru’s demise.

He also talks about the Musician’s Village he started with Harry Connick, Jr for New Orleans’ Hurricane Katrina survivors. A few years back, I got the chance to personally work on building some of the homes there.

The audio is at times difficult to hear due to the loud music in the background, but it’s still well worth the listen.

Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem

The BET Hip Hop Awards 2010 is over and off to post-production editing. The annual Atlanta event draws most of the big names in urban music for a weekend of partying and networking. This was my second year covering the event for, so I knew to arrive very early. The city of Atlanta had other events like an important Atlanta Braves baseball game that added to the ridiculous amount of traffic. Luckily, BET improved this year by supplying a shuttle for media, since every street within a 2-3 block radius was blocked off.

The carpet opened promptly at 2:30 and lasted until close to 5PM. Early on things went smooth. Artists were escorted by their publicists one by one slowly across the line to speak with selected media outlets. But soon, the easygoing pace morphed into organized chaos as more artists and media arrived. Still, the BET volunteers and black carpet escorts were an immense help in getting interviews secured. Below are some of the interesting, and sometimes humorous quotes I got from some of the attendees.

The actual show airs on October 12 at 8PM. Be sure to check out additional coverage of the show.


Best Cypher Peformer She’s Seen So Far: “I’d have to say Cory Gunz. That was a few years ago but he killed it.”

Next Project: “Being that I’m not going to rush an album, I’m going to give my fans an EP. I’ll definitely be working with different producers, even underground.”

Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem



On his return to form: “Now I’m where I need to be at. I’ve been in shape [lyrically] the last three years. Still a chubby gangster, though.”

Predicting Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Paquiao: “Wow, I’m riding with Floyd. I think Floyd is our Muhammad Ali of today.”

Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem


DJ Greg Street and journalist Chloe Hilliard on the Upcoming BET’s Top 10 Rappers of the 21st Century Show

Chloe: “What I said about Lil Wayne, you’ll have to see the whole thing. The teaser was to entice you.”

Greg Street: “She said Weezy was the greatest!”

Chloe: “I will not confirm nor deny that!”

Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem


On today’s DJ: “I think we get more respect. It started with the DJ, but we’re kind of being recognized for that [now]. With sales and everything, artists need as much help as possible, so it’s been taken back to the DJ.”


Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem



Next mixtape: “I’m coming out with a dedication to Paul McCartney called Yesterday’s Future. So it’s a lot more ambitious than the last one.”

Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem



Two albums in six months: “0-60 is coming out November 23, my first album for Interscope. After that, I’m going to be releasing an album in March [2011] called Radioactive.”

Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem



New album coming October 5: “Flockaveli on October 5,get it! [Buy] one for the car, one for the house, and one in plastic. Flockaveli is a classic!”

Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem



On new album in early 2011: “We don’t have to prove anything, but we want people to know what it really is. We’re going to keep working hard so people don’t think we’re just a jerk dance phase.”

Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem



On his next album: “You’ve never heard music like this. You’ve never heard this side of me. It’s gonna be one of the best albums of 2010-2011. I guarantee it. You are the average of the five people you are around. When you add up my five people you get Polow Da Don, Stakeboard P, Timbaland, Jimmy Iovine and myself.”

Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem



On working with Kanye West: “I listend to the finished product and that really opened my mind. I don’t even want to say as a rapper, just as a musician. It really opens your mind to different sounds, drum kicks and all of that.”

Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem


Top 5 Dead Or Alive: “Jay-Z, Nas, Tupac, Biggie, and Kanye West.”

Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem


Top 5 Dead Or Alive: “Tupac, Biggie, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne and Ice Cube. I say that because they all played a role in inspiring artists to get out there and make something for themselves, and that you can achieve you dreams.”

Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem



Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem



Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem


Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem


Emcees that kept him focused lyrically: ” That’s a good one, it was never really one person. It was different people like Jay-Z, Nas, Biggie, Tupac, and Outkast. Those type of artists that were hot from the perspective of doing their thing lyrically. Those guys kept me on my toes.”

Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem


Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem


Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem


Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem



Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem


Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem


Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem


Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem


Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem


Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem


Ismael AbduSalaam/Beats, Boxing & Mayhem


DJ Premier is taking aim at the media for what he deems has been poor coverage of his former rhyme partner Guru (Keith Elam).

Earlier this month, Premier participated in a private memorial tribute held in Guru’s native Boston by his father, Judge Harry Elam. The legendary producer has maintained a good relationship with the family despite being estranged from Guru since their final album The Ownerz in 2003.

Solar, Guru’s controversial  close friend and business partner for the last seven years, was not present at the memorial.

Premier, who worked with Guru for 14 years,  was disturbed by the low media attention given to Guru’s two decade’s worth of musical contributions.

“It’s sad that all of these so-called Hip-Hop magazines did not give him a well-deserved cover when most emcees out now cannot construct rhymes, flows, and uniqueness and original contributions like he did for 22 years representing the culture,” Premier wrote on his blog. “We are always watching what the industry does to pay homage and respect our leaders of this rap shit. I will never forget it and there’s no excuse.”

At last month’s BET Awards, Guru was noticeably absent from the RIP Tribute that included other deceased stars like Teddy Pendergrass and Gary Coleman. Representatives later claimed that time constraints forced them to omit a planned video tribute to the late Gang Starr rapper.

“BET did the same thing by removing his shout out from the 2010 awards due to time issues. That shows you how much they use you and then they shit down your throat,” Premier accused. “All I do know is this; when it’s your turn to be remembered, we won’t forget about you. We give respect where it’s due.”

DJ Premier’s latest work can be heard on the Guru tribute song “I’m Gone,” off Fat Joe’s latest album The Darkside Vol. 1.


Guru’s legacy appears to be the victim of the TMZ era of journalism.

Guru’s death got significant coverage. But instead of it being a reflection on his past achievements, it was a detailed journey through his admittedly bizarre relationship with Solar. The music took a backseat as websites delved into the more tabloid-leaning topics like whether Guru and Solar were gay lovers, and if the rapper had been physically abused in that rumored relationship. Solar didn’t help by releasing almost daily statements that had to be countered by the Elam family and Premier.

Hip-Hop is still pretty homophobic concerning men. So even just the rumor of homosexuality appears to have made those who didn’t grow up on Guru reluctant to embrace his memory and find out more about him.

Even so, there were people as Premier pointed out like Pete Rock, MTV’s Sway, Ed Lover, Miss Info and others that honored Guru’s musical legacy. It will remain up to those who do recognize Guru’s achievements to not let his ending relationship with Solar define him, but have the man’s legacy shaped by his Gang Starr work and the Jazzmatazz series.

Guru’s posthumous respect may have started off with a whimper, but that doesn’t mean it can’t grow over time. Big L’s death in 1999 did not receive a huge amount of coverage. But in the 11 years since then, his musical legacy has grown and remained strong through the efforts of his friends like Premier and Lord Finesse.

Let’s hope we do the same for Guru.