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RIP Guru of Gang Starr, Jazz Thing and Jazzmatazz fame


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Gang Starr's Guru Dead At 43

Legendary rapper succumbed to cancer on Monday after suffering a heart attack last month.

By Gil Kaufman

Just over a month since undergoing surgery following a heart attack, Gang Starr MC Guru (born Keith Elam) has died at age 43. According to a statement, Guru died of cancer-related causes on Monday after a long fight with the disease.

Guru's longtime collaborator and partner Solar mourns his loss in the statement and explains that Guru had written a letter to his fans that was to be released upon his death.

(click on the link for the rest of the article)

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R.I.P., Guru. Now playing Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1. I saw Gang Starr perform before Rage Against the Machine back in 1999 in Massachusetts. There were 300 cops outside protesting because RATM had recently done a benefit for Mumia Abu Jamal. I'll never forget Guru getting the whole crowd to raise its middle fingers in the direction of the police.

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RIP, an important force combining jazz and hip hop viably IMO

Also at the time jazz was being sampled on Hip Hop records and artists were not getting paid, he brought Donald Byrd, Ron Ayers, Lonnie Liston Smith into the studio and on tour to get paid. This record was huge when it came out and I remember having friends who had no interest in jazz before asking me about which Donald Byrd records to get. The first Jazzmatazz also hipped me to MC Solaar and N'Dea Davenport. I remember being blown away by the N'Dea Davenport tunes because at the time Mariah Carey and Whiney Houston were huge and everybody was over singing but here N'Dea Davenport was singing soul and with soul. Old school style which is now popular thanks to Sharon Jones etc.

Guru at the time was also some of the first rap I heard that had a positive message which lead me to Tribe and the Roots.

This is bummer, he left us too early at 43. RIP.

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