Monday, December 7, 2015

All-Time Rap Artists #19: Guru


The smooth vocalist, Guru, of the world renown duo, Gang Starr, lands in the #19 spot on this list.

One of the more accomplished individuals outside of music, Keith Elam, also known as Guru, graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Morehouse College, and took graduate classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan.

Guru hooked up with DJ Premier and released No More Mr. Nice Guy in 1989.  The single, Words I Manifest, was one of the more notable from from the album, and gained national recognition for the duo.  Guru's smooth delivery over Premier tracks is true music to the ears and like fine wine.  He emerged as a dope lyricist with the stories he told, such as Just To Get A Rep, Lovesick, Ex Girl to the Next Girl, and Betrayal. He rarely engaged in speaking on nonsense subject material, and often focused on real-life situations and being a dope artist.  Gang Starr released their final album as a duo, The Ownerz, in 2003.

Guru's love for jazz music took him into another direction with the creation of a jazz/hip-hop hybrid series of albums he entitled, Jazzmatazz.  With Jazzmatazz, he wanted to work with the actual jazz artists such as Donald Byrd, Branford Marsalis, and Roy Ayers, instead of sampling them, which created a new sound of hip-hop.  The series of albums sold respectively through it's run.

Tragically, Guru died of cardiac arrest in 2010.  DJ Premier and many others have kept his name alive via tributes and mentions through the years.

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