keith ‘guru’ elam

since starting this blog a number of people have passed that i have observed and been influenced by over the years, notably j.d. sallinger and alexander mcqueen, however when i heard today that guru had passed i felt a grief that was unprecedented by any individual i consider to be a personal influence.

hip hop has been good to me. i consider it an essential component in the sum of my parts. i missed the golden era due to my parents not considering my conception a priority at the time, slept on a handful of mid-90’s classic albums no thanks to dance mix 93-95 and finally fell head over heels in love with this elusive temptress we call “the rap game” about two years before the turn of the millenium. when i reflect on the turning point it was symbollically enough the album “moment of truth” by gangstarr.

keith elam contributed more to the hip hop canon than most people could attribute to half of their favourite MC’s combined. his buttery smooth brand of street smart lyricism covered themes from social consciousness to woeful heartbreak. accompanied by some of the best production the hip hop arena has been blessed with he cemented his legacy in gangstarr, the streetsoul jazzmatazz series and even through co-signing the now cult classic group home record “livin’ proof”.

although hip hop will continue to breathe and grow after the passing of this legend i believe there’s something we can learn in the wake of his passing. this one master of ceremonies will not be remembered for his street credibility, the cars he owned or the women he bedded. hip hop is bigger than that and guru knew that more personally than most of us. i believe he will be remembered for making honest music, for perfectly complimenting the musical stylings of dj premier and for showing a stereotypically close-minded and masogynistic subculture that love isn’t emasculating.

rest in peace keith “guru” elam

(July 17, 1966 – April 19, 2010)


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