Today In Hip Hop History: The Source Magazine Remembers The Passing Of Gangstarr’s Guru 14 Years Later

On July 17, 1961, Keith Edward Elam was born into this world in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Sadly, 14 years ago today the late, great MC Guru lost his battle with melanoma, a form of cancer. April 19, 2010, was a tragic day for Hip Hop heads worldwide because we lost a true emcee and all-around great human being.

Guru started his career off in 1987. He relocated to the Hip Hop mecca New York City, where he founded Gang Starr. In 1989 with three records and no real blip on Hip Hop’s radar Guru switched up producers and began working with DJ Premier. After that, it was a wrap. The duo released its first LP “No More Mr. Nice Guy” with Wild Pitch records and six more critically acclaimed albums followed.

Premier and Guru made for a perfect combination. Guru’s uniquely monotone delivery and storytelling ability, combined with Premier’s punctuating, soulful production inspired some of the dopest verses in Hip Hop history. The Source ranked Guru as the #30 Best Emcee of Our Time.


Guru’s recording career was one of the most fruitful amongst his peers; with six classic albums released by the duo Gang Starr, all of which were praised by critics and beloved by the streets Guru also released 10 albums without Premier. 16 projects from any artist are impressive, and as an emcee, it’s almost unheard of.

Guru and Premier will go down as one of the most prolific duos in Hip Hop history. They have paved the way for the likes of Atmosphere from Minnesota made up of DJ/Producer Ant and emcee Slug. Today in the fifth year of his passing let us celebrate Guru’s contribution to the beautiful art of Hip Hop. Enjoy the video for “Moment Of Truth”, a classic by Gang Starr.