One year ago today (Apr. 19), Keith Elam, better known as the rapper Guru, lost his battle with cancer at the age of 43. As one half of East Coast duo Gang Starr, Guru spearheaded an influential hip-hop sound that combined effortless rapping with elements of jazz and funk.
In addition to his work with Gang Starr, which split in 2003, Guru worked with producer Solar released a series of “Jazzmatazz” albums that featured collaborations with Roy Ayers and Kool Keith. Although Guru and his Gang Starr partner DJ Premier did not reconcile before the MC’s death, Gang Starr will long be remembered for singles like “Mass Appeal,” “Moment of Truth” and “Above the Clouds.”
NYC hip-hop fans looking to celebrate Guru’s legacy should check out “Revive Da Live Big Band Tribute to Guru and the Jazzmatazz Legacy,” a tribute concert sponsored by Revive Music Group that will take place at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge on Thursday (Apr. 21). The event will feature special guests and collaborators of Guru, and the Elam family will be in attendance.