This morning I woke to a barrage of tweets with R.I.P Guru. I felt saddened, disturbed, in disbelief and lost. We finally hear Guru, born Keith Edward Elam succumbed to Cancer after battling with the disease for over a year. He was just 48 years of age. To read more and a statement to his fans:
Guru touched me in many ways as a young woman in Hip Hop. I first heard of Brooklyn through Gang Starr – Guru’s rhymes about his love and passion for his borough. Back then I never knew I’d be living in his borough! I’ve been in Brooklyn 11 years now. I had a long working relationship with Gang Starr and as of recently got to know Guru on a more personal level.
So let me break it down.. I started out after abandoning my roots as a classically trained concert pianist- as a DJ in this industry- of course I took a much needed break to figure out my life after immersing myself in Classical Music from age of 5 -22. Left London moved to Atlanta and found myself on college radio getting my training as an on-air personality/DJ. Here I quickly got introduced to Hip Hop and Rap and fell in love! Specifically with ‘Step in the Arena’ and ‘Daily Operation’. 2 Gang Starr albums. “Ex Girl to Next Girl” became my anthem when I got to WRFG 89.3FM doing hip hop on the air regularly with a program called ‘World Party’. I would always joke around when intro’ing the song saying ‘Ex Boy to Next Boy’- was describing my lifestyle at the time! Whilst DJ’ing and throwing the hot underground parties- I met Daniel Glass then president of EMI/Chrysalis Records at the time. He offered me a chance to move to NY- my dream and pursue a gig in marketing at that company. I got offered the job- upped and moved to NY- had the fly goodbye party with all the LaFace, Rowdy, and So So Def crew/artists sending me off- a party I’ll never forget and boom- landed in NY! What’s one of the first projects I work– ‘Hard to Earn’– I’ll never forget being in the conference room meeting with all the suits and Phat Gary delivering “Mass Appeal”. It blew our minds and we all knew what we had in our hands- a Goldmine! I remember all the listening parties, Freaknics, tours, shows and of course the huge album release. I went to all of them- felt like a kid in a candy store/groupie even though I was working at the company and part of the marketing. I’ll never forget our ‘Gang Starr’ caps- Red with the patch/logo- hot that management gave me. I left EMI by ‘Moment of Truth’ but carried the memories and all the songs with me and queued up at Tower Records Super Tuesday to buy that one! Hell yes….
When ‘Moment of Truth’ dropped I had started my own Hip Hop label- 3-2-1 Records and found my own ‘Moment of Truth’ when I signed Blackalicious. A couple years later I ran into Guru and he always remembered me- we were always cool. Then in 2004 I was taking acting classes and one of my acting partners- not sure how it came up- turned out used to date Guru. So here we are with another tie /strong bond. She was so excited I knew him that she called him on the phone and that got Guru and I re-united!
As of recently- I would see Guru with Solar at press junkets, private parties, fashion shows- any media opps as he was promoting his new endeavours with 7 Grand Records. He was interested in my PR services. Talk about 360 Full Circle. We followed up- had conversations with him and Solar but nothing amounted to anything- Last I saw him was around Nov/December last year. Followed very closely since via Twitter and other news sources about his cardiac arrest, to coma and now he’s gone!
DJ Premier’s Tweet says it best. “The man has found his peace, far away from the Devil. R.I.P Guru/Gang Starr”.