Respect Due To The GURU
Wednesday March 03rd 2010,
Filed under: BK All Day,Features,Not Your Average,Steady Bootleggin',The Unkut Opinion
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As you would have heard by now, Keith E.E. ‘The Guru’ is seriously ill following a heart-attack. While there has been a flood of support from his friends and fans, this sad news has also given fuel to trolling douche bags to take some cheap shots at the man. Don’t get it twisted, bent-up or confused – at the height of their career, nobody was touching Gang Starr when it came to the classic MC / DJ combination. Not even Pete Rock & CL Smooth can match their legacy when you consider that The GURU and DJ Premier gave us three of the greatest rap albums ever made. Once Keith E.E. broke out from the Gangstarr Posse in Boston and hopped a Greyhound to the Rotten Apple – where he was soon to be paired-up with Texan DJ Premier – it was on like Donkey Kong. Following some early 12″s with The 45 King, No More Mr. Nice Guy introduced the world to the group known as Gang Starr in all their rough-around-the-edges glory.

Despite a horrible cover and some low-budget recording (“first album took us two weeks”), the record contained enough sparks of originality to catch the attention of everyone who wasn’t born legally deaf. Once the ‘Manifest’ and ‘Positivity’ remixes hit, we were offered a glimpse into the true potential that these two outta state characters were about to display. When Step In The Arena hit the following year, it showcased the phenomenal development of the crew. Premier had since cut his teeth on Lord Finesse‘s debut album, and the time spent rubbing shoulders in the studio with Showbiz and Diamond D clearly paid off, as his sampling and programming techniques were now cutting-edge, while GURU had evolved from his self-conscious ‘posititive’ content of his earlier lyrics into a self-assured intelligent hoodlum persona. There was nothing else really like it when it dropped – eighteen tracks, some clocking in at under two minutes? …Arena was fresh, original and raw without pandering to the trends of the day. Resistance was futile once ‘Just To Get A Rep’ hit…

Daily Operation managed to up the ante another notch, as the crew responded to the misguided ‘Jazz Rap’ tag by unleashing a stripped-down, unapologetic declaration of hardcore beats and rhymes. While the ‘in-crowd’ was busy shouting corny chants and multiple beat change-ups, Gangstarr unleashed unyielding loops, sparse tracks and scratched hooks. Gifted Unlimited proved time and time again that it wasn’t ‘Mostly Tha Voice’ after all, as his in-the-cut delivery and brutally honest worldview provided the ideal compliment to the stark tracks. And who could forget the timeless b-side insanity that is ‘DWYCK’…

For anybody that was yet to be convinced for some inexplicable reason, Hard To Earn delivered the knock-out blow in 1994, as the Gangstarr Foundation were given even more exposure (following ‘Speak Ya Clout’ from the previous project), as Melachi The Nutcracker, Big Shug, Lil’ Dap and Jeru The Damaja got a little shine. Moment of Truth proved that only were they still relevant in a rapidly-changing commercial landscape, but still had a few tricks up their sleeve as well (such as getting Scarface on a track), while even the troubled The Ownerz had some gems on it.

The legendary status of Gang Starr is rarely questioned, so that’s not the issue here. The problem is that many Johnny-come-lately’s want to try and diminish the contributions of GURU to the Gang Starr sound. They insist that Premier’s tracks carried him, his rhyme styleis too basic or that the crew would have been better with someone else handling vocal duties. These people are morons. Not only did GURU co-produce every record that the crew ever released, but he’s been responsible for more classic quotes and vocal hooks than you might initially realize. ‘Shorty said nah,pulled the trigger and stepped….’ ring any bells? Despite any misgivings you might have about the Jazzmattaz projects, if nothing else I’m sure GURU bagged some bad-ass jazz broads over in France on the strength of that shit. Please take moment to stop jocking Preme and acknowledge the vet that is Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal, and wish him a speedy recovery while you’re at it.

Gangstarr – ‘Credit Is Due’

Gangstarr – ‘The ? Remains’

Gangstarr – ‘The Place Where We Dwell’

Gangstarr – ‘Gotta Get Over’ [Large Professor Remix]

GURU – ‘Doo Wop Freestyle’

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58 Comments so far
Leave a comment

well said!

Comment by apples 03.03.10 @

Indeed, under 25 heads shitting on Guru need to catch an old school beatdown, plain and simple. Gure is, if anything, severely underrated one the mic. Guru and Prem were, as a group, a bastion of consistency, as well as they were as individuals. There are a lot of rappers out there that cats fawn over whose discography would fail embarrassingly by comparison. And, while Guru’s delivery was generally simple, he was always above average lyrically – not remarkable, but yes, above average.

And, finally, perhaps the biggest compliment to be paid is that Guru cemented himself as a hip hop legend without while remaining true to himself throughout. He didn’t jump on the trend du jour, he just made quality music for hip hop heads. He didn’t worry about tough guy posturing, for the most part. Even the Jazzmattaz project, which ranged from dope to not so much so, on a track by track basis, represented Guru doing him. Most artists don’t have the balls or clout to do that. I know cats who are lukewarm on hip hop in general who love the Jazzmattaz sound, and Guru is clearly a real fan of jazz music. In some respects those efforts were crossover wins without selling out – a feat rarely achieved.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

Comment by digglahhh 03.03.10 @

People seem to forget that there are quite a few gang-starr tracks with only gurus name on the credits. They also seem to forget that mcs should not only be judged on the words they are saying but also the message that they are putting across. Guru might not have been the most lyrical mc but he was definately dropping knowledge.

Get well soon Guru.

Comment by KQ 03.03.10 @

GURU, im glad he made it back to this cold world. it seems like people are dying from heart attacks at a early age. get well soon!

Comment by mercedes1010 03.03.10 @


Comment by inde 03.03.10 @

Dats y i kept on saying Gangstarr is da best duo of all time. In my opinion every album dey came out wit was crack. Every one was different and unique in its own way.

Comment by dmitry aka brooklyn jew 03.03.10 @

I am so glad he is still alive and have been going through my Gang Starr collection and absolutely loving it, Guru is one of the greatest ever to me.

Great post Robbie.

Comment by Jaz 03.03.10 @

Gang Starr was compulsory listening for me growin up in a no-name town in the Midlands, UK. A kid at school pocketed Arena in Woolworths and slid it to me in class with no case…blew my mind.

I wouldnt ever say Guru is underrated, we all still rate him highly, his style was of the times and he was always in the HHC top 10 polls, I can understand kids not feelin him now but disrespect is inexcusable.

Him leading the whole Foundation at Reading Festival in 94 is a treasured memory, as is him putting it down with Byrd, Purdie etc with Jazzamataz the following year. Get well soon Guru

Comment by JeffluvRHAS 03.03.10 @

Great albums, brilliant collabs, dope beats and rhymes.

I saw some new jack dissing DYWCK and the lines:
“Lemonade was a popular drink and it still is
I get more props and stunts then Bruce Willis”

It’s old skool, off the head tribute moron. Learn your history.

Pull thro GURU, although suggest from now on don’t take two and pass… just pass!!!

Comment by Dan E Fresh 03.03.10 @

I have nothing but love for the Gifted one. Gangstarr is one of the best groups of all time, and I got to meet Guru and take a flick with him outside the Rocksteady joint one year. And I will never forget the show I went to where they brought out Inspektah for “Above the Clouds” and Nice and Smooth for DWYCK and Bumpy Knuckles for the Militia. One of the best shows I ever went to.

Comment by BIGSPICE 03.03.10 @

One of the most under reated emcees of all time…I’ve been saying this for god knows how long. Great storyteller too ie. ”all 4 the cash”, ”just to get a rep”, ”sabatoge” etc… I hope he has a speedy recovery.

” G-A-N-G to the STARR, son!”

Comment by delivery_bwoy 03.03.10 @

wow, just came across this and wasn’t aware of Guru’s condition. I barely listen to today’s ‘hip hop’, I prefer the classics and Gangstarr is one of the best in my opinion.

My heart goes out to him and his loved ones, he made some hefty contributions to the industry. As a Mr. Katt Williams said, “Haters gonna hate, let them hate”

Comment by Jason 03.03.10 @

I think part of this reason why people think GURU was riding on Preem’s coat tails is that after Gang Starr, primo stayed relevant in real hip hop where guru fell off the fuckin hiphop planet. Even Shug was quoted as saying that Guru is “on some hippy shit”. Mix that with rumors that Guru would talk shit about primo and refuse to sign Gangstarr albums and you’ve got some reasons to question wtf Guru was thinking. All that being said you can not take away those classic albums and his contribution to them. He deserves legend status without a doubt.

Comment by JP 03.03.10 @

I’d take “Step in the Arena” with me to a deserted island. Amazing album from start to finish. Get well soon Guru!

Comment by Trakball 03.03.10 @

” Credit Is Due ” is one of the illest joints they ever made….I don’t know how that song doesn’t get the burn it deserves…

I noticed you put that one up….HAHAHAHA…..

Good piece by the way….Get well Guru..

Comment by shamz 03.03.10 @

Very real talk…

Comment by TORAE 03.03.10 @

He is the second most underrated M.C in the game behind Black Thought. Get well

Comment by CStyle 03.03.10 @

People forget, or are too young to remember, that the thing that was most noticable about the Gang Starr sound in those early years was Guru’s voice (the monatone style) – Plain and Simple! Premo only came into his own, as a producer in his own right, after the first couple of Lp’s. Infact that was the problem with the latter LP’s – both got sidetracked by other projects(Even 50% of Hard to Earn in many respects) That was the point Guru’s laid back style blended perfectly with Premo’s Jazz orientated production, you cant have one without the other.. lets all pray for Guru..

Comment by Dave 71 03.03.10 @

Well Said Robbie.
People need to look past the monotone style and listen.
Respect The Architect as Guru said..
Get well soon Guru.

Comment by Beatlover 03.03.10 @

nah guru’s lyrics are real deep tho. his lyrics got me through a lot.

Comment by ignite and imagery 03.03.10 @

Step In The Arena still sounds as fresh as the day it came out. Hope Guru pulls through.

Comment by End Level Boss 03.03.10 @

GURU GET WELL MIX done this Monday @ The Flat in H

Comment by SUN 03.03.10 @

thanks for writing this down; I couldnt have said it better.

I used to run a Gang Starr discography site where I tried to list everything both members activities, and ever since experienced blatant disrespect from most people towards Guru.

agreed, his last 2 solo albums sucked (Jazzmatazz 4 + mixtape didnt), but so does most of what Premier releases since Gang Starr has come to en end.

Comment by mihau 03.03.10 @

the plot thickens…

Comment by JP 03.03.10 @

First cd ever bought? Jazzmatazz 1… Guru and Prem definitely there as one of the best duo ever!

Comment by Benjamin T 03.03.10 @

I remember some RapPages interview where the Guru dismissed “No More Mr. Nice Guy” as some cheap-ass demo tape and considered “Step In The Arena” as the REAL debut.

And Guru has made some dope beats in his career. A lot of people thought Bahamadia’s “Wordplay” was a Premier track. Nope…that beat was Guru! (He even had to write Vibe Magazine and correct them on that shit!) In my opinion, his post-Gangstarr solo career would’ve been much better off if he had produced it himself!

As for people who claim he ain’t lyrical enough, Guru already addressed that shit a long time ago:

“A lot of rappers got the FLAVA and some got SKILLS, but…”

Comment by Phil Watts, Jr. 03.03.10 @

’nuff respect due to guru and gangstarr, heres hoping for a swift recovery for guru, i’m not super religious but dude is in my prayers none-the-less, he represented the bean and the rotten apple like no other, i was waitin to hear something on this and finally did from premo, big ups to premo for keepin the heads in the loop, i am hoping for guru to be off life support soon and am well wishin for his family and friends, guru will always be above the clouds compared to 99 percent of emcees

Comment by gstatty 03.03.10 @

Reading these other comments reminded me that I mrt Guru too. Back in the late 90’s, I was walking past an IHOP on Northern Boulevard, and peeped Guru grabbing a bite – he was getting some audio system installed in his car at a shop across the street. I later saw him again outside the “restaurant,” said what’s up, told him I was a fan, gave a pound and kept in moving. Humble, down to earth dude from what I could tell.

Comment by digglahhh 03.03.10 @

Sed it B4 But Step In The arena is the best Gang Starr album Ever. Street Ministry followed by just to get a rep? cmon now. Perfection

Comment by mercilesz 03.04.10 @

Moment Of Truth is an all time classic period.

Comment by Benjamin T 03.04.10 @

100% cosign all the above! But u leave out that guru committed career suicide with that unexplainable strange professional and personal relationship with that talentless Solar guy. i know things with guru and preem wasnt good for a long time but why not go out a prove u can stand on your own, with different, top-notch producers?

Comment by RIOT 03.04.10 @

“Dent puller screw driver & be off quick” that was my mantra in the 90’s – Also I remember a freddie Foxxx interview somewhere where he was saying he had to pull Guru up on his indulgence cause he was letting himself go – take note my dudes – all that fast living catches up to a brother. Get well soon Guru

Comment by D.Baskett 03.04.10 @

Being a Boston native Guru repped Brooklyn harder than most rappers from the borough. As far as Premier carrying the group if you listen to any other rapper from the Gangstarr foundation(BIg Shug, Group Home, Afu Ra, Jeru)on a Premier track Guru provided the most lyrical and vocal consistency. Get well soon.

Comment by Brooklyn 'Lo 03.04.10 @

GURU GET WELL!! I ve never in my life met a head who would entertain dissin GURU, FOH wit that! Moment of Truth was and still is such a big piece of who i became as a man…I got to meet GURU and shake his hand at a show in Cleveland in my mind i was meeting a superstar one of my heroes.

“if nothing else I’m sure GURU bagged some bad-ass jazz broads over in France on the strength of that shit.” <<< this line is funny shit. word.

Comment by stevep 03.04.10 @

well said my man… speedy recovery guru and if this solar dude is vile, guru needs to wake up and lose this cat and call up premo for a reunion tour… amen

Comment by er4se 03.04.10 @

guru better than biggie and pac!

Comment by montannalama 03.04.10 @

I agree that Guru is underappreciated. Step in the Arena was my favorite Gang Starr joint until Moment Of Truth. The first Jazzmatazz and Jazzmatazz: Streetsoul were bangers in their own rights as well. Where Guru started losin’ a little respect was hooking up with “superproducer” (for real?????) Solar and tryin’ to shit on Premo every chance he got, to the point of not only refusing to acknowledge Preme by name but dismissing Gang Starr’s legacy while tryin’ to big up 7 Grand like it was the movement to end all movements. Even with all that, you can’t erase the legacy of one of the greatest groups in the history of Hip-Hop, Gang Starr, The Guru and DJ Premier. Get well soon, Guru ansd shake that snake Lunar.

Comment by oskamadison 03.04.10 @

Get well GURU!!We bumped yo shit in P.C.,Ohio(Between Cleveland and Toledo).You had some CLASSIC albums.I thank you for representing Hip Hop and giving us classics to listen to!You(with Gangstarr) are truly one of the best to ever do it!! I remember buying the first LP.Classic b/c it was the first time I heard “The Voice”!Nobody did it like you and no one ever will.Peace,Big Homie!!

Comment by Shockbox 03.04.10 @

Guru’s versatility is often overlooked. Obviously KRS-One & Kool G. Rap have got more pure energy but I would compare the three based on their mutual ability to spit battle rhymes in one song and then flex on topics on the next and then tell a dope story on another. Anybody with the Full Clip greatest hits double CD knows Guru is not to be taken lightly. That package may be the single greatest album ever released based on how much genuine quality material is included.

Comment by crusher 03.04.10 @

yo what was that french african rapper that was down with the gangstar foundation?…Just to get a rep; favorite song and video, that definitly repped brooklyn.

Comment by biggist from brooklyn 03.04.10 @

I always put GURU as one of my top MC’s, while he was in Gangstarr. There is no denying he fell off a cliff when he did what he did in breaking up the group.I still beileve that Preem carried him, as he carried Group Home, and Jeru, among others. I love GURU, but to me there’s no denying it. Im not saying this as dis-respect at all, This news has saddened me as a Hip Hop fan who plays Gangstarr albums all D time in the whip and try to bring my younger cuzzins and everyone within ear shot to this fantastic group, my fav of all time. Get well Gurizzy, and stay away from that weirod Solar…wassup with you guys dressing alike, not cool..His contributions to Hip Hop are un-deniable, and shall remain so..Soliloqy of Chaos = Fav track…crazy..

Comment by shawamar 03.05.10 @

Those people *are* morons.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Comment by dave 03.05.10 @

Step In the Arena
Daily Operation
Hard To Earn
Moment Of Truth

One of the illest voices in hip hop . One of the best groups to ever do it .

Comment by BJ 03.05.10 @

that Solar seems to be a real f*cking douche…and him and Guru’s relationship is really suspicious , it killed Guru’s career after GangStarr broke up …

Comment by Frankenstein 03.06.10 @

Check it out yall, heres an extremely dope 80 minute ALL Gang Starr mix that I cooked up Live in the mix on my two 1200s and Rane mixer using all original vinyl!! And in case youre wondering, yes, I was inspired to make this mix because of Gurus current health condition. Check it out though, I made sure to feature songs from every one of Gang Starrs 7 albums, soundtracks and 12 singles. There are NO features in this mix, its Guru on the M.I.C. and DJ Premier on the beat. Also, each song is played in full and blended/scratched to perfection. Enjoy…

Gang Starr Mix (1989-2003)
-Mixed by Shaun D. aka Wicked (March 7, 2010 @ 3:50am)

01. Gang Starr – Intro [1990] Chrysalis STEP IN THE ARENA (LP)
02. Gang Starr – Take Two And Pass [1992] Chrysalis DAILY OPERATION (LP)
03. Gang Starr – Credit Is Due [1991] Chrysalis 12″
04. Gang Starr – Gotta Get Over (Taking Loot) [1992] Sire TRESPASS SOUNDTRACK (LP)
05. Gang Starr – Doe In Advance [1993] White Label 12″
06. Gang Starr – ALONGWAYTOGO [1993] Chrysalis HARD TO EARN (LP)
07. Gang Starr – Mostly Tha Voice [1993] Chrysalis HARD TO EARN (LP)
08. Gang Starr – You Know My Steez [1997] Noo Trybe MOMENT OF TRUTH (LP)
09. Gang Starr – The Natural [2001] Virgin PROMO 12″
10. Gang Starr – Zonin’ [2003] Virgin THE OWNERZ (LP)
11. Gang Starr – New York Strait Talk [1998] Noo Trybe MOMENT OF TRUTH (LP)
12. Gang Starr – Work [1997] Noo Trybe CAUGHT UP SOUNDTRACK (LP)
13. Gang Starr – Full Clip [1999] Noo Trybe/Virgin FULL CLIP: A DECADE OF GANG STARR (LP)
14. Gang Starr – The ? Remainz [1994] Chrysalis 12″
15. Gang Starr – B.Y.S. [1992] Chrysalis DAILY OPERATION (LP)
16. Gang Starr – Step In The Arena [1990] Chrysalis STEP IN THE ARENA (LP)
17. Gang Starr – Words I Manifest (Remix) [1989] Wild Pitch 12″
18. Tony Touch feat. Gang Starr – The Piece Maker [1999] Tommy Boy THE PIECE MAKER (LP)
19. Gang Starr – Battle [2002] Interscope 8 MILE SOUNDTRACK (LP)
20. Gang Starr – Tha Squeeze [2001] Priority TRAINING DAY SOUNDTRACK (LP)
21. Funkmaster Flex feat. Gang Starr – Freestyle [1998] Loud THE MIX TAPE VOL. III (LP)
22. Gang Starr – Just To Get A Rep [1990] Chrysalis STEP IN THE ARENA (LP)
23. Gang Starr – Jazz Thing (Video Mix) [1990] Columbia MO’ BETTER BLUES SOUNDTRACK (LP)
24. Gang Starr – Take A Rest [1990] Chrysalis STEP IN THE ARENA (LP)
25. Gang Starr – The Illest Brother [1992] Chrysalis DAILY OPERATION (LP)

-All Songs Produced by DJ Premier

Quality: 256 kbps
Length: 79:58
Size: 146 MB


Comment by Shaud D. aka Wicked 03.08.10 @

Anyone else following this story and starting to think that Guru and Solar are “partners” in that other way? Im just reading between the lines and all signs point to gay

Comment by keatso 03.08.10 @

^^aww shit please say it ain’t so.We already have enough spandex wearing Kid Cudi’s & one jungle brother out in the open

Comment by dj blendz 03.08.10 @

The nerve of this ‘Wicked’ guy…last week he was popping shit about the ‘Counter Strike’ tape being ‘digital only’ and now he’s trying to post some toy mix at my spot? Fuckouttahere.

Comment by Robbie 03.09.10 @

yeah robbie wicked is the wackiest fuck on the net. i heard he is gay anyway fucking his whole crew for records.

Comment by hah 03.09.10 @

I never really understood the downplaying of GURU as a MC. He’s about as sharp as anybody in the game from Step in the Arena up to now. Dude had an influence on me that still resonates to this day.

Maybe because his laid back style is not all up in your face causes ppl to sleep on him lyrically.

Comment by $. Park $lim 03.10.10 @

Gang Starr = the greatest HipHop recording group of all-time!Premier has at least eight albums worth of classic productions and Guru has just under that … Together they have at least five classic albums worth of music, and that puts them in the lead, with Dr.Dre, the E Double and BDP! The cream of the crop!

Comment by ACthePD 03.16.10 @


Comment by pedro 04.20.10 @

RIP Guru. Your words will always manifest

Comment by M.Turn 04.20.10 @ keithy e.1

Comment by swordfish 04.20.10 @

We’ve lost one of the best emcees in the game today. Thank you Guru for everything you contributed to Hip Hop culture. We’ll miss you brother.


Comment by LadyofWar 04.20.10 @

RIP bald head slick

Comment by iLLa 04.21.10 @

stop stepping on toes. the duo was nice. fuck ya’ll hater.suckas just be playing them selfs to have mass appeal.

Comment by kaneda 05.27.10 @

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