Initially reported by several sources, including Hip Hop Wired, HipHopDX, NahRight and Miss Info, and now confirmed, veteran MC Guru, known best for his work as member of Gang Starr, along with DJ Premier, suffered a serious cardiac arrest over the weekend, and is hospitalized in New York.
Most reports state that he had been comatose, and expected to undergo surgery Monday. Little more is known at this time, but we will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
On a personal note, I met Guru when I was briefly interning at D&D Studios in NYC. After getting yelled at for not recognizing him and buzzing him right in, we later rode the elevator together, where he explained he was just messing with me, and walked to a bodega as he reminisced about Biggie. He bought me a beer, and we parted. I never saw him again, but often told that story, because he was simply a cool ass dude to me that day. I personally do wish him the best.
And also by the way, Guru recently re-released his first solo album, Version 7.0: The Street Scriptures, as a free download. Grab it at Version 7.0: The Street Scriptures, and as my man Ian at Different Kitchen says, let’s hope that this isn’t the last we’ll hear from Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal.
His PR agency, YO! Promotions, released a statement earlier on Monday:
Yo! Promotions officially confirms the rumors that our client and friend Guru, legendary MC and founder of the world famous Hip-Hop group GangStarr, has suffered a heart attack over the weekend in New York City.
Hit producer and Guru’s longtime partner Solar released a statement that reads, “Guru is struggling with a serious health issue. We, the whole 7 Grand Records family, appreciate all your love and well wishes. We continue to hold out hope that Guru will make a full recovery from this. We ask that his privacy on this matter will be respected. Again, thank you for all your support through this trying time.”
During what must be an incredibly hard and stressful time, Yo! Promotions send prayers, thoughts, and wishes to the Elam family, frequent collaborators and producer Solar as well as fans.
Guru, whose real name is Keith Elam, rose to fame in the 80’s as one of the founders of the legendary rap group GangStarr. Together with DJ Premier they released the classic single “Words I Manifest” followed by their critically acclaimed debut album “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (1989) and the classic album “Step In The Arena” (1991). Guru was the first artist to truly blend Hip-Hop with Live Jazz beginning in 1993, and seeing the vast influences his “Jazzmatazz” concept has had on the industry, it is clear that Guru’s musical contributions have been way ahead of their time. Despite the fact that Guru isn’t hailing from New York, he is noted as a pioneer of the New York sound and true lyrical Hip-Hop. Guru later on joined forces with hit producer Solar and formed his label 7 Grand Records with the goal to keep “real” Hip-Hop alive.
As one of the best kept secrets in Hip-Hop and music history, as an innovator and royal luminary of Hip-Hop and Hip-Hop/Jazz, Guru aka “Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal” worked with such great artists as Herbie Hancock, Isaac Hayes, Donald Byrd, Ramsey Lewis, Roy Ayers, Chaka Kahn, Branford Marsalis, David Sanborn, Bob James, Erykah Badu, The Roots, Common, Angie Stone, Jamiroquai, Macy Gray and Damien Marley, to name a few.
Most recently, Guru released his latest solo album titled “Lost And Found” in May 2009 featuring the singles “Divine Rule”, “Fast Lane”, and “Best Of My Years”. Last week, the legendary MC offered his first solo Hip-Hop album “Version 7.0: The Street Scriptures” (2005) for free download to the masses which shows how he appreciates his worldwide fans.