Take a moment to remember Guru, one of the game's enduring lyricists.
Today, Guru would have been celebrating his 58th birthday, looking back on an impressive collection of hip-hop classics. Yet the Gang Starr lyricist passed away on April 19th, 2010, succumbing to complications from cancer. Though many younger fans might not be familiar with Guru's career, rest assured that he was both respected by his peers and influential to those who stepped up later. Together with DJ Premier, the pair formed Gang Starr in the late eighties and would go on to forge a brilliant musical partnership. In 1989, they released their debut album No More Mr. Nice Guy, driven by the single "Positivity."
In 1993, he first released Guru's Jazzmatazz Vol 1, which found him exploring and deftly blending the worlds of jazz and hip-hop. The project, which was recorded at New York's iconic D&D studio, would ultimately captivate both American and European markets, the latter of which came to appreciate the spotlight on Jazz music. While navigating his own experimental solo career, Guru continued to drop fire with Primo behind the boards, delivering six studio albums until 2003's The Ownerz. Their final drop arrived during a shifting musical landscape, yet Guru's battle-hardened rhymes and Primo's stalwart and timeless production made for a refreshing time capsule, a revised take on a pure hip-hop era. If you don't remember "Right Where You Stand," be sure to revisit one of their biggest singles to date above.
Sadly, Guru's death cast a dark shadow on the game. Though it has been nine years since his passing, hip-hop still remembers the legendary emcee. Naturally, DJ Premier made sure to share a heartfelt birthday message to his musical partner and friend, alongside a nostalgic clip of Guru in action. "HAPPY 58th BORN DAY GURU!!! (R.I.P.) KING," he writes. "YOU'RE FOREVER CHISELD IN STONE!!! COLD MAKIN' HISTORY...YOUR SOUL LIVES IN THE UNIVERSE OF GREATNESS!!! WE LOVE YOU and MISS YOU!!! ONE OF THE BEST YET!" Happy birthday Guru, gone but not forgotten. Do yourself a favor and pay homage to one of hip-hop history's great lost ones.