On July 17, 1961, Keith Edward Elam was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Sadly, 14 years ago today the late, great MC Guru lost his battle with melanoma, a form of cancer. April 19, 2010, was a tragic day for hip-hop heads worldwide because we lost a true emcee and all-around great human being.

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Guru started his career in 1987. He relocated to the Hip-Hop mecca of New York City, where he founded Gang Starr. In 1989, with three records and no real blip on Hip-Hop’s radar, Guru switched producers and began working with DJ Premier. After that, it was a wrap. The duo released its first LP, “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” with Wild Pitch Records, and six more critically acclaimed albums followed.

Premier and Guru made for a perfect combination. Guru’s uniquely monotone delivery and storytelling ability, combined with Premier’s punctuating, soulful production, inspired some of the dopest verses in Hip-Hop history. The Source ranked Guru as the #30 Best Emcee of Our Time.


Guru’s recording career was one of the most fruitful amongst his peers. The duo Gang Starr released six classic albums, all of which were praised by critics and beloved by the streets. Guru also released 10 albums without Premier. 16 projects from any artist are impressive, and as an emcee, it’s almost unheard of.

Guru and Premier will go down as one of the most prolific duos in Hip-Hop history. They have paved the way for the likes of Atmosphere from Minnesota, which is made up of DJ/Producer Ant and emcee Slug. Today, in the fifth year of his passing, let us celebrate Guru’s contribution to the beautiful art of Hip-Hop. Enjoy the video for “Moment Of Truth,” a classic by Gang Starr.