It’s been two years since the ill-timed death of Keith “Guru’ Elam, and to be quite blunt, it’s very frustrating to see this icon’s contributions to the culture go so neglected. It seems all the fuckery that went down right after his passing with Holar’s (from here on out we’ll refer to him as “Sirius B”) iniquitous antics overshadowed the chance to celebrate Guru’s life. Off the bat, it seemed that negative press followed everywhere Guru’s name was brought up. Well, not entirely, but with so much of “Sirius B’s” fabricated stories popping up, it sure seemed that way.
“Sirius B” embraced the four devils AZ spoke about in Affirmative Action: “Lust, Envy, Hate, Jealousy…” Instead of focusing the attention on Guru, “Sirius B” became the nucleus of the media, and it’s pretty certain that this was all a part of his “big plan.” Exploitation was definitely also a part of his plan and was shown and proved by the snake move of releasing a couple of unreleased mp3s just 24 hours after Guru’s passing. But, I digress.
Guru’s passing and the headlines that surrounded it sort of reminds me of when Big L passed. It really lacked the depth of attention it should have garnered. And I don’t mean the focus on these two legends’ deaths, but their legacy. When L passed, you’d be hard pressed to hear or see as much media attention about his contributions to Hip-Hop as Biggie, Pac or Dilla’s eternal rest. I acknowledge that L is widely recognized as a legend, as is Guru, so why is there a lack of devoted months to these two fallen soldiers? I mean, with all due respect, Dilla has his own month with a string of events following it that celebrate his life. The fact that the 2011 Grammys failed to mention Guru in a list of musicians that passed further showed the true nature of the music industry, and I, as many others, was appalled and dismayed.
Guru’s contributions to music with the Jazzmatazz project alone should have etched his name into stone eternally. (Tsk tsk, Grammy Award board members) In my personal opinion, Guru helped change the game with the Jazzmatazz series. When Hip-Hop was at it’s peak of sampling great jazz legends, Guru was busy collaborating and enlisting the help of the very same musicians that were being sampled. The first two in the series were incredible and dare I say, flawless. To solicit the cooperation of jazz luminaries like Donald Byrd, Lonnie Liston Smith, Roy Ayers, Branford Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard and Brian Holt was quite revolutionary at the time, and til this day, remains suspended in time.
I did have the chance to speak with Guru’s nephew, Justin Elam who also runs The X Label and he did mention he has a few special things lined up for Guru’s born day (July 17th) including making his original demo tape (pictured above) available for download. I’m not too sure if those are still up for sale on the site, but if they are, make sure to grab yourself a copy, regardless if they’ll be made available for download. It will surely become a Hip-Hop collectible (if it’s not already) and it’s quite impressive to hear a young Keithy K during the genesis of his career. I know I’m all over the place with this one, hence the title, “Soliloquy of Chaos.” These were just my thoughts at the time of writing. Rest In Power eternally Guru! We love ya!