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R.I.P. Guru (1961-2010)

R.I.P. Guru (1961-2010)

Apr 25, 2010

There are certain MC’s who I’ve always wanted to meet, for different reasons. There are certain cats who I’d want to do a song with. Others I’d like to hang out with and just pick their brain about everything I could think of. Then there’s a small group of MC’s-maybe 15-20 cats total, who I don’t even think I could find the words for-those whom, given the opportunity, I’d simply walk up to, give them a copy of my CD, and say: “Thank you. You helped inspire and influence this, and I hope I made you proud.” Then I’d just walk away. Guru would have been one of those people. Of course there are people better known, whether rightfully or not, for helping to shape hip-hop into something I’ve loved dearly since the first time I heard Run-DMC at my aunt’s in the St. Bernard Projects. But as far as myself personally, there’s a short list of men and women who’ve sent me in the direction I’ve gone in ever since I started writing rhymes in used black-and-white composition noteboks back in the 7th grade. Whether it was sound, style, substance, or swagger(for lack of a better word), I wouldn’t be who I am today had I not played their tapes until they popped, or spent gas money on tickets then had to bum a ride to their shows, or memorized their lyrics till I knew them better than my own. While he never was quite able to put together that single body of work that would earn him a spot in the “G.O.A.T.” Debate, Guru’s legacy can be determined by doing one thing: asking your favorite rappers about him. Very few people in the world of hip-hop have garnered respect across the board-east or west coast, gangster or backpack, pimp or player-as the MC half of Gang Starr.

I remember when he got to the legend level in my book. I’d always liked Gang Starr, but never really followed them. Then one day in freshman year of college, my roomate (whatup P!) came in with a copy of Moment of Truth. I’m not proud of it, but I still owe him a copy, because when freshman year was over, his CD went home with me. Guru blended the grimy and the smooth, the deep and the light, so seamlessly that it all simply seemed like different facets of onne genuine personality. And he could spit. That’s what comes to mind when I think of Guru. I hope that someone thinks of me the same way someday.


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