Today (April 19) we celebrate the memory and brilliant musicianship of Keith “Guru” Elam who passed away two years ago after falling into a coma and succumbing to cancer.
Over the course of his career, Guru collaborated with some of the biggest names in music, including giants outside of the Rap genre such as the legendary Roy Ayers, Donald Byrd, and Chaka Khan. His catalog was so humongous that there were certainly gems that were overlooked and somehow forgotten.
At times, Guru got downright grimy, conjuring up sounds that might shock the faint at heart. At other times, he was oozing with positivity, talking topics like manhood and saving the youth. It got us to thinking – what Guru tracks have fallen below the radar over the years?
Since we miss him dearly, check out AllHipHop.com’s list of five of Guru’s most slept-on songs and verses below:
5. Gang Starr – “DWYCK” ft. Nice and Smooth
“You could say I’m sorta the boss so get lost / The brotha dat will make you change opinions / Dominions I’m in them when it’s time to kick sh*t from / The heart, plus I get a piece of the action / I’m feelin satisfaction from the street crowd reaction”
As the follow-up to 1992’s Daily Operation, “DWYCK” was featured on Gang Starr’s fourth album Hard to Earn and was one of the higher charting singles from the critically-acclaimed LP that produced records like “Mass Appeal” and “Code of the Streets.” He featured Nice and Smooth, and you have to admit that at a certain point, they could do no wrong.
4. Guru – “Supa Love” ft. Kelis
“There’s not a problem that I can’t fix / Not a hot track, that I can’t flip / There ain’t no sex style, that you can’t pick / After my supa love, you’ll be like you can’t switch”
“Supa Love” dropped on Guru’s third Jazzmatazz volume titled Streetsoul. The MC pulled out all the stops on this album when he brought in Pharrell Williams, DJ Premier, The Roots, Erykah Badu, Macy Gray, and a host of others to collaborate on his second to last Jazzmatazz release. It was a sexier side than we usually saw from Guru – but then again, Kelis WAS on the track.
3. Cutthroats – “Stop Looking At Me” ft. Guru
“I don’t give a f*ck if you talk sh*t / I’ll make you a follower, passin out leaflets / So beef this”
The 13th track on 1993’s Menace II Society soundtrack gave listeners a very Onyx-sounding Guru that fans had rarely heard before. On an album that featured tracks from Brand Nubian, MC Eight and Brand Nubian, Guru and the Cutthroats had the perfect recipe for standing out (and scaring the heck out of old people) on a track.
2. Heavy D & The Boyz – “A Buncha N*ggas” ft. Third Eye, Guru, Notorious B.I.G., Rob-O & Busta Rhymes
“It’s time for me to flow and get down with this / I’m pullin out my mic, spittin off some rounds to this / I gotta known rep, so son you better slide out / Cause when I’m flippin, I’ll be rippin your pride out”
“A Buncha N*ggas” closed out Heavy D & The Boyz fourth album Blue Funk and was also one of the first records that Biggie ever recorded as he sought out a deal in the early days. Not only did the album contain production from DJ Premier, Guru practically steals the show from a gaggle of greats with his verse from the album’s last track.
1. Guru – “Life” ft. M.O.P. & Stikken Move
1995 was the year that “Life” premiered on Guru’s Ill Kid Records album which to this day is heralded as one of the MC’s rarest gems, due to his production taking center stage on an album that he only appeared three times on vocally. A young M.O.P. laced the track, along with a little-known MC named Stikken Move – hey, Guru collaborated with any and everyone.
R.I.P. Keith “Guru” Elam. We will never forget!