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This is dope on multiple levels. BBC Radio 1Xtra put together an hour long audio documentary about the late Keith “Guru” Elam. The program is part of the station’s ongoing “Gone Too Soon” series and features commentary from DJ Premier, Common, Radio 1Xtra’s DJ Semtex and Benji B, and others, including the Boston native’s family and OG Gang Starr member Big Shug. 

Included is commentary from Solar, Guru’s musical partner in the latter portion of his career who has been vilified for allegedly keeping the Boston rapper away from his old friends.

The story starts in Boston and Guru’s father, brother and sister help tell of his growing up there as the son of a judge. Original Gang Starr member Big Shug explains how he taught this well-educated, middle-class kid to rap and of Guru’s move down the coast to the birthplace of hip-hop, New York.

It was in New York that Guru would join forces with DJ Premier to form the now celebrated final line up of Gang Starr. Side-by-side for almost 15 years and six albums, together they pioneered jazz sampling hip-hop, working with Jeru the Damaja, Snoop Dogg, Nice’n’Smooth, Jadakiss, MOP, Big L and Inspectah Deck of Wu Tang. Later Guru’s solo project, the Jazzmatazz series, brought together jazz musicians and rappers including Donald Byrd, Herbie Hancock, Roy Ayers, Erykah Badu, The Roots, Common, Kool Keith, Angie Stone and Slum Village.

There is plenty of history in this hour long doc that any long time Gang Starr and Guru fan, and even someone just getting acquainted with theur legacy, will surely appreciate. Listen to BBC Radio 1Xtra’s “The Story Of Guru” below.


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Photo: Guru

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