By: Greg Silberman (University At Buffalo)

The life of a rap legend was stolen Monday night, when Keith Elam professionally known as “Guru” collapsed and went into a coma at the age of 43. After battling cancer for well over a year, the Bostonian hip-hop icon went into cardiac arrest on February 28, and was in a coma ever since.

Known for his unique monotone delivery and ability to combine different beats and sounds, “Guru” founded the hip-hop duo “Gang Starr,” and began to gain recognition in the early 1990’s. Between 1989 and 2003, the pair released six studio albums and became famous for making “conscious rap,” a sub-genre of hip-hop that focuses specifically on social issues. 

Shortly after his death, former “Gang Starr” partner, Solar released a letter that was allegedly written by the rapper before he passed- “I, Guru, I am writing this letter to my fans, friends and loved ones around the world. I have had a long battle with cancer and have succumbed to the disease. I have suffered with this illness for over a year. I have exhausted all medical options.”

Guru will forever be remembered in the hip-hop and rap world for his influential lyrics and love for jazz, rap, and the music world as a whole.

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