Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I remember coming home from school.  It was probably 1990, maybe 1991 so I was in high school.  As I turned onto my block, I noticed that mid-way to my building, there was a crowd outside.  I wasn't afraid of a crowd of youth then so I approached.

On my block... my block?... there was Guru.  The rap half of rap duo Gangstarr.  He was surrounded by his entourage and every speaker in everyone's home on the block was put to every window and in synchrony they all blasted "Words I Manifest"... or at least that's what it seemed like to me.

I have no idea why Guru was on my block.  He wasn't even from the Bronx.  Anyone could tell from his rhymes that he was clearly from Baaahston.  As a successful rapper, he could have chilled anywhere, my block is nothing special so clearly he must have known someone.  As delighted as I was to see him, I had to head home.  If I called my mother a minute after 3:35, she'd go crazy on me. I could have tried to sneak back out, hang out with the entire block and Guru, but I opted not to.  Just seeing him, gazing at him (stalker-like) in passing, and having that moment engraved in my memory was enough.  I called every friend I had and my boyfriend and told them who I just saw.  You know they ain't believe me.

This mellow voiced maestro has a distinctive sound.... was essential to hip-hop... while everyone left the jazz sampling in the 90s, he continued creating 4 volumes of Guru's Jazzmatazz.  I don't listen to hip-hop as I used to and we all know that the time and quality that was once poured into the genre is presently lacking.  Just take a look at Guru's lyrics from "Manifest"...

I suggest you take a breath for the words I manifest
they will scold you and mold you, while I impress upon
you the fact that, I use my tact at
rhymin for climbin, and chill while I attract that
girl you're with, I got a sincere quality
I give her all of me, cause you're too small to be
tryin to riff, so let me uplift and shift my gift
Let's go to the fullest capacity
I got tenacity, because I have to be
The brother who must live and give with much insight
Foresight to ignite, excite and delight
And you might gain from it, or feel pain from it
Because I'm ultimate, and I'm about to let off
Knowledge is wisdom, understanding
Truth's the proof, so won't you throw a hand
in the air, put up a peace sign and be fine
If so we're feeling good we should we could we would
Stop, think for a moment OK?
And then sway while I convey that we must do away
with all the stress and the strife, so god bless your life
Use kindness, and never blindness
And you will find that this perspective is best, check it out
These are the words that I manifest, I manifest

On Monday, April 19, 2010, Keith Guru Elam transitioned from this life. He is, was and will always continue to be certified...


Luv said...

indeed he is a legend.. cancer is a beast. we don't get hip hop like that any more.

we lost Dorothy Heights that day as well..

the old Greats are leaving one by one..can you imagine just being left with the talents of Lil wayne and Souljah Boy

25champ said...

Thanks 4 taken me back 2 when hip hop was pure. Guru will soar be missed as our younger gen move on to this new hip hop era.....but theirs nothing like going back to when hip hop was real. Great Post and check me out when you get a chance.

MsKnowitAll said...

Hey Luv... We did lose Dorothy Heights on the same day. Guru and Ms. Heights took the journey together. Thanks for mentioning her.

Yeah *sigh* Wacka Flocka and Souljah Boy, I have no idea who them fools is (sorry for my New York dialect).

Thanks Champ. There's nothing like old skool hip-hop. I'm sure these young-ins are probably feeling Yung Joc & Nikki Minaj like I was feeling Roxanne Shante and Slick Rick.