Bald Head Slick (RIP)

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I have waited far too long to pay my respects to Keith Elam aka GURU. The man called Gifted, Uplifted, Rhymes Universal, was the epitome of real HipHop. Though he was a Bostonian, he repped BK all day. When he teamed up with Premier, they had a very distinct sound that was clearly original and recognizable. Elam was plus 40, so we were from the same generation. That so-called lost generation X. I identified with him much more than illustrious Dorothy Height who also passed away in April. Definitely, not taking away anything from the Civil Right era, as I recognize and cherish the freedom afforded to me by the Civil Rights movement. However, HipHop culture was indeed a movement in its own right.

More specifically, the "Golden Age" of HipHop which GangStarr was undeniably a cornerstone. Quite frankly I witnessed HipHop with a more active lense than that of the Civil Rights movement. I would even go as far to say that I and many of my friends lived it. Unfortunately, the "Golden Age" of HipHop seems to be gone and never to return. This is a topic for another entry. Guru had a monotone flow that was the hallmark of GangStarr.

GangStarr Foundation was a collection of hustling brothers from Boston to B'klyn. It was the Foundation that helped Premier become the perhaps the most recognized producer/DJ.  Premo is the rare producer that can actually get down on the turntables. He too hails from somewhere else (Tx), but loved to bigup B'klyn.  The beats, lyrics and formula of the duo will be timeless.  Additionally, the sound was strictly NYC. No question..

One of the major problems I have with mainstream radio is that we have a collection of clones. Everyone wants to sound like the dirty south, etc. A&R tales and Clear Channel domination are the main reasons for this problem. The other issue is that up and coming NYC HipHop talent don't understand the foundation of originality and risk taking.

I rank the album "Hard to Earn" in the top-ten albums of all time. I don't care what music genre. "Ownerz" and "Moment of Truth" were also gems. Guru's lyrics always conveyed a message of progression and understanding. Though he wasn't a battle MC like KRS1 both men were quick to call out questionable tactics in the industry and also challenge fake MCs in the game.  I remember that fake MCs don't walk the streets without bodyguards. There is much truth to that ;-)

Though I never met Elam, the music and the hustle was quite familiar to me. He talked about Van Siclen Ave, which used be one of the wildest spots in East New York section of B'klyn (circa '80s). Never hung out on Van Siclen, but I was familiar with Mother Gaston Ave.  Wild indeed. 

Another lesson to be learned is the whole conversation of Power of Attorney.  I have no idea how a manager could yield so much power. The final days of Elam's life was marred with struggle between his family and "nigga who" as Premo refers to him.  I always say family should be first.  After peeping Guru's nephew I could tell that stuff had gone afoul. Very weird indeed.

These are my recollections..  GangStarr foundation is alive in the Premo, Big Shug, NYGz, Group Home, Freddie Foxxx, Jeru the Damaja, Justin Ruff, and you and me.

I have no idea what made Premo and Guru split, but according to Premo he was able to make peace before Guru's death.  I would hope that Pete Rock and CL Smooth could learn a similar lesson. Time is too short for petty beef.  People are typically much stronger collectively than as individuals.

Before I leave here are a couple of jewelz for you ;-)

Several dedications to Guru, but Premier's was most excellent.

Premo's salute
One of my several favorites off the Ownerz album - zonin

It seems that there is also a Guru tribute site

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    This page contains a single entry by AG published on June 20, 2010 3:30 AM.

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