One of Hip Hop’s most influential emcees is presently in critical condition, several sources say. Guru, one half of pioneering ’80s, ’90s and ’00s Brooklyn-based Hip Hop group Gang Starr suffered a heart attack this weekend, according to the emcee and producer’s sister Tricia.
HipHopWired.com says that the emcee, born Keith Elam is presently in a coma from complications of going into cardiac arrest. Guru is best known for penning hits such as “Words I Manifest,” “Discipline” and “Just To Get A Rep.” Between 1986 and 2004, Guru (an acronym Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal) founded Gang Starr, a duo with DJ Premier that also includes Gang Starr Foundation affiliates Big Shug, Group Home, Jeru Da Damaja and Smiley Da Ghetto Child.
Born and raised in the Boston area, Guru relocated to Brooklyn in the late ’80s, where Gang Starr released its first singles with 45 King as producer. By 1988, the group evolved as a duo with Premier, and released their 1989 full-length debut No More Mr. Nice Guy on Wild Pitch Records. The duo would go on to release classic albums on Chrysalis/Virgin/EMI, such as 1994’s Hard To Earn and 1998’s Moment Of Truth. Gang Starr’s last album, 2003’s The Ownerz featured Jadakiss, Fat Joe and longtime affiliate Freddie Foxxx. The platinum group toured the world and released several greatest hits collections, most notably Full Clip: A Decade Of Gang Starr in 1999. The duo announced their split in 2004, reportedly due to creative and personal differences.
As a solo artist, Guru released four volumes of Jazzmatazz, Jazz-inspired recordings with legendary genre artists such as Donald Byrd and Roy Ayers. Guru has launched two labels in his career, Ill Kid Records and 7Grand, where he and production partner Solar worked alongside artists such as Talib Kweli, Damian Marley and Jean Grae.
HipHopDX extends prayerful thoughts to one of our staff’s most-respected emcees, the Elam family, Solar, DJ Premier and fans. We will keep you updated.
UPDATE: Miss Info confirms these reports with sources close to Guru. The emcee is presently in a New York hospital, awaiting surgery. DJ Eclipse spoke with DJ Premier, who also confirmed this. Premier was going to address the matter on Eclipse’s Sirius Hip Hop Nation show, but later changed his decision.
NahRight.com has compiled Twitter reactions from notable artists including Jean Grae, ?uestlove, Royce Da 5’9″ and Jay Electronica.
UPDATE: Solar, Guru’s production partner and co-founder of 7 Grand Records released a statement to HipHopDX through his spokespeople at Yo! Public Relations. The statement is as follows, “Guru is struggling with a serious health issue. We, the whole 7 Grand Records family, appreciate all your love and well wishes. We continue to hold out hope that Guru will make a full recovery from this. We ask that his privacy on this matter will be respected. Again, thank you for all your support through this trying time.”
DX will continue to report on this, with full respect to the privacy of Guru and his family.
UPDATE: Spokespeople for Guru and 7 Grand Records told HipHopDX early Tuesday morning that Guru’s surgery yesterday was successful, and the emcee is expected to make a full recovery. More information will be made available today.
UPDATE: Sources have revealed that Guru remains in a coma after the surgery. The coma is reportedly due to controlled medications. Meanwhile, the emcee famous for his raspy voice is presently on a breathing machine. Fans are urged to continue their prayers and good wishes, and you will be updated soon.
UPDATE: Today (March 3), through his Yo-PR platform, Guru released the following statement. There is no indication if the emcee is still using a breathing apperatus: “I am doing fine and I am recovering. I’m weak though. Solar is the only person who has the accurate info on my situation. Any info from anybody else is false. I appreciate your well wishes and all the love.”
UPDATE: This morning (March 5), Solar released a statement reacting the Wednesday posting of a YouTube video testimony from Guru’s nephew Justin. “I have nothing but the deepest love and respect for The Elam family. But I have not stopped anybody from seeing him! Guru’s brother, sister and niece has visited with him and his brother was here for three days. I am in touch with them on a daily basis. Guru’s family dynamic and who he wants to look out for his interests is Guru’s business and best left to Guru to discuss. I will state that Guru wanted this matter to be kept private to protect his loved ones and fans from this ordeal, and from it becoming a circus, which it is becoming. Guru has made clear he does not want anything to do with certain people from his past, and for them too be making false statements about his health is unacceptable.” The producer continued, “Guru’s well being and need to heal is what I am concerned with,and that Guru’s wishes in this matter be observed.”