Unsung Heroes of The Hop.

Today, the late great Guru (17.07.66-19.04.10)


I have vague memories of my twelfth birthday. I know there was a cake involved – that much is certain. There are however, some items that still remain with me. A collection of tapes that my dad would pass me with each celebration. Now, on this particular day, a rather special tape presented itself beneath the usual jeans, tee’s and socks.

On it was simply ‘Over 12

You see, I had grown up on a steady diet of Tribe, De la Soul, Miles and the expressives that were suited to 11 year old ears. But now, shit, I was twelve, damn near a man! Who was my Dad to stand in the way of that divine duo Gangstarr?

Guru and Gangstarr meant more than just an effortless flow over jazz induced boom bap. It was a rite of passage. I was now at a time in my life when I could fully engage with the music with no restrictions – no fucking top 40. That day and that tape will stay with me for the rest of my life and I thank Guru for playing his part in that transition.


Guru is the definitive unsung hero of the hop. It was Gangstarr who pioneered a new sound that acknowledged its humble jazz traditions. These effects still resonate strongly today in the monotone, staccato flows of the dirty south to the new jazz offerings of Pharell, Kanye and co. The Jazzmatazz movement bridged the gap even further; Guru dipped his toes into muddier territory with the likes of Courtney Pine, Jamiroquai and hundreds of open minded artists, while we, the avid listeners lamented the dream duo split but nodded melancholy nonetheless.

Although I am shocked at the news of his passing. I take solace in over decades of treasured work and the memories of that twelfth birthday.

Over 12

R.I.P Keith Elam (17.07.66-19.04.10)

Now listen.

Lemonade was a popular drink and it still is/
I get more props and stunts than Bruce Willis.

Never gets old!


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