Hip hop was rocked this weekend by the news that Guru (Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal), the raspy-voiced Boston rapper for legendary duo Gang Starr, is in a coma following a heart attack. According to Billboard, the rapper, born Keith Elam, will undergo surgery today. Alongside partner DJ Premier, Gang Starr scored an impressive run of classics like "Just To Get A Rep", "Skillz", "Ex-Girl To Next Girl", "Dwyck", "Above the Clouds", "JFK to LAX", "Take It Personal", "You Know My Steez" and "The Militia". The duo released its last album, The Ownerz, in 2003. For an essential introduction to Gang Starr, I highly recommend the double-disc best-of Full Clip: A Decade Of Gang Starr.
DJ Premier's distinctive, oft-imitated yo-yo rhythms and innovative scratching has made him one of the most sought-after producers in hip while Guru teamed up with an eclectic array of collaborators for his fusion-friendly Jazzmatazz series. Elam is 43. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.