Born Keith Edward Elam in Boston, Massachusetts on July 17, 1961, rapper Guru (Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal) became one of the most influential and revered MCs of all time. His influence on the jazz rap movement is immeasurable. Guru began his musical career in 1987 as a member of rap group Gang Starr. The group didn’t achieve much success until the line up changed and Guru was the sole original member, joined by DJ Premier. The duo released the album No More Mr. Nice Guy in 1989, and began to build a following. They released Step in the Arena in 1991, followed a year later by Daily Operation. In 1993, Guru released his first solo album, Guru’s Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1, which featured collaborations with Donald Byrd, MC Solaar, Roy Ayers, and N’Dea Davenport. He returned to Gang Starr for the 1994 album Hard to Earn. His Guru’s Jazzmatazz, Vol. 2: The New Reality was released in 1995. The album featured Branford Marsalis, Chaka Khan, Jamiroquai, and Ramsey Lewis. He resumed his work with Gang Starr for the album Moment of Truth in 1998. Two years later, Guru’s Jazzmatazz, Vol. 3: Streetsoul included appearances from Angie Stone, Kelis, Craig David, Isaac Hayes, The Roots, Herbie Hancock, and others. Guru took a break from the Jazzmatazz series and released the album Baldhead Slick & da Click in 2001 and Version 7.0: The Street Scriptures – produced by Solar - in 2005. By popular demand, he released Guru’s Jazzmatazz, Vol. 4: The Hip Hop Jazz Messenger – Back to the Future, which featured Slum Village, David Sanborn, Common, Bob James, Ronnie Laws and many others. Guru 8.0: Lost and Found – another collaboration with Solaar – was released in 2009. On February 28, 2010, Guru went into cardiac arrest and fell into a coma following surgery. He died on April 19, 2010 from multiple myeloma.

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