This year we’ve already lost a number of musical icons. Now comes word of the death of Gang Starr rapper Guru at the age of 43. His reported cause of death has been listed as Cancer. Last month he had fallen into a coma after suffering a heart attack. No doubt, he must’ve put up a tough fight. Guru was one half of Gang Starr with the legendary DJ Premier. Together they released six studio records. His delivery was delightfully deadpan and distinctive. His authoritative tone also made him a sought after guest MC on other artists’ records. There was a cool, calm and collected vibe to his flow. It was never labored. It was natural. Known for hits like “Mass Appeal” and “You Know My Steez,” Gang Starr stood out in the nineties as pioneers while hip-hop enjoyed a creative peak. Guru’s smoothness combined with Premier’s turntable skills proved to be a potent match. In addition, Guru issued a number of solo records under his own name. Four of them came under the “Jazzmatazz” banner, effectively combining jazz-based elements with hip-hop. He always seemed wise beyond his years. He possessed a rare level of gravitas and clarity. It’s sad he will no longer be there to show lesser MC’s how it is done. R.I.P. Keith Elam. As Guru, you were a master of your craft, creating quality hip-hop records for the ages. You will be greatly, greatly missed!