Pop & Hiss

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Remembering Guru with Gang Starr's defining cut

April 20, 2010 |  2:47 pm

Acclaimed rapper Guru, best known as one-half of jazzy-rap duo Gang Starr, has died, according to a statement released from his most recent collaborator, producer Solar. The Times will post a full obituary later Tuesday.

Solar's statement contains a note purportedly written by Guru, who died at the age of 43 after a battle with cancer. 

The statement reads: “I, Guru, am writing this letter to my fans, friends and loved ones around the world. I have had a long battle with cancer and have succumbed to the disease. I have suffered with this illness for over a year. I have exhausted all medical options. I have a non-profit organization called Each One Counts dedicated to carrying on my charitable work on behalf of abused and disadvantaged children from around the world and also to educate and research a cure for this terrible disease that took my life. I write this with tears in my eyes, not of sorrow but of joy for what a wonderful life I have enjoyed and how many great people I have had the pleasure of meeting."

Gang Starr was never a huge commercial success, but the act enjoyed a bounty of critical acclaim. Along with DJ Premier, Gang Starr is viewed as a hugely influential act on underground hip-hop, marrying direct lyricism with intricately orchestrated backdrops. The act's "Jazz Thing" appeared on the group's 1989 debut album, and was later featured in the Spike Lee film  “Mo’ Better Blues.” The early single would often be cited as Gang Starr's defining cut.

The statement, posted in full by MTV.com, takes aim at Guru's former collaborator. “I do not wish my ex-DJ to have anything to do with my name likeness, events tributes etc. connected in anyway to my situation including any use of my name or circumstance for any reason and I have instructed my lawyers to enforce this. I had nothing to do with him in life for over 7 years and want nothing to do with him in death. Solar has my life story and is well informed on my family situation, as well as the real reason for separating from my ex-DJ.”

A more in-depth post on Guru will follow.

-- Todd Martens