As a Hip Hop nation, even if we can’t agree on the top 5 MC’s ever, or if Nicki Minaj eats “the box” or not, we can all agree that we hate John Barry Mo’sher. In fact, thousands of us flock to FuckSolar.com daily, just to see who hates him more. My money’s on Keith Elam’s family, for obvious reasons, but that’s beside the point. One thing’s for sure, though. This guy has completely overshadowed the life/death of a man that was extremely instrumental in the maturation process of the Hip Hop culture. May the Lord smile upon Guru’s family, because it’s becoming apparent that Solar has the devil riding shotgun with him, in a proverbial whip that was probably paid for through Guru’s blood, sweat & tears. Just saying.
I’m one of those who believes it takes more energy to pay attention to bullshit than ignore it. Not that I’m lazy, but some things aren’t worth thought, much less action. Yeah, fuck Solar, but that’s about the extent of my sentiment. Yet & still, allow me to present a golf audience’s applause to the hacker(s) who infiltrated Solar’s email & Twitter accounts over the weekend, releasing a stream of incriminating exchanges between him & his handlers. The authenticity of said information is still in question (although Solar denies everything), but really though, this dude has already been tried & convicted in the streets. Nobody cares how “real” he, or anything pertaining to him is at this point. All they care about is beating a dead horse. But let’s face it; all the hate in the world, while well deserved, isn’t going to bring Guru back. Start building a time machine, & then let’s talk.
According to one of the leaked emails, Solar’s tickled by the media frenzy that’s befallen him. “LOL’s” & the whole nine. I saw that coming a mile away & I’m not surprised in the slightest. Thanks to our blood lust, this fucking douche nozzle can write a book, do a talk show tour, make appearances, you name it, & he gets paid for it. I said it before, but it’s worth repeating; this was all part of his plan. He’s like a Hip Hop, homo Hannibal Lecter, & we’re all Clarice Starling, helplessly looking at this nigga tell us about some Goddamned Fava beans & chianti. Fuck him, Fava beans, & though I’m not quite sure what it is, chianti too. For every bit of fame that successfully escaped his talentless, greedy, hairy little palms, we-the people-have given him twice as much free publicity. & he knows it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he just up & disappeared from America, only to pull a Roman Polanski on another continent. We all know about Roman Polanski, right? But, I digress.
Not that I’m suggesting or advising this, but unless somebody plans on clapping this clown while he’s lip gloss shopping, it’s high time we leave misery alone. They love company, or so I’ve heard. Sadly, it’s too late to focus on the important issue, but we can at least stop giving this man the attention he’s been yearning for what could be years & years. God only knows what details will never see the light. & honestly, I’m not sure I even care anymore.
I’ve seen enough episodes of ‘My Name Is Earl‘ to know the impact of karmic retribution. Plus, in all honesty, hate is a strong word. The Ku Klux Klan hates Black people. Arizona hates Brown (& Black) people. Smell my cologne? That’s just too much negativity to be responsible for, & the last thing I want to do is continue to shine light on this lame son of a bitch. In fact, after this, I’ll never type his name again. That’s the least I can do for the Elam family.
I urge that we turn our collective backs on this asshole, & boycott his life. Remember in ‘Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare,’ when the kids decided to stop believing in Freddy, because their fear & hate only fueled his existence? Well, that’s what I’m trying to do here.
Apparently, the emails are confirmed authentic. Ugh. Peep further info here.
If you’re reading this, that means I’m guaranteed you have at least minimal knowledge on the group Gangstarr. Even if it’s just because we discussed the impact of Guru’s death on these threads a few times. R.I.P. Keith Elam.
Since he died, all types of information has become available to those who are curious, the last tid bit being that the infamous Solar was abusive in their seemingly peculiar relationship. I say peculiar, because by most opinions, their friendship was on the business end of bizarre. Some people have gone as far as to ask what many of us were thinking. “Was Guru gay?” It’s a reasonable inquiry, given the shade thrown on the men’s association since Guru died. Before his death though, not many people were to interested in what Guru had going on. Self included. Perhaps if we had’ve been paying closer attention then, we wouldn’t be so confused now. Now, everybody’s mad at Solar, & Solar is steadily becoming famous, in a Kat Stacks kind of way. That’s probably all he ever wanted. If he’s really the type of guy he’s being portrayed as, he’s loving every minute of his 15. I wouldn’t doubt that he goes to the ‘Nets’ favorite new site, FuckSolar.Com, just to bask in the anti-glory of his hatred. But I digress. All bullshit aside, where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire, but I don’t judge, I just speculate for the next man to.
Before I started typing, I had to ask myself first, “What if Guru was gay?” Does that have anything at all to do with his music & legacy? Does that governor the amount of influence he had on the Hip Hop culture? Is rap music ready for an MC to admit that he lusts for intimate bromance?
If Guru was gay, it has no bearing on his creative output. In no way would that change or obscure his place in the culture. Maybe to the small minded, or easily offended, but not to the average fan who grow up on his (& DJ Premier’s) music. Especially since he’s never referenced it in a song. I think the same would apply to an outwardly gay rapper today. A person’s perception is easily swayed by packaging. As long as the rapper doesn’t make self-righteous, awkward songs about forbidden love, I don’t see where his personal life would interrupt the showcasing of his ability. The time is approaching for that one, brave rapper to come out & admit he’s gay. & chances are, we’ll be alive to see. Though the initial backlash will most likely crash Twitter (yay!), I doubt it would be as painful a revelation as most people think. As a society, we’ve accepted gay people in the community. Because if we hadn’t, believe that hate crimes would be much more prevailant than they are. So obviously, it’s not that big of a deal to most people, even the ones that hurl epithets to fit in with the crowd. You know, the ones who do shit ‘just to get a rep,’ so to speak.
Personally, I couldn’t care less. I’ve befriended quite a few gay dudes in my life, & I can honestly say that A) not one has attempted to rape me, & B) they don’t sit around & talk about their sexual conquests. Just to be on the safe side though, I don’t eat popsicles or corn on the cob around them. Miscommunication can happen in the blink of an eye.
It’s to the point to where only a fool would shake his pretentious, proverbial fist at the gay lifestyle. & I say that as a man who, wholeheartedly, doesn’t not advocate it. I don’t condone nor attempt to quantify reasoning for same sex relationships. But, what the hell does it really have to do with me? Until the hand of God Sodom & Gomorrah‘s us, it’s not my concern or responsibility where a man does or does not place his “Exit Only” sign. From a statistical stand point though, there’s a gay rapper out there. I doubt he’s in a hurry to wave his hands in the air, though. With the omnipotent ‘Net shadowing the lives of the famous & the nameless alike, I wouldn’t be so quick to admit something of that magnitude myself. Some things are better kept in the darkness for as long as possible, & I totally understand that. I’m old enough to know that there’s only 2 types of people in life: allies & enemies. There’s no room for skin color & sexual preference in either category.
I don’t think Guru was gay, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being abnormally curious as to the inner workings of his ties to Solar, even a couple of weeks after his passing. Either way you slice it, Guru’s one of the true pioneers who rightfully earned the title ‘Legend.’ & he did it before he died, unlike a lot of the “great ones” who expired prematurely. God bless his family.
Solar “defends” his reputation against ConspiracyWorldwide. #fail.
With the death of Keith Elam, a/k/a Guru, on April 20, 2010, there’s been a lot of controversy, namely about the handling of his sickness & his passing, surrounding a self-proclaimed “super producer” & apparent close friend of Guru’s named Solar. He’s arguably the most despised man in Hip Hop right now, but that’s neither here nor there. With all the unnecessary hate swirling around during a time that should be filled with love, honor & remembrance, I found this letter, written by Guru’s older brother Harry Elam, Jr., floating around the ‘Nets. I figured I’d share it.
This is how Keithy E.’s legacy should be remembered, as opposed to the disastrous douchebaggery that Solar has ignited. Oh, & Solar admitted, in a roundabout way, that he edited Guru’s dying words. Just saying. As a “bonus,” for the sake of conversation, here’s a prophetic clip of Guru & Solar in 2008. It’s interesting, to say the least.
Harry Elam on his brother Keith:
“Positivity, that’s how I’m livin…” So goes the lyric from my brother’s early hip-hop song, ‘Positivity.’ My brother Keith Elam, the hip-hop artist known as GURU-Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal-died this week at the too-young age of 48 because of complications from cancer. ‘Positivity’ was what he sought to bring to the music and to his life, and for me that will be a large part of his legacy.
In February of this year, my brother went into a coma, and I traveled across the country from my home in California to see him. At his bedside, I stood and stared at his overly frail frame, his head that he had kept clean-shaven for the last 20 years uncommonly covered with hair, his body connected to a sea of tubes and wires. I listened to the whirl of machines around us and took his hand. As I did, my mind flashed back to now-distant times, so many memories. And I saw us as teenagers at the beach on Cape Cod playing in the water together. And I saw us as boys, driving to school. My brother was five years younger than me, so we attended the same school only for one year, my senior year, his seventh grade year, at Noble and Greenough School, and I would often drive us both to school. Invariably, I made us late, yet my brother, never as stressed as me, was always impressively calm. At school he endured the jests and teasing from the other boys about being my “little brother.” I was president of the school and had charted a certain path at Nobles. But my brother found his own creative route at school, as he would throughout his life. His journey was never easy, never direct, but inventive. Through it all he remained fiercely determined with a clear and strong sense of self.
Over the years I had proudly watched my brother perform in a wide variety of contexts. While at Nobles, we had a black theatre troupe known as “the Family.’ In 1973, we put on a play entitled ‘A Medal for Willie,’ by William Branch, and because he was only in the seventh grade, Keith played only a small role, but even then you could see his flair for performance, his comfort on the stage. At home, our older sister Patricia would teach him the latest dances, and he would execute them with verve as I watched from the sidelines, impressed with his moves, and not without a few twinges of jealousy since I’ve always had two left feet. As a teenager he raced as a speed skater. I do not remember how he became involved in the sport; I only remember traveling with my family to watch his meets in the suburbs of Boston. I do not remember if he won or lost, I do know that he always competed with great ferocity and commitment.
When he announced to me that he was dropping out of graduate school at the Fashion Institute of Technology to pursue a career in rap, I thought he was making a grave mistake and warned him against it. But as always he was determined, and in the end he would succeed beyond perhaps what even he had imagined. Early on in his rap journey, he visited me in Washington., D.C., over a Thanksgiving weekend. I was teaching at the University of Maryland then, and we went to what was perhaps the most dreadful party we had ever attended. As we hastened out the door, I apologized for bringing him to this party. My brother replied “let’s write a rap song about it,” and we did. The lyrics made us laugh as we collaborated on the rhyme scheme and rode off into the D.C. night. It is one of my fondest memories, this spontaneous brotherly moment of collaboration and play.
Keith’s big break came with Spike Lee’s film ‘Mo’ Better Blues,’ with his song ‘A Jazz Thing’ underscoring the credits. I watched that film over and over again just to hear my brother at its end. Soon he was on to creating his first Jazzmatazz album with others to follow, and he became credited for creating a fusion between jazz and hip hop. To be sure, that fusion owes something to our grandfather Edward Clark and Keith’s godfather, George Johnson, who introduced Keith to jazz by playing their favorite albums for him. He credits them both on his first Jazzmatazz. That first Jazzmatazz album featured musical heroes of my youth, Roy Ayers, and Donald Byrd, and here was my brother featuring them on his album. And with this success, came tours. I have seen him perform all over the world, and each time he would give a shout out from the stage to his brother and my wife, Michele. And I was so proud. It sometimes struck me with awe that all these people were there to see my brother. I watched him deal out magic; he was in his element feeling the crowd, and them responding to his groove. This was my baby brother, the kid with whom I once shared a room. The kid whose asthma would cause him to hack and cough and wheeze at night keeping me up. But when I would complain, my parents would send me out of the room. The message was clear: Love your siblings, whatever their frailties. Shorter than me and slighter of build, my brother suffered from asthma and allergies his whole life, but he was always a survivor.
Back in 1993, when he played at Stanford University, I was in perhaps my third year as a professor there. As I walked into the auditorium that night, the assembled audience of students looked at me with a new awareness, “that’s the Guru’s brother,” not that’s Professor Elam, but the Guru’s brother.
And I was, and am, the Guru’s brother. I admired and loved him deeply, my little brother. And I was and am so proud of him, and how he made his dreams reality . And with the outpouring of love that has crowded my e-mail with his passing, I know that he touched so many with his music. My brother cared deeply about family. He raps of my parents in more than one song. They are featured on his video ‘Ex girl to next girl.’ It was one thing seeing my brother on MTV; it was another seeing my parents. His son K.C. was the joy of his life.
The doctors told me back in February that there was not much chance of my brother recovering from the coma. But my brother has always been a fighter, always been one to overcome surprising adversities, so this seemed just one more. We prayed that he would again prevail. But it was not to be. Still his drive, his spirit, his energy, his positivity will live on, and so will his music. “that’s how I’m livin…’ -via Boston.com
I’m not good at eulogizing the deceased. I find it’s easier to hand flowers to the living than it is to lay flowers on the dead. That said, when news of Guru’s illness & hospitalization first surfaced, I figured that I should speak on him while I had the chance. So, I wrote a drop dedicated to him called ‘My First Rap Love Song‘. Maybe I knew that this day wasn’t far off.
Rest In Peace, Guru. Thanks for the memories, OG.
& while the ‘net is going crazy behind Keithy-E’s allegedly shady “partner,” Solar, I’d rather not speak on him. Not yet, at least. However, my brother from another mother, Phlip, has some choice words about the situation.
Yesterday, we lost a legend, & if nothing else, use his passing as an opportunity to reflect on your own mortality. Death to one is birth to another, if you smell my cologne.