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   Now in our eleventh calendar year
    PCR #526  (Vol. 11, No. 17)  This edition is for the week of April 19--25, 2010.

"The Back-up Plan"  by Mike Smith
The Deland Collectibles Expo  by ED Tucker
FANGRRL Goes to the 2010 Ybor Festival of the Moving Image  by Lisa Scherer
G3: The Revenge of Iris  by Jason Fetters
R.I.P. Guru  by John Miller
Happy Anniversary .... Passing On .... Movie Notes .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf by Mike Smith
Lampin at the 6th Borough by John Miller

R.I.P. Guru

Wow. I'm in a complete state of shock at the moment over word that legendary emcee Guru, one half of the iconic hip hop group Gangstarr is dead at the age of 43 after a battle with cancer. This is heartbreaking to say the least.

During times of tragedy and times of joy the lyrics of Guru, real name Keith Elam, have been there for me. It's hard to truly summarize at this moment because of all the emotions currently stirring, just how much this man's work has meant to me. He isn't alone in his efforts, I have plenty of favorite hip hop artists, each special to me in their own ways, but none have ever been quite as unique as Gangstarr.

I became a believer around 2001 after hearing a track by Gangstarr called "Above The Clouds" featuring Inspectah Deck off of the compilation CD Wu-Chronicles Chapter 2. The intro speech of President JFK over a jazzy DJ Premier beat and the lyrics by Guru would forever change how I viewed myself as a hip hop fan. I would later go on to collect much of the group's albums including such classics as Daily Operations and Moment Of Truth. Daily Operations, in particular, still receives a spin at least once a week.

What I loved most about Guru was his ability to never stay pigeonholed to any one style. The man could go from sounding as politically insightful as Chuck D in one song to sounding as smooth as Snoop Dogg in the next. I have a great deal of respect for Guru over the fact that he never needed to sell out and portray himself as anything other then who he was. Guru never had to run around in a bullet-proof vest disrespecting other artist and being a gimmick because he truly loved the craft of emceeing and allowed his lyrics to speak for themselves.

The Internet will be abuzz with conspiracy theories over Guru's troubled relationship with the other half of Gangstarr, DJ Premier, for years to come. I will reserve my theories on that out of respect for Guru and the legacy of Gangstarr, what's done is done. But I will say that it would have been nice to see the two reconcile before it had to come to this. Both are legends, Premier continues to be one of the top producers in the industry, but without each other they just seem incomplete. What a tragedy a partnership so beautiful had to die so miserably. That's just how these things go I guess, success has a way of changing relationships.

It is my hope that the death of Guru re-invigorates an interest amongst younger hip hop fans to explore an era from a not-so-distant past when hip hop stood for something both artistically and culturally. Regardless of what happens, Gangstarr will remain a staple of my collection for the rest of my life. Thank you to Guru for the many years of hard work that has been invested into the quality of his work, it will live on forever.

"Lampin' @ The 6th Borough" is ©2010 by John Miller.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.