April 20, 2011
The ability for musical expression to both raise consciousness and bring about a greater sense of community is a phenomenon that few artists are able to achieve. However, the power that this type of artistry generates can be felt throughout not only their generation, but into future ones as well.
The memory of one such icon is being recognized by thousands of people around the world today, as music fans remember the life and impact of rapper Keith Elam, known as G.U.R.U, who died one year ago on this day, April 19, when his battle with cancer ended his life at the age of 48.
G.U.R.U. (which stands for Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal), was a Boston native and the founder of the group Gang Starr. While G.U.R.U. had a prolific career in both collaboration and his solo work, it was his groundbreaking style and his inspiring & thought-provoking lyrics that made him an influential figure in hip-hop.
Known as a pioneer in fusing hip-hop with live jazz instrumentalists, G.U.R.U.’s career spanned from the late 80’s and through the last decade and helped define the sound of New York underground hip-hop. His Jazzmatazz series, which featured legendary artists including Branford Marsalis, Chaka Khan, and Roy Ayers, was among his many highly-acclaimed releases.
This Thursday, April 21, Revive Music Group will be helping celebrate his life and music in the G.U.R.U. Tribute Concert at Le Poisson Rouge on New York’s Lower West Side. The event will kick off at 10pm and is set to feature the Revive Da Live Big Band along with numerous special guests, and will be attended by G.U.R.U.’s family.