The death letter of Keith Elam in 2010, better known as Brooklyn’s hip hop icon Guru, raises many questions up until today. It reads: “I do not wish my ex-DJ [DJ Premier] to have anything to do with my name likeness, events, tributes etc. .. and I have instructed my lawyers to enforce this.”
DJ Premier and Guru, however, produced 8 albums together, including Moment of Truth, which was #1 on the billboards upon its release. Together, the two revolutionized hip hop when the genre was at its lowest point artistically. “N**** know me, and you can bet they know prem [DJ Premier]” Guru raps in his classic joint “Skills.” Premier’s beats – featured on RZA’s, Jay Z’s and Nas’ records – suited Guru’s monotone voice and uncompromising lyrics perfectly.
The Ownerz – released in 2003 – was the groups’ last tape. A feud that we know little about would keep the two apart. Yet DJ Premier has shown nothing but love for Guru. His comment on Guru’s death reads, “His rhyme flows were insane, and I will never remove him from my heart and soul. Rest in peace to the man who felt ‘satisfaction from the street crowd reaction.’ I love you Goo.”
So, why all the hate toward Premo?
Allegedly, it was Guru’s controversial associate Solar who was responsible for Guru’s medical decisions in the hospital. According to MTV, Guru had “signed a proxy to allow his partner, Solar, to make medical decisions for him.” Questlove from The Roots tweeted, “not trying to bring negativity into the situation. but i do NOT believe he [Guru] wrote that letter. 1) he was in a coma. 2) HE WAS IN A COMA!”
Did Guru write the letter before he fell in a coma and hand it to Sonar? Did Sonar write it to antagonize Premier and highlight his own career with Guru?
These questions will remain unanswered. We will just have to continue to listen to Guru’s prophetic lyrics: “No matter what we face/We must face the moment of truth baby.”