Michael Buckner | Frazer Harrison, Getty Images Now this is a collaboration that…
- Posted on Apr 20th 2010 12:00PM by John D. Luerssen
"The world has lost one of the best MCs and hip-hop icons of all-time -- my loyal best friend, partner and brother, Guru," Solar said in the statement. "Guru has been battling cancer for well over a year and has lost his battle! This is a matter that Guru wanted private until he could beat it, but tragically, this did not happen. The cancer took him. Now the world has lost a great man and a true genius."
Born on the outskirts of Boston on July 17, 1966, Guru and his onetime Gang Starr partner DJ Premier earned notoriety in the late 1980s and helped invent New York's underground hip-hop sound by fusing rigid rhymes and jazz samples. Gang Starr released six records between 1989's 'No More Mr. Nice Guy' and 2003's 'The Ownerz.' The duo's 1998 album 'Moment of Truth' stands as its most acclaimed and commercially successful.
Guru also forged a prominent solo career beginning with '93's 'Jazzmatazz Vol. 1' series, and went on to release four volumes in 14 years. Through these innovative efforts, Guru collaborated with jazz fixtures like Branford Marsalis and Donald Byrd. Solar -- Guru's backup MC and producer -- and the rapper first began working together on 2005's 'Version 7.0: The Street Scriptures.'
In advance of his death, Guru had apparently written an open letter from his hospital bed to fans that he asked Solar to release upon his passing. "I, Guru, am writing this letter to my fans, friends and loved ones around the world," it reads. "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."
He went on to praise and thank Solar as his "loyal best friend, partner and brother" for helping him through his health crisis. His letter also suggests that Solar will have custody of his son, KC, and will oversee any awards or tributes related to his work until KC is of age to accept the responsibility.
Guru also took the opportunity to take aim at Premier, writing, "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."