• Category Archives Tributes
  • Tributes: Guru

    Guru (born Keith Elam), most well known as the voice of legendary hip hop group Gang Starr, passed away last week from brain cancer at the age of 48.  Gang Starr, with Guru as MC and the amazing DJ Premier as DJ, were one of the most influential MC/DJ tandems of the early-mid 90’s picking up where Eric B & Rakim left off.  They were also the first rap group to widely sample jazz music paving the way for other successful groups like A Tribe Called Quest and Digable Planets.

    Guru had a monotone yet menacing delivery that meant nothing but business.  His temperament was comparable to Rakim though Rakim focuses much of his lyrics on his own microphone prowess (in the most creative way possible!), while Guru’s lyrics were much more socially conscious- though much less “fun” than other conscious rappers at the time like De La Soul, Black Sheep and Tribe.

    By all accounts Guru was a great guy and very involved in tons of charity work.  Although he lived a fantastic life 48 is way too young to die.  Guru- you will be missed!

    Below are some of my favorite Gang Starr jams.  I am not familiar with Guru’s solo work though I have heard much of it is well worth checking out- particularly his “Jazzmatazz” album from 1993.


    1.  Manifest

    Gang Starr - No More Mr. Nice Guy - Manifest


    from “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (1989)

    No More Mr. Nice Guy Amazon












    2.  Just to Get A Rep

    Gang Starr - Step In the Arena - Just to Get a Rep

    3.  Check the Technique

    Gang Starr - Step In the Arena - Check the Technique

    4.  The Execution of A Chump (No More Mr. Nice Guy Pt. 2)

    Gang Starr - Step In the Arena - Execution of a Chump (No More Mr. Nice Guy Pt.2)

    5.  Step in the Arena

    Gang Starr - Step In the Arena - Step In the Arena

    6.  Who’s Gonna Take the Weight?

    Gang Starr - Step In the Arena - Who's Gonna Take the Weight?


    2-6 from “Step in the Arena” (1991)

    Step in the Arena Amazon













    7.  Take it Personal

    Gang Starr - Daily Operation - Take It Personal

    8.  Ex Girl to the Next Girl

    Gang Starr - Daily Operation - Ex Girl to Next Girl


    7-8 from “Daily Operation” (1992)

    Daily Operation Amazon













    9.  DWYCK

    Gang Starr - Hard to Earn - Dwyck

    from “Hard to Earn” (1994)

    Hard to Earn Amazon













    10.  You Know My Steez

    Gang Starr - Moment of Truth - You Know My Steez

    from “Moment of Truth” (1998)

    Moment of Truth Amazon




  • Tributes: Alex Chilton

    Legendary Memphis, Tennessee musician Alex Chilton has very unfortunately passed away at the age of 59 due to heart problems.  Chilton first came on the music scene at the age of sixteen, fronting the teenage blue-eyed soul band The Box Tops and having pop chart hits with “The Letter”, “Cry Like A Baby” and “Soul Deep” all in the mid to late 60’s.

    In the early 70’s he moved on to front the criminally unknown yet massively influential and increasingly appreciated power pop band Big Star.  Big Star sold almost nothing during the life of the band despite an extremely commercial sound due to both record company mismanagement and having a sound not of their time. In the ensuing years they would become a cult phenomenon influencing many groups like the Replacements, Teenage Fanclub and the Bangles to name a few.  Big Star’s last album release during the first tenure of the band was 1978’s “Third”- also known as “Sister Lovers”.

    After the break-up of the band, Chilton went on to have a few solo albums and then reform Big Star (without key member Chris Bell who had passed away and had been out of the band since their first album release) for several reunion tours.  Last year Rhino Records released an amazing box set called “Keep an Eye to the Sky”.


    Please check out just a few of Chilton’s amazing songs below:


    The Letter (1967) The Box Tops - Best of the Box Top - Soul Deep - The Letter

    Cry Like A Baby (1968) The Box Tops - Best of the Box Top - Soul Deep - Cry Like a Baby

    Soul Deep (1969) The Box Tops - Best of the Box Top - Soul Deep - Soul Deep


    Tracks 1-3 from “Soul Deep: The Best of the Box Tops”


    The Box Tops - Best of the Box Top - Soul Deep The Best of the Box Tops: Soul Deep Amazon









    The Ballad of El Goodo (1972)

    Big Star - #1 Record Radio City (Bonus Track Version) - The Ballad of el Goodo

    Thirteen (1972)

    Big Star - #1 Record Radio City (Bonus Track Version) - Thirteen


    Tracks 4 & 5 from “#1 Record”

    Big Star - #1 Record Radio City (Bonus Track Version) #1 Record Amazon











    September Gurls (1974) Big Star - #1 Record Radio City (Bonus Track Version) - September Gurls

    Back of a Car (1974) Big Star - #1 Record Radio City (Bonus Track Version) - Back of a Car


    Tracks 6 & 7 from “Radio City”

    Big Star - #1 Record Radio City (Bonus Track Version) Radio City Amazon









    Thank You Friends (1978) Big Star - Third - Sister Lovers - Thank You Friends

    Jesus Christ (1978) Big Star - Third - Sister Lovers - Jesus Christ


    Tracks 7 & 8 from “Third/Sister Lovers”

    Big Star - Third - Sister LoversThird/Sister Lovers Amazon












    “Keep An Eye On the Sky” Boxed Set Keep An Eye On The Sky Amazon











    And check out this amazing tribute by The Replacements from their 1987 album “Pleased to Meet Me”


    Alex Chilton The Replacements - Pleased to Meet Me (Expanded Edition) - Alex Chilton Pleased to Meet Me Amazon