We lost one of the greats on April 19th. Guru had a voice like an oak barrel of Bushmill's lined with fine grade sandpaper. He wasn't bling, or gangsta, or mystical or polemical. He just dropped gems on our melons. He was a solid MC, and one of the best. He had a flow that (after the first few joints) became almost metronomic on the beat, but the lyrics were so dense and well-planned--the def(t) rhyme schemes, the hanging and internal rhymes--that combined with that voice made him a great MC. He also was a great storyteller, not something many MCs can do, and it's too bad he didn't do more of it.
Musicians' deaths always seem tragic, especially when they're young, but even when they haven't put out anything good for a while--because although they only cut the record once, every time we play it it's new again; every time we play it, we're back to the first time we listened to it. Music defeats time in a way other art does not. And because music is timeless and eternal, we infer immortality for musicians.
The Japanese regarded the Emperor as part of the godhead until after World War II, when MacArthur forced Hirohito to publicly abdicate his holy status. A line from a Yukio Mishima poem about this goes: How can the Emperor now simply be a man? So how can Guru be dead? Lemonade was a popular drink and it still is.
The story of hip-hop is the story of men becoming gods on the mic and the tables, gods becoming men, and sometimes dying. It's on some Greek tragedy shit. Mishima's suicide note, in its entirety, reads: Human life is limited, but I would like to live forever. Keith Elam is dead, but Guru lives forever. Step In The Arena and Hard To Earn will live forever, as long as we keep listening.
It seems pretty stupid to cut a Guru mix when Premier and so many other world-class DJs have dropped theirs, but I had to do it. It's part of the hip-hop grieving process for those who don't feel like wearing R.I.P. t-shirts.
The Planet / The Place Where We Dwell / 2 Deep / Soul / Check The Technique / Battle / Not Tryin' to Hear That (w/Prince Paul & Planet Asia) / Fed Up (Remix) (w/House of Pain) / DWYCK (Spinbad Blend) / Words I Manifest (Jazzy Jeff Mix) / Loungin' (w/Donald Byrd) / The Piece Maker (w/Tony Touch) / Where's Our Money?! (w/Biggest Gord) / What You Expected (Original) (w/DJ Honda) / Floor Chalk (Best Reprise) (w/Blue Sky Black Death & Chief Kamachi) / Tony Touch Freestyle / Behold (w/J-Love & Ric Nice) / The Meaning Of The Name / Looking Through Darkness (w/True Master) / Above The Clouds (w/Inspectah Deck) / Moment Of Truth / Mostly Tha Voice
DJ Premier Live from HeadQCourterz [via T.R.O.Y.]
Statik Selektah [via HHB]