Category Archives: Arts and Culture

RIP: Keith Elam aka Guru, Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal

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Keith Elam aka Guru passed away on Monday. Guru was the MC for the prolific hip-hop duo, Gangstarr. It would be too much to say Gangtarr changed my life, but they were definitely one of the major influences that led me to listen to much more East Coast hip-hop (along with Boogie Down Productions) than I had when I was in my teens in the 1980s. When I was 17 and 18 I was primarily listening to West Coast “gangsta” rap but the conscious sounds coming out of NYC spoke to me on a much deeper level. Gangstarr were part of that scene. While the scene has long since died, the rhymes, beats and memories remain. Rest in Peace, Guru. You will be missed.

Here is a touching remembrance written by Keith’s brother, Harry.

Also check this out, Jazz and Hip-Hop, Can They Really Mix?: Part 1 and II.

Below is a montage of Gangstarr videos. This is not meant to be some sort of definitive list, just some of my faves.

Manifest (from No More Mister Nice Guy, 1989)

Just to Get a Rep (from Step in the Arena, 1991)

Step in the Arena (from the album of the same name)

Take it Personal (Daily Operation, 1992)

Mass Appeal (Hard to Earn, 1994)

Next Time (Moment of Truth, 1998)

Skillz (The Ownerz, 2003)

It’s Gettin’ Hectic, from the Brand New Heavies, Heavy Rhyme Experience, Vol. I, 1992]

Loungin’ (featuring Donald Byrd). This is from Guru’s first Jazzmatazz LP, 1993.

Sights in the City (featuring Courtney Pine on alto and soprano sax and flute, Carleen Anderson on vocals and Simon Law on keyboards) from the same album.

Storm King Art Center

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This place is amazing:

Storm King Art Center is a museum that celebrates the relationship between sculpture and nature. Five hundred acres of landscaped lawns, fields and woodlands provide the site for postwar sculptures by internationally renowned artists. At Storm King, the exhibition space is defined by sky and land. Unencumbered by walls, the subtly created flow of space is punctuated by modern sculpture. The grounds are surrounded by the undulating profiles of the Hudson Highlands, a dramatic panorama integral to the viewing experience. The sculptures are affected by changes in light and weather, so no two visits are the same.

I have wanted to go for a while now but it is a bit of a drive from the city. It was so hot! Spring and Fall may be a better time to visit.

Here are some pics:

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[Pyramidian by Mark di Suvero]

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[Gui and Knobs by Alexander Calder]

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[Black Flag by Calder]

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[The Arch by Calder]

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[City on the High Mountain by Louise Nevelson]