When news spread of Gang Starr’s Guru dying of cancer the shock of his passing was only surpassed by the skepticism towards his final statement. Do you think he wrote it?
The letter published on Allhiphop.com began respecfully enough:
I, Guru, am writing this letter to my fans, friends and loved ones around the world. 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.
The letter goes on to inform us of his non-profit foundation for abused children, and that he was filled with tears of joy for the wonderful life that he lived.
Then the note takes an ugly turn. Rather than focusing on his legacy and reflecting on the life he’s lived it becomes a commercial for producer Solar and his disdain for his longtime Gang Starr partner DJ Premier:
My loyal best friend, partner and brother, Solar, has been at my side through it all and has been made my health proxy by myself on all matters relating to myself. He has been with me by my side on my many hospital stays, operations, doctors visits and stayed with me at my home and cared for me when I could not care for myself…
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.
Upon reading those lines most friends and fans were taken aback and have gone so far as to speculate that Guru did not write those words, rather that it was Solar.
As stinging as the words are there is some foundation for it being from Guru. In an interview with Allhiphop.com in June 2009 entitled “Never Going Back” Guru repeatedly referred to DJ Premier as his “ex-DJ.”
“People ask me about my ex-DJ (DJ Premier) and all that. We were never all that close. We hooked up in the studio and did great music, but we were never hanging and all that cool. Solar and I, we got tight before we even started doing music.”
This still runs contrary to the conversation Jerry Barrow at the Urban Daily had personally with Guru back in 1998 when he described how he and DJ Premier were roommates (read here) and that he would “never perform without him.”
So what happened between then and now? Only Guru and Premier know for certain and neither spoke on the break-up at length. Regardless, it still doesn’t make sense for a man to throw darts on his deathbed. Especially a recovering alcoholic who went out of his way to make peace with people while he was getting healthy years ago.
Here are some reactions from peers and friends on Twitter:
As expected, Solar came to his own defense on Twitter:
Quite frankly, there has been a suspicious tone to many of the recent statements issued by Solar on behalf of Guru but this one takes the cake.
What do you think? Is this how Guru would choose to use his last words?
Check out this interview the Solar conducted with with Hot 97’s morning show when the news of Guru’s illness first broke: