April 26, 2010


The Internet has been flooded with tributes to Keith Elam in the last week, but none matches the sad and stellar eulogy conceived by his partner in Gang Starr. Joined by Big Shug, Guru’s nephew Justin Elam, and others, Primo unleashes poisonous darts at Solar, rare material, and a combination of fury and testament that makes the whole situation seem that much more tragic. From the revelation that Guru spent his last days alone, dirty and unwashed in a sterile hospital surrounded only by the sounds of a respirator, to a discussion of his pre-Gang Starr days as a school teacher, to dropping some of the greatest music recorded over the last 20 years, the mix is essential for any fan of the group.

As a bonus of sorts, I’m also posting “Borough Check,” from Digable Planet’s criminally unsung Blowout Comb. In the wake of his death, Guru’s Boston roots have received significant mention. But for most of his career, the fact that he wasn’t from Brooklyn was something of a secret to all but hard-core hip-hop fans. His performance on “Borough Check,” epitomizes the adage that it ain’t where you’re from, but where you’re at. Like a significant chunk of great rap music. Gang Starr’s music was firmly rooted in a sense of place. Guru may have been raised in Red Sox country, but no one epitomized the spirit and sound of New York like Gang Star. During my most monomaniacal Gang Starr phase, I’d never been to the Big Apple, but thanks to Guru I felt like I knew every corner store bodega, stick up kid in the shadows, and train car rumbling beneath the borough.

Tracklist below the jump.

Download: (Via the DJ Premier Blog)

MP3: DJ Premier – Keith “Guru” Elam Tribute Mix (Left-Click)
MP3: Digable Planets ft. Guru – “Borough Check”


1. Gang Starr – Betrayal (Feat. Scarface)
2. Gang Starr – Intro (The First Step)
3. Gang Starr – Execution Of A Chump (No More Mr. Nice Guy Pt. 2)
4. Gang Starr – Name Tag (Premier & The Guru)
5. Gang Starr – Speak Ya Clout (Feat. Jeru the Damaja & Lil Dap)
6. Gang Starr – Peace Of Mine
7. Gang Starr – Eulogy
8. Gang Starr – Royalty (Feat. K-Ci & JoJo)
9. Gang Starr – Daily Operation (Intro)
10. Gang Starr – In This Life… (Feat. Snoop Dogg & Uncle Reo)
11. Gang Starr – Above The Clouds (Feat. Inspectah Deck)
12. Gang Starr – The Planet
13. Gang Starr – Daily Operation (Intro)
14. Gang Starr – Next Time
15. Gang Starr – 93 Interlude (Unreleased Moment Of Truth Interlude)
16. Gang Starr – The Militia II (Feat. Rakim & WC)
17. Gang Starr – Intro (HQ, Goo, Panch)
18. Heavy D. – A Buncha Niggas (Feat. The Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes, Guru, Rob-O & Third Eye)
19. M.O.P. – Salute Part II (Feat. Guru)
20. D&D Allstars – Hot Shit (Feat. Big Daddy Kane, Sadat X, Guru & Greg Nice)
21. Gang Starr – PLAYTAWIN
22. Gang Starr – Soliloquy Of Chaos
23. Group Home – The Legacy (Feat. Guru)
24. Gang Starr – Conspiracy
25. Gang Starr – Stay Tuned
26. Gang Starr – Zonin’

We rely on your support to keep POW alive. Please take a second to donate on Patreon!