On Apr 19th, 2010 – it was announced that GURU, one of the greatest hip-hop voices of all time, has died. I have had the honor and privilege of having been the featured soloist for GURU’s JAZZMATAZZ for the last 3 years, and standing next to him on stages around the world was nothing short of inspiring. All that time on the road with him, witnessing the profound talent he brought to the mic nightly, influenced me deeply and I will forever be grateful for the time I had with him. I grew up with Gang Starr and the early volumes of Jazzmatazz, and when I got the call to join the ranks of Jazzmatazz as the trumpet player and appear on Vol. 4 – I was honored and humbled beyond words. To stand next to that primordial voice in hip-hop and be part of a series that I adored… was like a dream. I was occupying the position in Jazzmatazz formerly held by the legendary Donald Byrd and thus had BIG shoes to fill. But Guru was always encouraging and supportive, and his friendship and grace willalways be remembered.
This video below, which now tears me up to watch, has him shouting me out. At the end of a long Jazzmatazz tour, I had asked him if he could do a 5 second lil ad for Brownman.com – instead he said a ton of very kind & gracious things he didn’t have to and you can see me clearly humbled by his words. In addition to being a lyrical genius, he was a funny, poignant, carefree man. You can see that spirit clearly in this video:
And here’s a video of the GURU I remember best – the man that danced beside my bed and made fun of my shoes (omg did he ever love to make fun of my kicks! lol)… here’s a lil tribute of my own:
Rest in peace bald-headed slick. Many of us know the truth behind your demise, and regardless of the evil surrounding you in your final days & the attempts to re-write history we’re all now witnessing – your legacy remains. History will remember… and so will I.
Also his father was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, hold your head up homie!