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19 Lessons Gang Starr's Guru Taught Us With His Music

Guru passed away 5 years ago, today.

On April 19, 2010, the music world was saddened by news that Gang Starr’s Keith “Guru” Elam died following a battle with cancer and complications with a reported heart attack. He was 48.

During his career as one half of Gang Starr with DJ Premier, Guru, whose name stood for Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal, earned great acclaim by blending vivid storytelling, street-savvy rhymes and an iconic smooth delivery over Premier’s legendary beats.

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Guru later branched off as a solo artist, crafting four jazz-rap fusion projects as part of his Jazzmatazz series, beginning with Vol. 1 in 1993 and ending in 2007. So if you like the sounds Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, you may dig Jazzmatazz.

During his career, Guru gave us valuable lessons that continue to inspire fans of all ages. Here’s a list of 19 valuable jewels from Guru’s discography.

  1. Lessons Are Blessings

    "It's universal / you play with fire, it may hurt you / Or burn you / lessons are blessings, you should learn through."

  2. Come Back Strong From Hardship

    "I've suffered just so I could return harder." - "Full Clip"

  3. Don't Judge Others
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    "Actions have reactions, don't be quick to judge / You may not know the hardships people don't speak of / It's best to step back, and observe with couth / For we all must meet our moment of truth." - "Moment of Truth"

  4. Follow Your Own Advice

    "It's often easier for one to give advice / Than it is for a person to run one's own life."-"You Know My Steez"

  5. Have Knowledge Of Self

    "I used to steal goods and fake my parents out real good But now I got K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E / of self 'cause I'm me." -"2 Deep"

  6. Be Mindful Of Traitors

    "All for the cash, man / N---s'll be ready to blast, man / Mad hoes'll be quick, to give up the a-s, man / Traitors, they'll be robbing your stash, man / Don't wanna end up like the last man."-"All For Tha Ca$h"

  7. Show Compassion

    "I feel for the hurt ones, the victims of wrong deeds / Awareness is key, our people have strong needs / Science, math, history theology, philosophy, psychology, english and biology."-"Beyond Comprehension"

  8. Don't Be Greedy

    "The object, son, is to excel and lead / And n---as be bluffin', fallin' for nothin' but greed." - "B.I. Vs. Friendship"

  9. Don't Worry
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    "Sometimes you gotta dig deep when problems come near / Don't fear / Things get severe / For everybody everywhere." - "Moment of Truth"

  10. Violence Isn't The Answer

    "You'll find it doesn't pay to front or play the role / You could get stole / or maybe beat with a pole / Then you'll wanna retaliate, regroup and come back / So you set the brothers up for a sneak attack / Whether you die or kill 'em, it's another brother dead / But I know you'll never get that through your head / 'Cause we're misled and mis-fed facts, we're way off / Killing you and killing me, it's the soliloquy of chaos." -"Soliloquy of Chaos"

  11. Don't Be Jealous

    "Don't be mad 'cause I don't come around the way like I used to / I don't have time these days, I'm keeping busy making power moves / Don't try to say I don't remember you / You shouldn't let your jealousy show like that / I stopped coming by, 'cause of the way you act." - "Take It Personal"

  12. We All Must Meet Our Moment Of Truth
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    "Cultivate, multiply / motivate, or else we'll die / You know I be the master of the who, what, where and why / See when you're shining, some chumps'll wanna dull ya / Always selfish jealous punks, will wanna pull ya / Down, just like some shellfish in a bucket / 'Cause they love it / to see your a-s squirm like a worm / But just as you'll receive what is coming to you / Everybody else is gonna get theirs, too / I ain't no saint, therefore I cannot dispute / That everyone must meet their moment of truth." - "Moment of Truth"

  13. We All Have Our Faults

    "Life's a bitch so who are we to judge each other / I know I got faults, I ain't the only motherf--ker / Stuff I heard about you wasn't too cool." - "No Shame In My Game"

  14. Find Yourself

    "It's a long way to go when you don't know where you're going / You don't know where you're going when you're lost / What you need is more direction / and get yourself some protection / I thought by now that you'd have learned your lesson." - "ALONGWAYTOGO"

  15. Stay Out Of Trouble

    "So stay out of trouble, and that goes for me too / That's what we need to do / that's my advice to you." - "My Advice 2 U"

  16. Do The Right Thing, Stay Away From Negativity

    "Makin' moves right and exact / Don't wanna see you layin' flat / Don't wanna see ya catch a bullet, black / If we don't build, we'll be destroyed." - "In Memory Of"

  17. When You Fight Keep A Clear Mind

    "Spirituality supports reality / We gotta fight with the right mentality." - "Who’s Gonna Take The Weight"

  18. Cherish What You Have Today

    "But some find happiness while others find sorrow / And what's here today, may be gone tomorrow." - "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow"

  19. You Can Do Anything You Put Your Mind To

    "Finding a way is important / Map out a plan, take a stand, you can work it / The future's all in your hands and / So of yourself, yeah, you should be demanding." - "Street Ministry"