Fat Joe says he lost more than a friend when Guru passed away on Monday. He says hip-hop lost an incredible performer and ambassador of purity in the art form.

A very young Joe appears in the video for Gang Starr's "Suckas Need Bodyguards" and the Bronx MC said he knew the duo at the very start of their careers.

"I knew them before rap," Joe told MTV News about Guru and DJ Premier. "Showbiz brought them through the 'hood. When I was running the streets of the Bronx, crazy, they was already rappin'. First day I met [Guru], I showed him a [gun] I had in my waistline. He was like, 'Ah sh--! Joey Crack?' I was like, 'Yeah n---a, I got you.' He was the coolest n---a. Guru, man — real hip-hop. They the purest. Gang Starr is the purest group in hip-hop ever. Pure hip-hop — uncompromised, pure hip-hop. I had many days with these n---as. That's my family. I remember being on tour with them and spending all night, until, like, 9 in the morning talking sh-- to Guru. In his hotel room, just talking sh-- till the sun came up.

"Even though his music was hardcore gangsta music, he was a nice, cool humble dude," Joe added. The leader of the Terror Squad also talked to us about the impact and influence of Gang Starr.

"They was the dynamic duo," Joe said. "They the n---as shooting videos in the beach in the winter when the beach is ice. F---in' 'Mass Appeal,' one of the greatest records ever created in hip-hop. I drove down from New York to Miami the day that sh-- came out. That's when hip-hop was hip-hop. Every single station on the way down to Miami, 'Brand-new Guru, brand-new Gang Starr.' Every single radio station. It's incredible that they wasn't from [New York], but they represent the sound of New York. When everybody says, 'Bring New York back,' they mean bring it back to Gang Starr, n---a. They talking about Gang Starr, similar to the South talking about Andre 3000 and them. They represent the true essence of hip-hop."

Share your memories of Guru and Gang Starr in the comments below.