Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Goodbye Guru (July 17, 1966 – April 19, 2010)
Growing up a latchkey kid with two siblings more than a decade older than myself and parents with time consuming careers, I spent a considerable amount of my childhood alone. My folks were absolutely great parents, don't get the wrong idea, but I'd be intellectually dishonest if didn't admit that television had a legitimate hand in raising me. The mere thought of television raising kids nowadays makes me throw up in my mouth a little, especially when you think about petri dishes like Tila Tequila offering young girls Cliff Notes lessons on being a whore, or any other 30 minutes of moral decay posing as television programming. But back then it was just reruns of "Hazel", "Gilligan's Island", "The Courtship of Eddie's father", "Good Times", My Three Sons", etc - rather milquetoast by today's standards. But never the less, every hour that my parents weren't around for some in-your-face guidance I was getting life lessons from syndicated sitcoms. But then Hip Hop hit me like a ton of bricks, so my penchant for watching 60's era television was quickly replaced with watching myself in the mirror passionately mouthing rap lyrics. I know Hip Hop metaphors are both sleep inducing and overused, but Hip Hop as the surrogate parent merged into the good friend - and there was no better friend than Guru.
Sure, I didn't know Keith Elam personally - but he always seemed to be there for me despite that particularly inconvenient fact. When I first met him he was dropping knowledge, a positive influence that a knucklehead like me needed when I was 15. He'd hang with me at parties, schooled me on the streets so some disgruntled thugs wouldn't stomped me into wine, and he was even there to console me when some evil seductress decided to rip my beating heart out of my chest. We got high together. He introduced me to new people. The guy could talk shit with the best of them, so of course some of that rubbed off on me as well. Lastly, like all good friends he didn't care what I wanted to hear, he always told me what I needed to hear.
Despite his health issues as of late, the death of Guru still felt like a punch in the gut this morning. Outside of being a big fan of his music for more than 20 years, feeling like he helped usher me through manhood probably had something to do with how I felt. Guru, rest in peace brother, you will be missed.