Born in Boston's Roxbury neighbourhood, Guru (real name Keith Elam) was a member of the duo Gang Starr, and is considered one of the pioneers of hip hop-jazz crossover. The group released the classic single Words I Manifest followed by their critically acclaimed debut album No More Mr. Nice Guy (1989) and the classic album Step in the Arena (1991).
Guru was the first artist to truly blend Hip-Hop with Live Jazz beginning in 1993, an
d the influence of his Jazzmatazz albums and performances on the industry has been great. Guru’s musical collaborations have helped Hip Hop to expand and gain much needed credibility. Guru has worked with such artists as Herbie Hancock, Isaac Hayes, Donald Byrd, Ramsey Lewis, Roy Ayers, Chaka Kahn, Branford Marsalis, David Sanborn, Bob James, Erykah Badu, The Roots, Common, Angie Stone, Jamiroquai, Macy Gray and Damien Marley, to name a few. Despite the fact that Guru wasn’t born in New York, he is noted as a pioneer of the New York sound and true lyrical Hip-Hop. Guru later on joined forces with hit producer Solar and formed his label 7 Grand Records with the goal to keep “real” Hip-Hop alive.