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Tribute: 5 Years After His Passing, Guru's Influence Lives On

With all the positive attention Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly has been deservedly receiving, it's only right to highlight one of the first rappers to blend jazz and hip-hop to great effect.

It's been five years since hip-hop lost one of its most beloved sons. Keith Elam — best known as Guru (Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal) of Gang Starr — died in April of 2010. And 26 years have passed since the release of Guru and DJ Premier's classic "No More Mr. Nice Guy," a seminal record in the vein of alternative hip-hop.

Guru left behind a body of work that, for many of us, still holds up. From he and Premo's aforementioned 1989 debut to their final collaboration "The Ownerz" in 2003, the duo’s legacy is not up for discussion. Purveyors of a sound that infused jazz (also see Guru’s Jazzmatazz offerings) and soul, their influence on culture and music on a whole will surely outlive them both. Performances like the ones they gave on Yo! MTV Raps and The Arsenio Hall Show are further proof of their singularity — even among groups like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and Leaders of the New School who popularized a similar brand of rap.

Still, there was no one like Guru. From his smooth, monotone delivery to the way he imparted knowledge over beats, he was the secret envy of a generation of hopeful emcees. He brought a flavor and a certain consciousness that impacted fans of diehard lyricism. One of the most celebrated wordsmiths in the history of hip-hop, his intelligence on wax rivaled the shoot ‘em up mentality of many of his contemporaries. From the jump, he stood out and gained respect for his approach. Guru always made it a point to emphasize the power of positivity and of possessing a sense of self–worth.

Feeling nostalgic and in need of something heartfelt? Maybe it’s time to revisit the catalogue of a legend. Here are five essential Gang Starr gems:

1. "Words I Manifest” - “Do more than the rest who fess and can't compete / I'm elite, I'll defeat, delete, and mistreat.”

2. “DWYCK”, featuring Nice and Smooth – “Lemonade was a popular drink and it still is / I get more props in stunts than Bruce Willis.”

3. "Mass Appeal” – “Cuttin’ off wack kids, pulling their trump cards / I thump hard, and make ‘em say that I’m God.”

4. “Royalty” (featuring K-Ci and JoJo) – “Major effect to your sector, I'm the corrector / Live and direct, waving my mic like a scepter.”

5. "You Know My Steez” – “The apparatus gets blessed, and suckers get put to rest / No more of the unpure I got the cure for this mess."

-- Juan Vidal is a writer and critic for NPR, Esquire, and, of course, VIBE. 

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Danny Brown Breaks Down His Past In New Video For "Best Life"

Danny Brown dissects the past in his new video for “Best Life,” a song off his latest album uknowhatimsayin¿

Directed by Augustin Vita, the music video complements Brown’s verses about growing up in Detroit with a potent mixture of profundity and humor. As the Midwestern rapper rolls through the beat, the camera seems to follow a group of four kids from childhood to young adulthood, chronicling a life of video games, birthday parties, family fights, hustling to get by and run-ins with the cops.

Brown released uknowhatimsayin¿ in October, marking his fifth LP and first since 2016’s Atrocity Exhibition. The album was executive produced by Q-Tip and featured appearances from Run the Jewels, Blood Orange, JPEGMafia and Obongjayar.

Brown is nearing the end of a North American tour in support of uknowhatimsayin¿ His next show show will take place Monday night, November 11th, in Philadelphia, while the run wraps November 19th in Montreal.

Last month, VIBE spoke with Danny Brown about his new album, and what A Tribe Called Quest's Ali Shaheed Muhammad told him.

“Ali Shaheed Muhammad (of A Tribe Called Quest) was the first person to tell me, ‘You’re like the Richard Pryor of rap. You need to dig into that and study, Rich,’” Brown recalled. “Some sh*t you don’t have to say the way you say it, you can say the same thing wording it the right way and get an exciting reaction. A lot of times, I used to say sh*t for shock value. Richard Pryor was saying things for shock value, but it still had depth to it. That’s what I was going for.

“I feel like that's the best emotion to have while listening to a song, is to just laugh at some sh*t. The only thing other than that is crying. To make a motherf**ker laugh at a song, that’s hard.”

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(L-R) Michael Kovac/Getty Images for LACMA and Karwai Tang/WireImage

Tyler, The Creator Reacts To Drake Getting Booed At Camp Flog Gnaw

Tyler, the Creator is speaking up about Drake receiving boos at the 2019 Camp Flog Gnaw Festival. The former Odd Future member took to his Twitter account to share his thoughts on the incident and address the reports of the Toronto native making an early departure from the event''s stage.

"I thought bringing one of the biggest [sic] artists on the f**king planet to a music festival was fire!" he exclaimed in all caps in a tweet on Monday afternoon (Nov. 11). "But flipside, a lil tone deaf knowing the specific crowd it drew. Some created a narrative in their head and acted out like a**holes when it didn't come true and I don't f**k with that."

Tyler continued by pointing out that although there were boos "in the front area" by folks who were "mad rude" and came off as "entitled," most attendees were having a great time. "That sh*t was like mob mentality and cancel culture in real life and I think that sh*t is f**king trash."

"Ni**a did feel no ways! That song is beautiful!" remarked Tyler about Drizzy's attempt to fully perform "Feel No Ways" a deep cut off his Views album. "Most guys don't do album cuts! Thank you, Aubrey! Like, I love that song and thought that would never happen....He really did that for me and I appreciate it because he did not have to come at all. See our worlds come together was so great in the theory."

Tyler went on to add a positive perspective to the whole incident and tweeted, "But hey man sh*t happens, all jokes aside, sh*t lowkey funny HAHAHA" he added. "Aside from that, hope everyone had a good time. Again, no [sic] arrests. No bullsh*t, man. A lot of people enjoyed it, thanks again!"

Read Tyler's tweets below and continue here to read about YG bringing out Stormy Daniels during his Camp Flog Gnaw performance of "FDT (F**k Donald Trump)."

I THOUGHT BRINGING ONE OF THE BIGGEST ARTIST ON THE FUCKING PLANET TO A MUSIC FESTIVAL WAS FIRE! BUT FLIPSIDE, A LIL TONE DEAF KNOWING THE SPECIFIC CROWD IT DREW. SOME CREATED A NARRATIVE IN THEIR HEAD AND ACTED OUT LIKE ASSHOLES WHEN IT DIDNT COME TRUE AND I DONT FUCK WITH THAT

— Tyler, The Creator (@tylerthecreator) November 11, 2019

THIS NIGGA DID FEEL NO WAYS! SONG IS BEAUTIFUL. ALSO, MOSTLY EVERYONE WAS HAVING A GREAT TIME, THOSE SHITS IN THE FRONT AREA WERE THE ONES BEING MAD RUDE, WHICH, I CAN SEE WHY, BUT, NAH, FUCK THAT, YALL REPRESENTED ME AND FLOG TO MY GUEST AND MADE US LOOK SOOO ENTITLED AND TRASH

— Tyler, The Creator (@tylerthecreator) November 11, 2019

THAT SHIT WAS LIKE MOB MENTALITY AND CANCEL CULTURE IN REAL LIFE AND I THINK THAT SHIT IS FUCKING TRASH

— Tyler, The Creator (@tylerthecreator) November 11, 2019

NIGGA DID FEEL NO WAYS! THAT SONG IS BEAUTIFUL! MOST GUYS DONT DO ALBUM CUTS! THANK YOU AUBREY!

— Tyler, The Creator (@tylerthecreator) November 11, 2019

LIKE, I LOVE THAT SONG AND THOUGHT THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN.......HE REALLY DID THAT FOR ME AND I APPRECIATE IT BECAUSE HE DID NOT HAVE TO COME AT ALL, SEE OUR WORLDS COME TOGETHER WAS SO GREAT IN THEORY

— Tyler, The Creator (@tylerthecreator) November 11, 2019

LIKE, I LOVE THAT SONG AND THOUGHT THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN.......HE REALLY DID THAT FOR ME AND I APPRECIATE IT BECAUSE HE DID NOT HAVE TO COME AT ALL, SEE OUR WORLDS COME TOGETHER WAS SO GREAT IN THEORY

— Tyler, The Creator (@tylerthecreator) November 11, 2019

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Christopher Polk

Drake Gets Booed At Tyler, The Creator's Camp Flog Gnaw Festival

Drake experienced a night he'd probably want to forget after getting boo'd off stage at Tyler, the Creator's Camp Flog Gnaw Festival in the wee hours of Monday morning (Nov. 10).  In footage making rounds on social media, the 6 God, who is arguably the biggest rapper in the world, can be seen pleading with the L.A. crowd:

"Like I said, I'm here for you," and, "If you want me to keep going, I'll keep going."

The "Mob Ties" rapper was met with a fusillade of boos and “nos,” which resulted in him leaving the stage. "It's been love. I go by the name of Drake, thank you for having me,” he says as he walks off, reportedly ending his set 20 minutes early.

Apparently, Drake was a victim of some fake news. An Instagram Live recording led concertgoers to believe that Frank Ocean, was set to perform. But even that news wasn't and hasn't been confirmed.

See the comments and videos below.

this was PAINFUL to watch drake literally got boo’d off stage 😭😭 #campfloggnaw pic.twitter.com/Ic6PenmPXc

— ➳ trash (@trashminajx) November 11, 2019

Incase you wanted to see Drake get booed off stage at flog gnaw... bruh pic.twitter.com/TgyqWvOZtq

— Baby Carrot (@lrroze89) November 11, 2019

yo this actually makes WAY more sense pic.twitter.com/4Gef3DHyh0

— JuliusJimmy (@TheInfinityJims) November 11, 2019

#campfloggnaw2019 drake deserved better /: pic.twitter.com/4WRonxcoXy

— :* (@wutangjass) November 11, 2019

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