Maat Ra, Guru and I at Rocksteady circa 2001.

Having a sankofa moment. I wouldn’t be the mc/lyricist/writer that I am today without the inspiration and steel sharpening I gained by listening to, building and/or working with those that laid the foundation for how to do this PROPERLY. I am eternally grateful and fortunate to have grown up during an era when hip hop music and culture was more pure and unadulterated than it is now. That is the torch I agreed to carry and will continue to as long as I choose to rock mics and stages and pen words on pages. O.G. SALUTE will be a weekly installment in which I feature a video, song or lyrics of an mc/lyricist that has influenced and inspired me. Guru, rest in Uhuru. This brother is a legend; he dropped gems and science, was a style innovator and had a voice that was distinctive, rugged and smooth. A perfect balance. I first encountered Gangstarr’s music on “Yo! MTV Raps” circa 1989, 1990. The “Manifest” video was one of my favorite at the time. I loved how the brother was dropping something with substance, like our-story class with rhythm and an incredible beat behind it, like why couldn’t history class be in that format?  “Hard to Earn”and “Step in the Arena”  were major soundtracks of my senior year in high school. Years later I met these brothers in Atlanta, both were very humble and genuine, and I continued to encounter them both at various points during my travels. My interactions with Guru were always very positive, respectful and genuine. Though I did not know him well, he always treated me like we knew each other for years whenever we did cross paths. DJ Premier showed “Still Dope” so much love on his “Live from Hdqrtz” show on Sirius when it dropped last year,  a sister shed a tear or two behind that one. It is really beautiful to see the vibrations come full circle like that. I salute my O.G.’s Gangstarr. Enjoy this video, one of my favorite Gangstarr songs and videos.


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