The 10 Most Shocking Revelations About the Tragic Last Days of Gang Starr MC Guru


When erstwhile Gang Starr MC Guru passed away on April 19, the rap world mourned. Not just for the loss of one of the best to ever to do it, but also for the shadowy circumstances under which he died–alone, in a hospital bed, with his family forbidden to visit him. For months, if not years, the rapper’s only link to the outside world had been a much loathed figure, John “Superproducer Solar” Mosher, who moved in on Guru in the waning days of Gang Starr, when tensions rose between the rapper and his longtime producer, DJ Premier. In the months following Guru’s untimely death (he was 48), rumors began to spread about just how badly he’d been served by putting his trust in Solar. Then an anonymous hacker managed to find his way into Solar’s email account and Twitter, using one to post damaging revelations from the other. So what exactly happened? This month’s XXL has a story by Thomas Golianopoulos [print only, though excerpted here] recounting what exactly happened in Guru’s last agonized days, according to people as diverse as Premier, Guru’s sister, longtime Gang Starr affiliate Freddie Foxxx, and Solar himself. It’s not a pretty picture. The ten most damaging revelations?

Solar Compares Himself to Jesus

When asked about critics’ questioning of his relationship with Guru: “Listen, they did it to Jesus, and we are measuring time based on that man. “I’m just going through a Jesus situation now.”

Premier Snuck Into Guru’s Hospital Room a Week Before the MC Died and Rubbed A Gang Starr T-Shirt on Him

“I just wanted to tell him how much I loved him, period,” DJ Premier told XXL about visiting the then-comatose Guru in the hospital, a week before his former partner passed away. “Whether he could hear me or not, I know somewhere he heard me. It was ill. His eyes were almost half open, and it was like he almost was awake, but he wasn’t… I took my Gang Starr shirt off, and I took it and rubbed it against his body, so he can feel the logo. I knew how much Gang Starr meant to him.”

At the Time of Guru’s Death, Premier and Guru Hadn’t Spoken in Six Full Years

“Like it or not, Guru hadn’t spoken to Premier for six years, according to Premier’s own estimation,” reports XXL. “He’d disassociated himself from most friends and had a strained relationship with his family.”

Guru Was An Alcoholic

“After their 1999 greatest-hits album, Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr, Guru and Premier took a break,” writes Golianopoulos. “While Premier worked with artists such as Jay-Z and Nas, Guru toiled on his latest Jazzmatazz release and Baldhead Slick & Da Click. Both albums tanked. Needless to say, Guru was frustrated with his career. He was also an alcoholic and becoming increasingly isolated.”

And then later: ” ‘In Seattle, I lost my patience because I got a little drunk and dissed a couple of kids,’ [Guru] told The Source in their August 2003 issue. “‘There is a reason for a lot of the disappointments I’ve had in my life, and alcohol has been related to all of them.'”

Solar Became Close to Guru By Helping Him Get Clean

“I helped him get sober,” Solar says. “When Guru came out of his alcoholic state, he made some adjustments. Making those adjustments, he cut certain people out of his life. He sought out new business partners, new friendships and a new lifestyle.”

Solar Physically Abused Guru

“I’ve seen Solar hit Guru full on in the face,” Jazzmatazz trumpet player Nick “Brownman” says. “And the next day, Guru looked me in the eye and said that he dropped some weights and hurt himself in the gym.”

Former Guru and Solar employee Tasha Denham recalls a separate incident: “I had to get in between them fighting, because Solar wouldn’t quit…Guru had severe asthma, and I had to break it up. If I didn’t, I think Solar would’ve kept beating him.”

Solar Won’t Admit How Old He Is

According to Golianopoulos: “Solar is curt and evasive when filling the holes in his bio. When asked his age, he responds, ‘Let me see, how old am I at this point?’ and leaves it at that. (He is 47.)”

Solar Encouraged the Rift Between Guru and His Loved Ones

“Solar tells Guru as often as possible, ‘Premier is out to get you, he hates you,'” Ali says. “This is the only voice Guru hears, because Solar has him isolated from every voice. Solar has turned Guru against all his previous friends.”

Even his sister Patricia, as it turns out: “My brother and I were extremely close,” she says. “Remained that way until he started working with Solar. So I know that Solar’s presence was the thing that caused our relationship to be different.”

Guru Wanted To Become a Mailman

Denham says that, in 2007, Guru reached a breaking point. “He would say he just wanted to go away and disappear,” she says. “He would say he just wanted to take his son, go to Europe, and work a regular job, like a mailman. He would call me and say, ‘I can’t do this anymore.'”

Solar Told the Media About Guru’s Death Before Guru’s Family Knew, and Even Pretended to Be Guru’s Brother

“The Elam family also charges that Solar altered the media about Guru’s death before calling Guru’s family and that he rushed the body from the hospital to the funeral home, where he presented himself as Guru’s brother. [Nephew] Justin [Elam] says Guru’s brother, Harry Elam Jr., intervened through a series of urgent phone calls. On April 22, 2010, Guru’s body was cremated and his ashes are expected to be delivered to his father.”

Guru, Lost Without You [XXL]