Mass Appeal: Campaign launched to name a Boston street after late rapper Guru



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The late rapper Guru, who was one half of the influential and talented rap duo Gang Starr, was more than just an artist hailing from Roxbury. Born Keith Edward Elam, he along with Gang Starr’s DJ Premier made music that is best described as hip-hop in its purest state: Gritty, fearless, raw, and powerful. Guru’s lyrical precision was always perfectly eclipsed by DJ Premier’s flawless production. Their career spanned two decades and completely transformed the nature of rap music.


When Guru passed away in 2010 from cancer at the age of 48, the void he left in the hip-hop community was a painful one. In an effort to honor Guru’s legacy, an online Change petition created by Nicole Porter of Indianapolis has been circulating this week, and it urges Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh to name a street after the emcee or create a public memorial in his honor.

Not only would this represent and solidify the impact Gang Starr has had on Boston’s music scene, it would also show how important recognizing diverse talent is in this city. Naming a street after Guru is no far-fetched idea: A roadway in the French city of Montpellier has honored the man with “Allée Guru,” an international nod his influence on hip-hop and jazz.

So far, Porter’s petition has amassed roughly 400 signatures; read its full pitch to City Hall below.


Keith “Guru” Elam deserves a street or memorial in Boston!

Keith “Guru” Elam was a quintessential hip-hop emcee best known for establishing Gang Starr with DJ Premier. Gang Starr is easily one of the greatest hip-hop duos of all time. Guru was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1961 and passed away in April of 2010 from complications related to cancer.

All across the world, Guru remains one of the most revered emcees. France has a street named after Guru, however his home country and even home state or city has yet to create a memorial in his honor. I believe its time. The hip-hop community believes its time. His influence in hip-hop as well as his love of jazz, remains timeless.

I am calling for the City of Boston, the Roxbury area and Mayor Marty Walsh to dedicate a street to Keith “Guru” Elam.

GiftedUnlimitedRhymesUniversal. Peace.