Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gifted Unlimited: Rest in Power a legend

The Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal, GURU, died yesterday from a bout with cancer. I fear that as times go by, this decade will see more hip hop icons pass. And Guru was a young cat, only 43. Thanks for blessin us with knowledge and spirit, you shaped a whole generation.

Here is a note from Kuttin Kandi:

by Kuttin Kandi

"they say it's lonely at the top, in whatever you do
you always gotta watch motherfu*kers around you
nobody's invincible, no plan is foolproof
we all must meet our moment of truth"

In a music industry that can sometimes be so cold, where you've known Artists for years long before the "business" can change like a blink of an eye because of something called "fame"; it is often seldom that you meet folks that you know you can really call your friends. so, when you do meet someone who you know is down for you, who got your back, and shows you mad love you know that you should cherish that friendship. You know that you should value that relationship and hold onto it for as long as you can.

It's been nearly four years that I've been living in sunny San Diego, CA. Till this day, I haven't quite adapted to the lifestyle here. Till this day, I still claim NYC as my forever home. And while there is a dope Hip Hop scene out here in San Diego, I am disconnected from folks even out here. While I know that Hip Hop is global, I still can't ever let go of the home of Hip Hop - New York City. In these four years, while I struggle to make new friends here in San Diego, I've been trying to maintain my relationships of family and friends back home in NY. I've also been trying to stay connected with music, Hip Hop and my friends within Hip Hop while still trying to pursue newer endeavors in my life. I try to do this with phone calls and emails with friends. However, with the fact that I go through my stages of wanting to stay out of the "spotlight", i've done a horrible job at keeping in touch with people.

So, when you receive news of someone passing in your life via a social media like facebook, the news is horrible and shocking. You would think that even with a learned lesson i had months ago back in October of dear friend, legendary DJ Grandmaster Roc Raida's passing, I would have stepped up in staying connected by now. Perhaps it's my 3000 mile distance, perhaps it's life just gets too busy and I never stop to even breathe. The truth is, there really is no excuse. Not even the fact that I've been trying to work on my own well-being and health can really be an excuse.

I miss people back home. I miss music. and I miss the friendships I have made through Hip Hop. I miss Guru as I miss Hip Hop.

I remember the first time i met Guru. Moment of Truth dropped and I started competing, I was just beginning to make a name for myself in Hip Hop, but i was still up and coming. It was at a record signing at Fat Beats and I was too excited. I never really get star struck, but I knew Gangstar, was the epitome for me. It was the ultimate highlight of a dream come true for me to meet Gangstarr. I stood on line, just like everyone, waiting, and waiting for my vinyl to be signed. As I approached Premier and Guru, i said "I'm a DJ, I'm such a big fan and I've always wanted to meet you.". Guru smiled and Premier said, "Well here i am baby". Someone next to them, looked at me and said "You don't look like a DJ, if you're a DJ then get up on the turntables and spin." And of course it was Fat Beats record store, so of course there would be turntables. Premier and Guru both looked at me if i was ready to take the challenge. Inside I was excited and wanted to jump at the opportunity to showoff my skills to my biggest idols. Plus, there was nothing more I wanted to do but shut that man up who questioned my ability to DJ. Shoot, what does a DJ look like? He was just too coward to state what he really meant - that he didnt think women can DJ. So yeah, it would have been nice to make him look a fool. But then I looked around the record store and saw all the MC's, DJ's on the line who I knew would have wanted the same opportunity to showoff their skills too. I didn't want to take up space and be considered a showoff. Of course my insecurities took over too, "I'm just not good enough". So, even as DJ Max Glazer who was working at Fat Beats at the time, vouched for me that I was a dope DJ, I still walked away, with my head down, declining to show and prove my skills.

But as I walked away from Fat Beats that day, I held my chin up and said to myself, "I didn't need to show off my skills. One day Premier & Guru will know me. They will know who i am. And they will respect me, not as a fan, but as a fellow DJ and artist."

A year later, at a diner near nassau colliseum, I seen Guru at the cashier register buying food. I approached him and I said, "Guru, I met you a while back... " and before I could even finish my sentence he said "Wait a minute, I just seen you in the DMC 1998 Video. Haha, Wow, that's so dope".

It's been nearly 13 years since that day at Fat Beats, and I can honestly say I've had many moments of truth with Guru. We had been friends for many years thereafter. Speaking to each other off and on the phone. Giving me advice, sending me records and cheering me on. I even remember the first time Guru asked me to DJ for him and how nervous I was. I was so nervous that I didn't even notice
I accidentally spun "Dwyck" with the lyrics. He looked back at me on stage and was like "Kandi, play the instrumental" but laughed it off and didn't embarrass me that I just f'd up his stage show. It was him that was more excited than me to be working together.

He was like "It's you and me, Guru & Kuttin Kandi, baby, we're making history...".

I look back at that day at Fat Beats, and how sad I was that I lost out on an opportunity to show and prove to the one and only Hip Hop legends Gangstarr. I smile at that moment.. and I know that I had not only won his respect, but I had gained his friendship. And I am forever blessed, so forever thankful that he had been such a humble, kind, respectful friend to me. Looking out for me, checking in on me.... from time to time... never forgetting me... always remembering me... constantly giving me opportunities.. that i am so thankful for.. after all, there's so many other DJ's he could have worked with, so many other DJ's he could have connected with... so many other's he could have looked out for - but yet.. he welcomed me.

As I work on my newer steps, my newer endeavors with music... and life... I will carry with me for the rest of my life, my friendships with legendary people like Guru, GM Roc Raida and so forth... and I will hold onto those privileges I've had to get to know them, be mentored by them and be blessed by them. I will take those moments.... to resinspire me, to challenge me and reconnect me to many others I've lost touch with over the years... including Hip Hop.

Life is too short not to stay connected to the people you love and all the things you love in life.

Thank you Guru - for giving my Moment of Truth. I love you.


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