This past week the world lost one of the greatest emcees of all-time, Keith Elam, Guru of Gang Starr. It is hard for me to put into words what his music has meant to me over the years, how much it taught me, and how much it helped me get through hard times. I know many other rollerbladers who feel the same way. Much love to the guys over at SHOCK who already briefly spoke on it. Like many others, my introduction to the Gifted Universal Rhymes Unlimited came through Jason Marshall and Eric Schrijn’s sections in “VG4: Puppets of Destiny.”
The back cover of “VG4,” written in 1996, sums up its impact on the history of blading better than I or anyone else really can. “Puppets of Destiny is your guide to life, even years later when the tricks have progressed and the sport has evolved VG4 will be a video you can always go back to remember why it is that you skate. From the music, to the skaters to the filming, there is a message in every minute and we hope you read it loud and clear.”
Included with the video was a small mini-magazine. It was full of information about Videogroove, music reviews, some articles, and interviews. Below, from the magazine, are a short interview with Chris Morris, a man instrumental in getting rollerblades onto many feet in the earliest days, and an article written by Shon Tomlin about the birth of aggressive skating, freestyle rolling, blading, shredding, or whatever you like to call it.
The article “Rollywood, A View of History Part II,” gives an excellent firsthand account of skating’s roots and may be the most detailed account of those days we will ever get from many of the people involved. Some of them may have moved on and wanted to hide their rollerblading past, but like the man Guru said, “So respect the architect, know what I’m sayin? One love.” — Ben Rogers
To hear more Guru, check out this dedication mix. R.I.P.