Enduring hip-hop icon Guru commands plenty of respect on the rap scene -- but not so much on the streets of his adopted hometown of New York. At least that's the message that was sent when the thirty-seven-year-old MC was assaulted and robbed outside a small recording studio in the ordinarily quiet Queens neighborhood of Woodhaven.
Three masked men allegedly attacked the rapper as he was getting into his Mercedes outside the studio early Saturday (Jan. 9) morning. The robbers, who were armed, pistol-whipped Guru -- whose real name is Keith Elam -- before making off with a cache of diamond and gold jewelry valued in excess of $10,000. Witnesses report that shots were fired at the scene, but no one was hit by the gunfire.
"Whoever did this had to have planned it out in advance," said a studio manager, who asked that his name, as well as that of the studio, not be used. "This isn't the kind of area where muggings like this happen, because people around here aren't gonna be carrying that kind of money or whatever. Word must have gotten out somehow."
The Gang Starr majordomo, who was treated for facial lacerations at nearby Jamaica Hospital, is cooperating with police investigators, who believe the gunmen are from the immediate area. Representatives at the 102nd Precinct declined to speak on the record about the investigation.
This isn't the first time that Elam has had contact with the law -- although his previous encounters have been on the other side of the equation. He was convicted of attempting to carry a loaded gun onto a flight out of New York's La Guardia airport in 1996, and was tried for -- and acquitted of -- assaulting a woman a year later.