After a year-long battle with cancer that also included a much-publicized heart attack, MC Guru passed away last night. Founder of the pioneering hip-hop group GangStarr, Guru was not only known for his uncompromising flows, but an approach to hip-hop production that paid homage to (and included collaborations with) jazz legends such as Donald Byrd and Branford Marsalis. Though recent years had seen conflicts emerge between Guru and former partner DJ Premier, Guru’s close friendship and collaborations with MC Solar flourished, though the duo’s productions did not garner as much critical praise as hoped. Nonetheless, as Solar wrote late last night, “the world has lost a great man and a true genius,” and with his back catalog continuing to represent a golden era of hip-hop production, it is hard to disagree with that sentiment.