April 19th marks the first anniversary of Guru’s death. What a tremendous loss for Hip Hop.
He embodied the best of the genre and culture.
In Guru’s life and music there are a myriad of lessons for PR pros. Here’s a cursory list of four, culled from my favourite Guru/Gangstarr songs:
- It’s mostly tha voice: Guru’s self-described “monotone” rhyming style and voice are unmistakable. Find your voice and then, when you’re creating content for the web, a podcast, a blog post, etc, don’t hide it. Revel in it and cultivate its uniqueness. Some won’t like what you produce, but a distinct voice means that at least a few will.
- Work. Guru and DJ Premier were known for their tirelessness in the studio. You need to be too. This applies to any profession but especially to one like PR that is in a state of change. Expect nothing if you don’t put in mad work. Read lots. Write lots. Stay on top of things. That’s what pros do.
- Straight talk (not just of the New York variety). Guru’s music is imbued with clear coherent messages. Is your Corporate Communications program?
- Make ’em pay. Great song. Better message. Many of us tend to overservice clients. Resist this temptation. It lowers the bar for everyone. Make ’em pay. They deserve to, and if you make ’em pay you’re much less likely to harbour bitterness towards them in the end.
R.I.P. Guru. Gangstarr forever.