Rap Pioneer John ‘Ecstasy’ Fletcher Of Whodini Dies at 56

Written by on December 24, 2020

John Fletcher, greatest generally known as Ecstasy from the pioneering rap group Whodini, has died, the group’s Grand Grasp Dee has confirmed. The reason for loss of life was unclear on the time of this text’s publication; he was 56.

Roots drummer Questlove was the primary to interrupt the information on Wednesday by way of a social-media publish paying tribute to the veteran rapper. “One like to Ecstasy of the legendary #Whodini,” he wrote. “This man was legendary and a pivotal member of one of the crucial legendary teams in hip hop. That is unhappy man.”

John "Ecstasy" Fletcher of Whodini performs in 2007.

John “Ecstasy” Fletcher of Whodini performs in 2007.

Whereas not as well-known as early hip-hop pioneers like Kurtis Blow or Grandmaster Flash and the Livid 5, Whodini had been among the many hottest early rap outfits, by way of hit singles like “Associates,” “Freaks Come Out at Evening,” “Magic’s Wand” and“The Haunted Home of Rock.”

The group’s mixture of rapping and singing and its synth-heavy sound had been a staple in early’80s nightclubs and introduced the group one platinum and two gold albums. “The trio, together with producer Larry Smith, made the primary hip-hop data that black radio embraced,” veteran author Nelson George wrote on Twitter Wednesday.

In separate testimonials to Whodini’s affect, A Tribe Referred to as Quest rapper Q-Tip known as Fletcher “one of the crucial under-appreciated voices in hip-hop,” and Public Enemy’s galvanizing MC Chuck D wrote on Twitter: “1987 I entered the Def Jam tour. I tended to be nervous, 15,000 followers in entrance of me each night time. There have been two MCS that instantly mentored my calm that summer time. One was Doug E. Recent and the opposite was Ecstacy of Whodini. At all times there to reassure with recommendation and suggestions.”

John Fletcher raps during a 2006 performance.

John Fletcher raps throughout a 2006 efficiency.

Fletcher fashioned Whodini with singer-rapper Jalil Hutchins in Brooklyn, NY, in 1982 and signed with the influential Jive Information shortly after.

The group — managed by Russell Simmons, who additionally managed Kurtis Blow and the then-nascent Run-DMC — debuted with the only “Magic’s Wand,” a savvy tribute to early hip-hop DJ Mr. Magic and adopted with a self-titled album in 1983.

However Whodini’s breakthrough got here the next yr with “Escape.” Produced by Kurtis Blow affiliate Larry Smith, it included such smashes as “Freaks Come Out at Evening” and the cynical “Associates,” which is without doubt one of the most sampled songs in hip-hop, showing in tracks by Kanye West, Dr. Dre, Tupac and greater than 150 others.

Together with his trademark Zorro hat, Fletcher was the focus of the group.

John "Ecstacy" Fletcher, center in the hat, performs with Whodini during a 1984 concert in Chicago.

John “Ecstacy” Fletcher, heart within the hat, performs with Whodini throughout a 1984 live performance in Chicago.

The group adopted in 1986 with the Smith-helmed “Again in Black,” and had been second on the invoice on Run-DMC’s “Elevating Hell Tour” that yr — in a mirrored image of their standing, they had been billed above LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys.

Nevertheless, the group’s reputation had begun to fade, regardless of their affect on the New Jack Swing fashion of the early 1990s, and several other makes an attempt at a comeback had been unsuccessful. Their remaining album, 1996’s “Six,” was produced by hitmaker Jermain Dupri, who cited them as a serious affect on his personal work with Kriss Kross and TLC, and even briefly labored as a dancer for the group early in his profession.

Whereas Whodini largely remained on the nostalgia circuit in current many years, they did get well-deserved recognition at a number of factors, at VH1’s Hip Hop Honors in 2007 and on the Black Music Honors in 2018, the place they obtained the Hip-Hop Icon Award.

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