Shock G, who blended whimsical wordplay with reverence for ’70s funk as chief of the off-kilter Bay Space hip-hop group Digital Underground, has died. He was 57.
Nzazi Malonga, a longtime buddy who served as head of safety and helped handle the group, mentioned the rapper-producer was discovered unresponsive Thursday in a resort room in Tampa, Florida. Malonga mentioned the performer, born Greg Jacobs, had struggled with drug dependancy for years.
The group discovered fame with the Billboard High 10 hit “Humpty Dance” in 1990, as Jacobs donned a Groucho Marx-style pretend nostril and glasses to develop into one in all his many alter egos, Humpty Hump. He initially maintained the flamboyant Humpty was a separate individual, doing in-character interviews and generally having his brother Kent Racker play the half.
“Identical Track” a yr later served as 2Pac’s introduction to music followers, with Shock G handing the baton to the longer term megastar, who had been working as a roadie for Digital Underground: “2Pac, go ’head and rock this.”
Jacobs was an introverted “technical wizard” adept at arranging samples who performed keyboards and drums, mentioned Digital Underground co-founder Jimi Dright, referred to as Chopmaster J. Dright met his future bandmate whereas shopping for gear at a music retailer in San Leandro, California, the place Jacobs was working.
Massive Boi, Chuck D, Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes had been amongst these posting on-line tributes to Jacobs, with many expressing ache after the deaths earlier within the month of rappers DMX and Black Rob. “Our brother Shock G was a GIANT. There’s not one side of what we do musically that this man has not influenced,” wrote Talib Kweli.
“The Humpty Dance” invited an viewers of awkward youth into hip-hop with its embrace of misfits and outcasts. “Cease whatcha doin’ / ’Trigger I’m about to spoil / The picture and the model that ya used to,” Shock G rapped with lighthearted bravado. “I’m loopy / Permit me to amaze thee / They are saying I’m ugly however it simply don’t faze me.”
”‘The Humpty Dance’ spoke to all of the those that had been like him — the fats individuals, the unattractive individuals. When you moved like him, you can be no matter you need,” mentioned Malonga.
The group’s platinum-selling debut album “Intercourse Packets” was titled after an imagined “intercourse in a tablet” product product that Dright mentioned was a response to the AIDS disaster. It was adopted by the gold-selling “That is an EP Launch” and “Sons of the P.”
Jacobs, whose partner-in-rhyme was the smooth-voiced Cash-B, was most snug performing in disguise and infrequently struggled privately with the highlight. “He acquired to be the star of a manufacturing that we had assembled and it ate him up. He didn’t wish to be that man,” Dright mentioned.
Malonga mentioned Jacobs had lived with him within the Los Angeles space for a number of years to get sober within the early 2000s, however had relapsed and been lately dwelling with household in Florida. He gave away a lot of his wealth and labored on many unfinished facet tasks, struggling to search out validation from these round him.
“He had tons of of issues he might create. He might draw, he might write music, play piano, he might rating issues, he might write tales and scripts,” Malonga mentioned. “However until somebody was telling him he was OK, he would by no means current that.”
“I used to be very dissatisfied that he didn’t actually see his personal expertise,” he added. “He was way more humble and insecure than individuals thought.”
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