When the alternative hip-hop group Digital Underground debuted in the late 1980s, they opened the door for off-the-hook creativity. Not only was the party vibe sound different, but their look was different too.
The group’s frontman and co-founder, Shock G, has died at the age of 57. The hip-hop legend was found dead on April 22 in a hotel room in Tampa, Florida, according to his father, Edward Racker.
The cause of death appears to be unclear. There were no signs of trauma, TMZ reported.
Shock G often appeared as different characters such as Humpty Hump, for which he donned glasses with an enormous fake nose. The pioneering group became widely known for the fun and funky hit 1989 song, “The Humpty Dance.”
It was also through the Oakland, California-based Digital Underground and Shock G that the world was introduced to auxiliary member Tupac “2Pac” Shakur.
It’s no argument that Digital Underground and Shock G forever changed hip-hop.
2Pac appeared on the group’s 1991 song and music video, “Same Song,” for his first published work. Shock G often collaborated with 2Pac. He’s featured on 2Pac’s 1993 song “I Get Around” and he was one of the producers on 2Pac’s 1991 debut solo album, “2Pacalypse Now.”
Born Gregory E. Jacobs and raised on the East Coast, Shock G settled in Oakland, where he formed Digital Underground in the late ’80s with Chopmaster J and Kenneth Water.
In 1989, the group signed with Tommy Boy, and that summer “Doowutchyalike” became an underground hit. By that time, Digital Underground had expanded and featured DJ Fuze, Money-B (born Ron Brooks), and Schmoovy-Schmoov (born Earl Cook). Sex Packets, the group’s debut album, was released in the spring of 1990, and “The Humpty Dance,” which was rapped by Shock-G’s alter ego Humpty Hump, climbed to No. 11 on the pop charts, peaking at No. 7 on the R&B charts. With its P-Funk samples, jazzy interludes, and an innovative amalgam of samples and live instrumentation, Sex Packets received positive reviews and went platinum by the end of the year, All Music reported.
The group also dropped the groundbreaking anti-gang-violence song, “We’re All in the Same Gang.” Here are the lyrics:
“I’m in a rage/
Oh yeah? Yo, why is that G?/
Other races, they say we act like rats in a cage/
I tried to argue, but check it, every night in the news/
We prove them suckers right and I got the blues/
Get busy, Humpy/
The red, the white, the blue and/
The blue and the red For Crips and Bloods/
The white for who’s got you doin/
Time bustin caps on one another/
The Underground’s down for peace among brothers/
Kill a black man?/
Yo, what are you retarded?/
Tell em, Hump/
Yo, do you work for the Klan?
Do what ya like/
Unless you like gang bangin’/
Let’s see how many brothers leave us hangin”
He is remembered on Twitter with messages such as “RIP Shock G. An underrated legend.”
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