(AllHipHop News) DJ Ready Red, one of the founding members of The Geto Boys, died today suddenly.
Early reports have stated that a heart attack took the life of the pioneering producer and DJ. Willie D, one of the rappers in the Geto Boys, broke the news to the world.
“Bad news. DJ Ready Red died today of an apparent heart attack. Red was the Geto Boys' first DJ and producer. He gave us our sound. He was responsible for most of the production on the early stuff and all of the production on my first album Controversy," Willie D said on Instagram. “To say he was a pioneer would be an understatement. Red was before his time. There’s a lot of producers today that are eating off of Red and don’t even know why their bellies are full.”
Ready Red, real name Collins Leysath, was highly influential and one of the few artists that stayed with the Geto Boys through all of their changes in personnel. Aside from Willie's debut, Red also provided the sound for 1988’s Making Trouble, 1989’s Grip It! On That Other Level and 1990’s *The Geto Boys.*
A native of Trenton, NJ, Red often visited Brooklyn and the Bronx in the late 70's and was eventually captivated by Hip-Hop. In a 2008 interview with AllHipHop, Red explained how he ended up in Houston, Texas. (Click here to read the full conversation with Ready Red.)
> “My oldest sister had a little domestic problem with a cat in Houston, so she wanted me to come down there and check him. So I told my mom I’m getting ready to go to Houston for a little bit, and I’ll be back. But I liked it down there a little bit, and I had just broken up with my girl, so I ended up staying and going to a battle of the DJs they had down there."
In that same interview, Red talked about why he left the Geto Boys as they were about to hit their highest zenith as a group.
> As the group’s popularity flourished and they began to travel throughout the United States, Red began to question the amount of money the group was being paid. Crowds were swarming to see this new phenomenon and what once was a blind loyalty to Rap-A-Lot for giving him the opportunity to shine, began to fade into the shadows of naivety and disappointment.
> “We were traveling all over. I’m saying alright this is gonna be a good little bank man. Not! I said, I’m not gonna say nothing, I’m just going to get me a lawyer, and a CPA. They want family when it comes to them, but when it comes to us, they want us to accept what’s going on. I was doing this all for love, but I’m not going to keep making somebody rich when I gotta worry about my lights getting cut off and all of that. That’s the only problem that I ever had with James Prince. Yo man, you pay people that make you respectable, you pay them!”Geto Boys on the road
> Although he obtained a lawyer, he still didn’t feel that he was properly compensated. Red also viewed the situation as a “Dead End” because Prince owned the record label, management, and publishing company that he worked for. Finally Red assembled the Geto Boys in an effort to confront their label and management. Contending that there was never an accurate account of royalties, combined with his increased frustration, led Ready Red to one final group meeting.”Do It Like A G.O.” Geto Boys
> “I told them (Geto Boys) after a show that what we were going through wasn’t right. Now if we stand as a group maybe they might give us our money. But J. Prince came in there with his hard hitters, and they left me standing there by myself. They kinda scooted over to the other side when the bass got turned up a little bit. He came in there saying “Which one of yall think I’m f**king yall?”I said that happens to be me. I ain’t never been one to not let my nuts hang. He tried to flip it to make it seem like I had all the problems and issues. It was four of us, but when it stopped it was me sitting by myself. So I said f**k it, I’m out.”
Ready Red told then-AllHipHop writer Dynasty Williams that that the article helped him re-establish his career when he moved back to his native Trenton.
The day he died, Ready Red was slated to perform with Salt-N-Pepa, Rob Base, The 2 Live Crew, Biz Markie and an assortment of classic Hip-Hop artists.
"We lost a real one - DJ Ready Red - "The Musical Enforcer," Willie D concluded.
He will be missed.