The Hip-Hop world lost a pioneer of the genre today.
Legendary Whodini group John “Ecstasy” Fletcher died at the age of 56.
A cause of death has not been revealed, but close associates say Ecstasy’s passing came suddenly, and unexpectedly.
Ecstasy along with Whodini group members Jalil Hutchins and Drew “Grandmaster Dee” Carter formed in Brooklyn in the early 80’s and, by 1982 they already had a record deal with Jive.
Their debut single in 1982 was called “Magic’s Wand,” which was co-produced by synth pioneer Thomas Dolby. From there, Whodini – managed by a young mogul named Russell Simmons – produced an amazing string of hit singles.
“Ecstasy, as a member of Whodini was one of the most influential rap groups of all time. Period. They were a bit different from Run-D.M.C in that they didn’t incorporate rock into their music but they did blend hip-hop and R&B seamlessly. The impact of that is still being felt today. They were classic hip-hop in every form and Ecstasy was a standout because he would wear a leather wide-brimmed hat. That always made him stand out,” AllHipHop co-founder Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur told Yahoo! News.
“He was a handsome dude that the ladies loved and the guys wanted to be like. But he wasn’t like a macho man like LL, he was a smooth gentleman that showed a more mature side of a really youth-based genre. But hip-hop loved and adored Ecstasy and Jalil and Grandmaster Dee because they told real-life stories with a really funky beat,” Creekmur continued.
In 1984, the group hit big with their classic single “Friends,” along with their best-known single “Freaks Come Out At Night.”
In total, Whodini released six studio albums, four of which were certified platinum. Their impact on Hip-Hop music cannot be overstated. Their songs have been sampled by everyone from Tupac to Nas.
Jermaine Dupri famously got his start in the music business as a dancer on the Fresh Fest Tour, which featured Whodini as headliners. JD ended up signing the group to his So So Def imprint in 1996 and released their final album Six.
“My God, this one hurts me so bad, I can’t even believe I’m posting this, Ex you know I love you…thank you for every word, every conversation every good time, may your soul Rest In Power,” JD said.
In 2012, Whodini was featured on TV One’s series “Unsung,” and the same year they were inducted into the Long Island Hall of Fame.
Many rappers took to social media to pay their respects to Ecstasy. “Thank you Ecstasy for showing us how to do it. RIP,” said rap star Ice Cube.
Take a look:
My God, this one hurts me so bad,I can’t even believe I’m posting this,Ex you know I love you 🙏🏾🙏🏾 thank you for every word,every conversation every good time,may your soul Rest In Power 🕊🕊🕊 #whodini q pic.twitter.com/6RGuOankWl
— Jermaine Dupri (@jermainedupri) December 23, 2020
A TREMENDOUS LOSS OF OUR HEROES…
NO ONE DID IT LIKE THIS…
THE VOICE, THE ZORRO STYLE HAT,
THE ICONIC HIP HOP THAT WHODINI BRINGS TO HIP HOP…
SALUTE JALIL AND GRANDMASTER DEE…
LOVE TO THE FLETCHER FAMILY… pic.twitter.com/vdhDYwR7rw
— DJ Premier (@REALDJPREMIER) December 23, 2020