Hip Hop has lost a veteran today, December 23, following the news of the death of Ecstasy, whose real name was John Fletcher. The 56-year-old was part of the hip-hop group Whodini. Up to the time of this article, his cause of death was not revealed, but TMZ is reporting that he appears to have died of natural cause.
Questlove of The Roots was one of the first to share the news today. Posting on Instagram, he said, “One Love to Ecstasy of the Legendary #Whodini. This man was legendary and a pivotal member of one of the most legendary groups in hip hop. This is sad man.”
Ecstasy is considered a pioneer of the artform and is credited with being one the first artistes to help get hip-hop into the mainstream. He was part of the trio, which formed the group and included lyricist Jalil Hutchins and DJ Crew Carter, who was also known as “Grandmaster Dee.” In the early days after the group was formed, they were managed by Russell Simmons. Ecstasy was most widely known for his eclectic style, which was symbolized by his love of ‘Zorro’ style hats.
The group is also known for its efforts at fusing R&B with hip-hop. The Brooklyn based group have also been credited for being pioneers in helping the New Jack Swing movement gain momentum. They’ve also had some big hits like “Friends,” “The Freaks Come Out at Night,” and “Magic’s Wand.”
Whodini is synonymous with authentic hip-hop, which was produced out of New York City in the 70s and 80s. They, along with foundation hip-artistes like Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, and Run-D.M.C. helped give the genre the impetus to become what it is today. Their influence lasted for generations and inspired other New York acts like A Tribe Called Quest and Busta Rhymes.
Another celebrity, Jermaine Dupri, reacted to the news with sadness, he said, “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,” he posted to Instagram.