Whodini's John "Ecstasy" Fletcher Dead at 56: Report
Questlove, Q-Tip, Chuck D, Phonte and more have paid tribute
"One Love to Ecstasy of the Legendary #Whodini," Questlove wrote on Instagram. "This man was legendary and a pivotal member of one of the most legendary groups in hip hop. This is sad man." In a post of his own, A Tribe Called Quest leader Q-Tip called Fletcher "one of the most under appreciated voices in hip hop."
Jermaine Dupri, who began his industry career as a dancer for Whodini at age 12, wrote on Twitter, "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."
Fletcher formed Whodini as a duo with vocalist/lyricist Jalil Hutchins, releasing their self-titled debut album 1983. Single "Magic's Wand," produced by Thomas Dolby, marks the first song by a rap act to feature an accompanying music video.
The pair would follow with sophomore album Escape in 1984. Produced by Larry Smith, the album's meld of hip-hop and R&B styles has been cited as an influence on new jack swing, with songs such as "Five Minutes of Funk" and "Freaks Come Out at Night" garnering the group even more attention stateside.
Whodini would bring DJ Drew "Grandmaster Dee" Carter into the fold for 1986 follow-up Back In Black, which also marked the cover art debut of Fletcher's recognizable Zorro-style hat. Open Sesame would follow in 1987, which would be the group's last effort for Jive Records ahead of signing to MCA for 1991's Bag-a-Trix.
Whodini's most recent album remains 1996's Six. Fletcher and his groupmates were inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2012, and were awarded the Hip-Hop Icon Award at the 2018 Black Music Honors ceremony.
Songs from Whodini's catalogue have been famously sampled by the likes of MF DOOM, Nas, 2Pac, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E, and Beck. Find further tributes from Public Enemy's Chuck D, Pharoahe Monch, Phonte and more below.
RIP to Ecstasy from https://t.co/MiqnKeBFeK of the most under appreciated voices in hip hop. Too many hits! Condolences to his fam ✨🙏🏾✨— QTip (@QtipTheAbstract) December 23, 2020
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
Rip Ecstasy of Whodini. A good brotha gone too soon! 🕊🙏🏽💙 pic.twitter.com/eO6ooFRtCA— DJ POOH (@DJPooh) December 23, 2020
A TREMENDOUS LOSS OF OUR HEROES...— DJ Premier (@REALDJPREMIER) December 23, 2020
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
I loved Whodini. I knew Ectasy, Jalil and Grandmaster D when I was a youngster. Loved them huge influence along with Larry Smith they changed the game, they made rap sexy.— Dante Ross (@DanteRoss) December 23, 2020
2020 continues to be brutal on the OG's. Rest Easy Ecstasy
R.I.P. 2 Ecstasy (of Whodini). *Thank U.— DāM-FunK (@DaMFunK) December 23, 2020
"Five Minutes Of Funk"
Produced by: Larry Smith
Label: Jive Records
Year: 1984 pic.twitter.com/fYDiiSEebx
Looking out for each other.— PUBLIC ENEMY (@PublicEnemyFTP) December 23, 2020
"EX" Rest In Power King. Know you will live on and be remembered. We will make sure 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
The first hip hop show I ever attended was the Fresh Fest at the Greensboro Coliseum with Run DMC, Fat Boys, and Whodini. Rest In Peace, Ecstasy. One love.— Phonte (@phontigallo) December 23, 2020
R.I.P. Ecstasy of Whodini, the first rap group I ever heard and still one of my favorites today. Many of their songs are perfect but "One Love" is my favorite. Most rappers I like have sampled or interpolated it, from E-40 to Nas to Lil Flip. https://t.co/Frn2GXjdJ7— Fat Tony (@fattonyrap) December 23, 2020
Rest In Peace sir..I had the pleasure of working with Whodini when I first started... Impeccable pocket! Incredible voice! Legend! Legend! Legend! Ecstasy / Whodini / 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/ijRUM6m5pg— PHAROAHE MONCH (@pharoahemonch) December 23, 2020
Lighters up for Ecstasy from Whodini, the first rap stars from Brooklyn. So many seminal records. Groundbreaking music backed by the genius of Larry Smith. 🙏🏼😔— Stretch Armstrong (@StretchArmy) December 23, 2020