Shock G – an influential name in the world of hip-hop – has died at the age of 57, it has been confirmed on social media.
Responsible for the breakthrough single of Tupac Shakur, as well as producing many hits of his own, his death was confirmed by bandmate Chopmaster J on Instagram.
“34 years ago almost to the day we had a wild idea that we could be a hip hop band and take on the world,” he said. “Through it all the dream became a reality, and the reality became a nightmare for some.”
“Now he’s awakened from the fame,” he added. “Long live Shock G – aka Humpty Hump – and rest in peace my brotha Greg Jacobs!!!”
Here is everything you need to know about him.
Who was Shock G?
Shock G – real name Gregory Jacobs – was born in August 1963, and fell in love with music at an early age.
He won a "Most Talented" trophy at high school in 1978 as a drummer, but after he relocated to Queens, New York, he discovered hip-hop and traded his drum kit in for a set of turntables while the genre was still in an underground, developmental stage.
Jacobs was mentored by a cousin and a close friend, the latter of which suggested he use the name "Shah-G". Jacobs liked the idea, but mistakenly thought his friend said "Shock-G", and began using that name instead.
After relocating to Florida, Shock G formed the Master Blasters, a DJ crew the Master Blasters that performed at parties and outdoor gatherings.
He captured the attention of a local radio station who offered G a DJing job, making him the youngest radio personality in central Florida with a regular time slot.
He was eventually fired for playing the fifteen-minute-long album version of ‘(Not Just) Knee Deep’ by Funkadelic in a five-minute time slot.
Who was Humpty Hump?
After a few years backpacking the United States, G decided to pursue music seriously, and began studying music theory, before forming Digital Underground in Oakland, California in 1987.
A year later, the trio released a 12-inch single, with both the A-side and the B-side penned, produced and performed by Jacobs, who also sketched the cartoonish cover illustrations.
In 1989, the group began to find a firmer footing, and though songs like ‘Doowutchyalike’ received minimal radio airplay, they became underground hits.
The highest charting song of Digital Underground’s career came in early 1990 with ‘The Humpty Dance’ – sung by Shock G's alter ego, Humpty Hump – which reached number one on the US Rap Chart.
Humpty Hump was just one of Shock G's several aliases which he maintained with such reality, they were believed to be separate people by some music fans, and even a few industry insiders.
Hump wore colourful clothes, and a Groucho glasses-and-nose disguise, explained – along with his nasal singing style – in the fictional biography G constructed for the character as the result of burns suffered in an accident with a deep-fryer.
G would show up as either himself or Hump at public appearances, but utilised stand-ins and camera tricks to maintain the illusion of the two being separate entities at live shows and video shoots.
What did he produce?
Shock G also found success as a music producer, and in 1993, produced the breakthrough platinum single of Tupac Shakur (a former member of Digital Underground, whose personnel changed and rotated with each album and tour).
G also co-produced Tupac's debut album, 2Pacalypse Now.
What happened to him?
The cause of Shock G’s death is not yet known.
According to his father Edward Racker, G was found dead in a hotel room in Tampa, Florida on 22 April.
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