Leon Bennett/Getty Images for ESSENCEWhodini member John Fletcher, also known as Ecstasy, has died at age 56, group member Grand Master Dee confirmed to Variety. A cause of death was not yet given.
Born June 7, 1964, Fletcher was a member of the pioneering rap who created hits such as “Freaks Out At Night,” “The Haunted House of Rock,” and their Billboard Hot 100 hit “Friends.”
In 1982, Brooklyn, New York, Fletcher formed the group with lyricist Jalil Hutchins and eventually signed a deal with Jive Records. Grand Master Dee joined the group in 1986. Their debut single, “Magic’s Wand,” served as a tribute to late hip-hop DJ Mr. Magic and was followed by a self-titled album a year later, under management by music mogul Russell Simmons.
Fletcher stood out for his trademark Zorro hat, featured on the cover of the group’s breakthrough album, Black in Black. The group’s single, “Friends,” is one of the most most sampled songs in hip-hop, used byKanye West, Tupac, Nas and more.
Whodini released six albums in total, including their platinum effort, Escape, and toured with the likes of RUN-DMC, LL Cool J, and the Beastie Boys. The group’s final album, Six, was released in 1996 and produced by Grammy-winning hitmaker Jermaine Dupri.
Dupri — who worked as a dancer for the group during the early years of his career — shared a tribute post, along with an old video of himself and the group.
“My God, this one hurts me so bad. I can’t even believe I’m posting this,” wrote Dupri on Instagram. “Ex you know I love you. Thank you for every word, every conversation every good time, may your soul Rest In Power #whodini #mystart.”
Whodini were most recently celebrated for their remarkable influence at VH1’s annual Black Music Honors, receiving the Hip-Hop Icon Award in 2018.
By Rachel George
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