John Fletcher, known under the stage name “Ecstasy” while performing with the early rap group Whodini, is dead, according to the group’s Grand Master Dee and many friends. He was 56. The cause of death was not revealed.
“One love to Ecstasy of the legendary #Whodini,” Roots drummer Questlove wrote on social media. This man was legendary and a crucial member of one of the most legendary groups in hip hop. This is sad man. ”
Whodini was among the commercial pioneers in rap music as a contemporary of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Kurtis Blow. Their hit singles included Friends, Freaks come out at night, Magic’s Wand and The Haunted House of Rock. The group earned one platinum (one million units sold) and two gold albums (500,000 units).
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Tribute is poured in for Fletcher on social media.
“[In] In 1987, I went on the Def Jam tour, “wrote Public Enemy’s Chuck D.” I tended to be nervous and watched 15,000 fans in front of me every night. There were two MCs who directly mentored my calm that summer. One was Doug E. Fresh and the other was Ecstacy of Whodini. Always there to reassure with advice and tips. ”
Whodini was formed by Fletcher and Jalil Hutchins in Brooklyn, NY in 1982. The group signed with Jive Records and is led by Russell Simmons, who also handled Run-DMC and Kurtis Blow. Their first single was Magic’s Wand, a tribute to the early hip-hop DJ Mr. Magic.
Fletcher, known for his Zorro hat. was a focal point for the group.
The big commercial breakthrough came with Escape, which included Freaks come out at night and Friends, the latter one of the most sampled songs in hip-hop.
Whodini went on the road with Run-DMC’s epic “Raising Hell Tour”, one of this year’s major music events that also featured LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys.
When new styles emerged in hip hop, Whodini became part of the old school and was pushed down the food chain. Their last album arrived in 1996, but the group continued to appear on reunion shows.
Whodini was honored by VH1’s Hip Hop Honors in 2007 and by Black Music Honors in 2018, where they received the Hip-Hop Icon Award.
No information was immediately available about survivors or memorial plans.