Fletcher, along with Whodini, helped cultivate rap’s sound in the 80’s and was one of the leaders of New Jack Swing.
John Fletcher, the rapper better known as “Ecstasy” from the pioneering hip-hop group Whodini, has reportedly died. His cause of death is unknown. Fletcher was 56-years-old.
Questlove of The Roots shared the news Wednesday in an Instagram post, paying homage from one legend to another.
“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,” he wrote.
In 1982, Fletcher helped forge hip-hop into the mainstream as one-third of the group along with lyricist Jalil Hutchins, and DJ Crew Carter, also known as “Grandmaster Dee.” In the group’s formative days, they were managed by Russell Simmons who went on to create Def Jam. Fletcher was known for his eccentric style and often wore hats fashioned after Zorro.
The trio, who hails from Brooklyn, helped fuse R&B with hip-hop, and are attributed as one of the foundational leaders of the New Jack Swing movement. They are best known for their hits, “Friends,” “The Freaks Come Out at Night,” “Magic’s Wand,” “The Haunted House of Rock” and “Five Minutes Of Funk.”
Whodini touched the cornerstones of hip-hop which was centered on the sound coming out of New York City in the 70s and 80s. Their contemporaries are other hip-hop notables including Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, Afrika Bambaataa, Run-D.M.C., The Fat Boys and Warp 9.
Whodini’s influence spanned decades and helped cultivate the visions of other hip-hop groups like A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes and The Roots.