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Shock G Dies Digital Underground39;s 39;Humpty Dance39; Rapper Who

shock g dead, Digital Underground

Shock G Dies Digital Underground39;s 39;Humpty Dance39; Rapper Who

Shock G Shock G Who Rapper Digital … Dies: Underground's 'Humpty Dance'

Thu, 22 Apr 2021 18:00:00 -0700

Shock G, the Bay Area rapper-producer who fueled Digital Underground's hit "The Humpty Dance" and co-produced Tupac Shakur's debut album, has died

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By Erik Pedersen

Managing Editor

Shock G, the Bay Area rapper-producer who fueled Digital Underground’s 1990 hit “The Humpty Dance” via his alter ego Humpty Hump and co-produced Tupac Shakur’s debut album, died today in Tampa, FL. He was 57.

The news was confirmed by Chopmaster J (aka James Dight), who co-founded the Underground with Shock G (born Gregory Jacobs) in 1987. “34 years ago almost to the day we had a wild idea we can be a hip hop band and take on the world through it all the dream became a reality and the reality became a nightmare for some,” Chopmaster J wrote on Instagram. “And now he’s awaken from the fame long live shock G Aka Humpty Hump and Rest In Peace my Brotha Greg Jacobs!!!”

A post shared by Chopmaster J Aka Big Brutha (@chopmasterj)

“The Humpty Dance” hit No. 11 on the Billboard 200, nearly matching its lyrical boast, “All the rappers in the Top 10, please allow me to bump thee.” It was 1990 — the year rap went pop-mainstream as M.C. Hammer hit with “U Can’t Touch This” and Vanilla Ice scored the first No. 1 rap single on the Billboard chart with “Ice Ice Baby.”

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Shock G also co-wrote “The Humpty Dance.” Its video, in which a teenage Shakur makes an appearance, was nominated for Best Rap Video at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards but lost to “U Can’t Touch This.” Watch it below.

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The group hit with its full-length Tommy Boy Records debut album Sex Packets (1990), which spawned “The Humpty Dance” and rap hit “Doowutchylike,” which also featured Shock G. The platinum disc, which reached the pop Top 20, was heavy with P-Funk samples from the likes of Parliament, Funkadelic and solo George Clinton.

Digital Underground’s 1991 follow-up This Is an EP Release and full-length Sons of the P both went gold but failed to deliver hit singles. The latter featured “Kiss You Back,” which hit No. 13 on Billboard’s rap singles chart but only dented the pop Top 40. The group would chart lower with its next two albums as its popularity ebbed.

The group’s songs appeared in numerous films and TV shows ranging from Beavis and Butt-Head, Hoop Dreams and The Green Hornet to Sing, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist and this year’s Coming 2 America.

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Born on August 25, 1963, in New York City, Shock G moved around as a child, landing in Tampa and eventually wounding up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Digital Underground would form in Oakland in 1987.

He also co-wrote LL Cool J’s 1991 hit “Mama Said Knock You Out” and co-produced 2Pac’s debut album 2Pacalypse Now, writing two of its tracks. The Digital Underground frontman co-wrote, co-produced and rapped on 2Pac’s first pop hit “I Get Around,” which hit No. 11 on the Billboard 200.

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Shock G

Thu, 22 Apr 2021 18:00:00 -0700

He assumed various identities, but none more famous than Humpty Hump, the fur-wearing braggadocious rapper whose “Humpty Dance” remains a paragon of 

Welcome,

As Humpty Hump, visionary emcee created the indelible “Humpty Dance” while co-producing artists like 2Pac

Reporter

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Gregory Jacobs, the charismatic, affable Digital Underground rapper-producer who performed as Shock G and Humpty Hump, died Thursday at the age of 57. Jacobs’ father confirmed the musician’s death to TMZ, though a cause of death remains unknown.

“34 years ago almost to the day we had a wild idea we can be a hip-hop band and take on the world through it all the dream became a reality and the reality became a nightmare for some,” Digital Underground’s Chopmaster J wrote on Instagram. “And now he’s awaken from the fame long live shock G Aka Humpty Hump and Rest In Peace my Brotha Greg Jacobs!!! #digitalunderground.”

Over the course of six albums — most notably 1990’s Sex Packets and 1991’s Sons of the P — Digital Underground expanded on Parliament-Funkadelic’s bouncy, elastic funk and outlandish, occasionally goofy stage personas and costumes to become a singular hip-hop group. While the group went through numerous lineup changes over the years, Jacobs, who co-founded the collective, always remained at the center before disbanding the group in 2008. He assumed various identities, but none more famous than Humpty Hump, the fur-wearing braggadocious rapper whose “Humpty Dance” remains a paragon of classic hip-hop more than 30 years later.

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A hip-hop renaissance man, Jacobs designed the artwork for many of Digital Underground’s albums (as Rackadelic) and played drums and piano (the latter credited on albums as “The Piano Man”). He was just as instrumental behind the scenes, producing (and appearing on) Tupac Shakur’s breakthrough song “I Get Around” and 1995’s “So Many Tears,” among others, and bringing a young Shakur into Digital Underground. Months before the release of his debut album 2pacalypse Now, Shakur made his mesmerizing debut on Digital Underground’s “Same Song.”

As detailed in a 2017 Rolling Stone article, Shakur worked as a roadie for the group while Jacobs and his manager shopped the group’s demo. Digital Underground would give Tupac his first tour alongside Big Daddy Kane, his first released verse with “Same Song” and his first movie role in 1991’s Nothing but Trouble. (Jacobs produced and appeared on Shakur’s 1993 breakthrough hit “I Get Around.”) ““He was on TNT Records [with us] for four years,” Jacobs told Rolling Stone. “He was with Death Row for nine months. So do the math.”

“I remember when NWA’s road manager Atron [Gregory] said he had a group called Digital Underground,” Ice Cube wrote on Twitter. “He played DOWHATCHALIKE video & I went crazy. I had to sample [Digital Underground] on JACKIN FOR BEATS and WHO’S THE MACK. And nobody had a better stage show. A true Bay Area original.”

Born on August 25th, 1963, Jacobs spent his formative years moving around with his family. He began his musical pursuits early on as a drummer, before hip-hop became his mainstay while the nascent art form was still underground in the Seventies. He dropped out of high school and formed a DJ crew that performed around town, which led to a job as a part-time on-air DJ as a teenager. After he was let go from that gig, he backpacked around the country. During his explorations, he expanded his musical interests into playing the keyboard and piano. He eventually settled down to get his diploma and went to college to study music.

In 1987, Jacobs and Chopmaster J (whose real name is Jimi Dright Jr.) formed Digital Underground and dropped the single “Underwater Rimes.” Two years later, they signed to Tommy Boy and had expanded to include DJ Fuze, Money-B, and Shmoovy-Shmoov. The group’s 1990 debut album, Sex Packets, housed their biggest song to date, “The Humpty Dance.” A perennial classic in its own right, the song — including Jacobs’ distinctive, nasally voice — would go on to be sampled by dozens of subsequent rappers and producers.

“Each individual has his own set of influences, from Jimi Hendrix to Erroll Garner via George Clinton, from hip-hop to doo-wop, from Jazz and R&B to funk and rock,” Jacobs said in 1989. “Sometimes we’ll combine any two, three or more styles and sometimes we’ll stick to just one. It depends on whoever is getting involved in the track. There’s often plenty of different things happening in our songs, but that doesn’t mean we’re not into the idea of doing a simple rap over a basic beat. We like doing real straight stuff, real hardcore stuff too.”

Digital Underground’s 1991 This Is an E.P. Release featured Shakur, and they followed it up with their sophomore album, Sons of the P later that year. The album went gold, along with its single “Kiss You Back.” They released four more albums — 1993’s The Body-Hat Syndrome, 1996’s Future Rhythm and 1998’s Who Got the Gravy? and 2008’s ..Cuz A D.U. Party Don’t Stop! Jacobs released his only solo album, Fear of a Mixed Planet, in 2004.

In addition to his Digital Underground output, Jacobs also made many TV appearances, appearing in the film Nothing But Trouble with Dan Aykroyd, providing a voiceover for his character in the 2017 Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me and appearing in several music documentaries. Beyond his helming of Shakur’s “I Get Around,” “So Many Tears” and co-producing 2Pacalypse Now, he produced Luniz’s 1995 Operation Stackola, mixed Prince’s 1998 “Love Sign” from Crystal Ball and featured on Murs’ 2003 single “Risky Business.” He also toured and performed with George Clinton and P Funk, including a set at Woodstock 1999.

“Oh No, Not Shock G (and his alter ego Humpty Hump),” Bootsy Collins tweeted. “He helped keep P Funk Alive! He is responsible for Digital Underground’s ‘The Humpty Dance’, 2Pac’s breakthrough single ‘I Get Around,’ and co-producer of 2Pac’s debut album 2Pacalypse Now. Prayers to family & friends. Dang.”

Additional reporting by Jason Newman

In This Article: Digital Underground, Hip-Hop, obit, Obituary

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– April 23, 2021
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