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Digital Underground’s Shock G Dies at 57

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!!!”

“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.”

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.”

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.

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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