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SHOCK G, 1963-2021

Greg Jacobs, the rapper who led Digital Underground under the name Shock G, died Thursday at a hotel in Tampa, Fla. He was 57.

Known for the 1990 hit "The Humpty Dance," he and his group envisioned themselves as a rap version of George Clinton’s Parliament, mixing jazz and funk riffs with group vocals and other funk-group elements, including tight-yet-easygoing drumbeats. Shock G was the ringmaster, delighting all with his nasal baritone, old-school flow and highly comedic presence.

Bootsy Collins posted on Facebook: "He helped keep P Funk Alive!"

An early ‘90s MTV mainstay, Jacobs stood out by adding a visual element to his nerdy Humpty Hump character, wearing horn-rimmed glasses, a fur hat, suit and tie and a signature fake nose. Goofy as it was, Jacobs also gave the character a player’s edge—"I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom"—that imparted a broad appeal. His other incarnations included MC Blowfish, ButtaFly and Peanut Hakeem.

Shock G grew up mostly in Tampa but set up shop in Oakland, Calif., where Digital Underground was formed with Chopmaster J and Kenny-K in 1987. Over the next 30 years, the group would have more than 30 members, among them a young Tupac Shakur, who appeared on This Is an EP Release and Sons of the P, which was nominated for a Grammy.

When 2Pac went solo, Shock G appeared on his debut album, 2Pacalypse Now, and produced and rapped a verse on 1993’s “I Get Around.”

Besides "The Humpty Dance," featured on DU's million-selling debut, Sex Packets (Tommy Boy)—"Dance" was also a Grammy nominee—their only other Top 20 song was 1992's “Kiss You Back.”

Digital Underground called it quits after six albums. Shock G went on to release a solo album, 2004's Fear of a Mixed Planet, make dozens of guest appearances on record and perform with George Clinton and P-Funk.

He is already very much missed. 

 

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