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23 April 2021

Shock G: Digital Underground’s The Humpty Dance rapper dies, aged 57

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Shock G, the rapper and co-founder of hip-hop act Digital Underground, has passed away at the age of 57. No cause of death has been given.

Shock G was born Greg Jacobs in New York in 1963. He moved between Tampa, Florida and New York as a child and teenager, and it was in New York that he learned to DJ before moving to Oakland, California.

In Oakland Shock G formed Digital Underground with DJ Kenny K (Kenneth Waters) and producer and drummer Chopmaster J (Jimi Dright Jr). They had a minor hit with Doowutchyalike in 1989 after signing to Tommy Boy records. The group’s biggest hit came the following year, with The Humpty Dance. It got to No 11 in the US charts, while their album, Sex Packets got to No 24.

As the Guardian noted in a feature on Digital Underground in 2015, “As Shock G, Jacobs was the straight man, sort of: a semi-parodic playa with a cool, insinuating delivery and ingenious, dirty, druggy rhymes. Then, sticking a joke-store nose-and-glasses combo over his face, he transformed into Humpty Hump, an outlandish, honking hybrid of Groucho Marx, Phil Silvers and Rudy Ray Moore. Humpty it was who would make Digital Underground, for a little while at least, famous, taking the lead on breakthrough hit The Humpty Dance.”

Five further albums followed, including 1991’s This Is An EP Release, also went Top 30, which features the first credited appearance of 2Pac, with the rapper contributing to the final verse of the track Same Song, and starring in the track’s video.

Shock G continued to collaborate with 2Pac, producing his breakthrough I Get Around as well as two songs on his 1991 debut, 2Pacalypse Now: Tha Lunatic And Words Of Wisdom. He also produced So Many Tears from the 1995 album Me Against The World.

Elsewhere Shock G produced tracks for artists including KRS-One Luniz and Prince, on Love Sign.

The news of Jacobs’ death was confirmed by Chopmaster J, who co-founded Digital Underground with Shock G in 1987.

On Instagram, he said “4 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. And now he’s awaken from the fame long live shock G Aka Humpty Hump and Rest In Peace my Brotha Greg Jacobs!!!”

 

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

Other artists including Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Snoop Dogg shared tributes to the deceased.

 

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A post shared by snoopdogg (@snoopdogg)

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