Sunday, July 11, 2010

Thank You: Busi Mhlongo, Sugar Minott, Rammellzee, Mr. Fantastik, Garry Shider

My apologies for being late on some of these artists, as their transitions were recently brought to my attention. I pray for all the families and that we never forget these artists. May they all REST IN POWER.

Busi Mhlongo
(October 28, 1947 – June 15, 2010)

Born Victoria Busisiwe Mhlongo, was originally from Inanda in Natal, South Africa, was a virtuoso singer, dancer and composer whose music defies categorization. Drawing on various South African styles such as mbaqanga, maskanda, marabi and traditional Zulu, fused with contemporary elements from jazz, funk, rock, gospel, rap, opera, reggae and West African music she produced a fresh and exciting sound. Her infectious music and singing style have a universal appeal and her lyrics carry powerful and poignant messages. In the 1960s, she adopted the artistic name Vickie; only later did she became known by Busi Mhlongo.

Mhlongo has worked with other top African folk / pop artists, like Hugh Masekela, Mariam Makeba, Dr. Philip Tabane, Mabe Thobejane, and many legends - Robert "Doc" Mthalane making meticulously produced, melodic and modern South African music.


Lincoln Barrington 'Sugar' Minott
(May 25, 1956 - July 10, 2010)

Sugar Minott born in Kingston, Jamaica is a reggae singer, producer and sound-system operator known for his sweet roots dancehall style. Minott spent his youth hanging around the legendary Studio One record label listening to the artists that recorded there.

After working as a selector on the Sound of Silence Keystone sound system, and then his own Gathering of Youth system, he began his singing career as part of The African Brothers in 1969, along with Tony Tuff and Derrick Howard. The group released several singles in the first half of the 1970s on labels such as Micron and their own Ital label, and were an early example of the Rastafari movement's influence on the Jamaican music scene. After recording "Mysterious Nature" for producer Rupie Edwards, the group recorded 1974's "No Cup No Broke" for Studio One, breaking up shortly after. Minott then teamed up with the producer Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, as studio apprentice at Dodd's Studio One, working as a singer, guitarist and percussionist, and soon began recording his own singles.

When the young Minott started recording at Studio One, he didn't use a backing band as in conventional recording, but elected to sing over instrumental versions of old Studio One classics. This is considered to be the birth of "dancehall," which lead to countless artists making new hits out of old classics, a tradition that continues in Jamaica today.


Garry Marshall Shider
(July 24, 1953 – June 16, 2010)

Garry Shider was musical director of the P-Funk All-Stars for much of their history. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.

Shider was born in Plainfield, New Jersey. At the age of ten and under the guidance of his father Jesse, Garry and his brothers played and sang behind many gospel artists of the time including legends such as Shirley Caesar, The Five Blind Boys, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, and others. As a youth Shider was also a regular customer at the Plainfield barbershop owned by George Clinton, where the future members Parliament would sing doo-wop for customers and counsel local youngsters. Clinton made note of the young Shider's talents on guitar and his ability with gospel singing.

Shider and his friend Cordell "Boogie" Mosson left for Canada where Shider married and had a son. Shider and Mosson formed a funk/rock band called United Soul, or "U.S.". George Clinton was living in Toronto, Ontario at the time and began hearing about United Soul from people in the local music business, and took the band under his wing upon learning that Shider was a member. In 1971, Clinton produced several tracks by United Soul with input from members of Funkadelic. After producing United Soul, Clinton then invited Shider and Mosson to join Parliament-Funkadelic. Two United Soul songs were rerecorded on later Funkadelic albums with Shider as a member. Clinton groomed Shider for an important role in the P-Funk roster, which Shider joined full-time in 1972.

During Parliament-Funkadelic performances Shider was known for appearing in a diaper, making him instantly recognizable on stage and earning him the nickname "Diaper Man". Shider is featured prominently in the hit songs like, "Cosmic Slop," "Getting to Know You," and "One Nation Under a Groove". He co-wrote many noteworthy Parliament-Funkadelic songs, and he made important contributions to P-Funk spin-off acts including Bootsy Collins and Eddie Hazel.


(Born late 1960 - June 27, 2010)

Rammellzee born in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York, was a visual artist, graffiti writer, performance artist, rap/hip-hop musician, art theoretician and sculptor. Rammellzee's graffiti and art work are based on his theory of Gothic Futurism, which describes the battle between letters and their symbolic warfare against any standardizations enforced by the rules of the alphabet. His treatise, Iconic Panzerisms, details an anarchic plan by which to revise the role and deployment of language in society. He has stated that his name is derived from RAM plus M for Magnitude, Sigma (Σ) the first summation operator, first L - longitude, second L - latitude, Z - z-bar, Σ, Σ - summation. Rammellzee is often identified as an artist apart of the Afrofuturism canon; Afrofuturism is identified discourse concerned with revisioning racial identity through the tropes of science fiction and fantasy narrative or aesthetics.

Rammellzee performed in self-designed masks and costumes of different characters which represented the "mathematical equation" that is Rammellzee. On the basis of his Gothic Futurism approach, he described his artistic work as the logical extension into a new phase which he calls Ikonoklast Panzerism. This artistic work has been shown in art galleries throughout the US and Europe. His Letter Racers, and other Noise includes artistic works by individuals mostly identified with their musical contributions. Rammellzee was also instrumental as one of the original hip hop artists from the New York area who introduced specific vocal styles which date back to the early 1980s. His influence can still be heard in contemporary artists such as The Beastie Boys and Cypress Hill. His song Beat Bop was featured in the film Style Wars.


Melvin McCullough

Melvin McCullough aka Mr.Fantastik of Berkeley, CA who was head of the crew ROYAL ROCKERS passed away Saturday June 12th. He was a hip-hop icon and pioneer here in the bay area of northern California. Partners with the Incredible Rubberman Damon Frost, they both influenced the early bay area hip-hop scene especially through dance, mainly poppin' and the robotic dance movement that includes waving, Tuting and slides.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this. I am the widow of Mr. Fantastik aka Melvin C. McCullough. He highly spoke of all the people he came into contact of the years of his dancing career.

    The art meant so much to him and his dream lives on in our hearts. If you remember Melvin, he will never die. All the energy and excitement will always live on through the memories that each and every person who encountered his devastating moves knows what I am talking about and I never once saw him dance. But I could feel the energy anytime we would run into people who either saw him perform or actually battled against him.

    The McCullough Family as a whole wishes to say THANK YOU and keep his memory alive by living each and every day to the fullest and dance or shall I say boogie like there isn’t a tomorrow!

    Peace and blessings,
    Taiwan S. McCullough