Whodini's John "Ecstasy" Fletcher Dead at 56: Report

Questlove, Q-Tip, Chuck D, Phonte and more have paid tribute
Whodini's John 'Ecstasy' Fletcher Dead at 56: Report
Whodini (L-R): Jalil Hutchins, John "Ecstasy" Fletcher, Drew "Grandmaster Dee" Carter
John Fletcher — an American artist known best as vocalist Ecstasy with hip-hop trio Whodini — has died. News of Fletcher's passing was shared on social media by Roots drummer Questlove, though a cause of death was not revealed. He was 56.

"One Love to Ecstasy of the Legendary #Whodini," Questlove wrote on Instagram. "This man was legendary and a pivotal member of one of the most legendary groups in hip hop. This is sad man." In a post of his own, A Tribe Called Quest leader Q-Tip called Fletcher "one of the most under appreciated voices in hip hop."

Jermaine Dupri, who began his industry career as a dancer for Whodini at age 12, wrote on Twitter, "My God, this one hurts me so bad, I can't even believe I'm posting this. Ex you know I love you. Thank you for every word, every conversation every good time, may your soul Rest In Power."

Fletcher formed Whodini as a duo with vocalist/lyricist Jalil Hutchins, releasing their self-titled debut album 1983. Single "Magic's Wand," produced by Thomas Dolby, marks the first song by a rap act to feature an accompanying music video.

The pair would follow with sophomore album Escape in 1984. Produced by Larry Smith, the album's meld of hip-hop and R&B styles has been cited as an influence on new jack swing, with songs such as "Five Minutes of Funk" and "Freaks Come Out at Night" garnering the group even more attention stateside.

Whodini would bring DJ Drew "Grandmaster Dee" Carter into the fold for 1986 follow-up Back In Black, which also marked the cover art debut of Fletcher's recognizable Zorro-style hat. Open Sesame would follow in 1987, which would be the group's last effort for Jive Records ahead of signing to MCA for 1991's Bag-a-Trix.

Whodini's most recent album remains 1996's Six. Fletcher and his groupmates were inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2012, and were awarded the Hip-Hop Icon Award at the 2018 Black Music Honors ceremony. 

Songs from Whodini's catalogue have been famously sampled by the likes of MF DOOM, Nas, 2Pac, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E, and Beck. Find further tributes from Public Enemy's Chuck D, Pharoahe Monch, Phonte and more below.

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