John Fletcher, who was known by the stage name “Ecstasy” while playing with the rap group Whodini, died, according to the group’s Grand Master Dee and several friends. He was 56 years old. The cause of death has not been revealed.
“A love for Ecstasy from the legendary #Whodini”, wrote the drummer for Roots Questlove on social media. “This man was legendary and a key member of one of hip hop’s most legendary groups. This is sad, man. “
Whodini was among the commercial pioneers of rap music as contemporaries of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Kurtis Blow. His hit singles include Friends, monsters go out at night, magic wand and The Haunted House of Rock. The group won a platinum (one million units sold) and two gold albums (500,000 units).
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Taxes poured in for Fletcher on social media.
“[In] 1987 I joined the Def Jam tour, “wrote Chuck D. of Public Enemy.” I tended to get nervous, looking at 15,000 fans in front of me every night. There were two MCS who directly guided my calm that summer. One was Doug E. Fresh and the other was Ecstacy of Whodini. Always ready to reassure you with advice and tips. “
Whodini was formed by Fletcher and Jalil Hutchins in Brooklyn, NY in 1982. The group signed with Jive Records and was managed by Russell Simmons, who also handled Run-DMC and Kurtis Blow. His first single was Magic wand, a tribute to former hip-hop DJ Mr. Magic.
Fletcher, known for his Zorro hat. it was a focal point of the group.
The great commercial advance came with Escape, that included Freaks go out at night and Friends, the latter one of the most sampled songs of hip-hop.
Whodini went on the road with Run-DMC’s epic “Raising Hell Tour”, one of the biggest musical events that year that featured LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys as well.
As new styles emerged in hip-hop, Whodini became part of the old school and was pushed down the food chain. Their last album arrived in 1996, but the group continued to appear on reunion shows.
Whodini was honored by VH1’s Hip Hop Honors in 2007 and at Black Music Honors in 2018, where he received the Hip-Hop Icon Award.
No information was immediately available on survivors or memorial plans.