Digital Underground's Shock G, AKA 'Humpty Hump', Dead at 57

In this Feb. 25, 2008, file photo, Greg “Shock G” Jacobs, leader for Digital Underground, performs The Humpty Dance during a halftime appearance in the Detroit Pistons’ NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets.
In this Feb. 25, 2008, file photo, Greg “Shock G” Jacobs, leader for Digital Underground, performs The Humpty Dance during a halftime appearance in the Detroit Pistons’ NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets.
Photo: David Zalubowski, File (AP)

Shock G, musician, rapper, producer and the eccentric frontman of legendary hip-hop group Digital Underground has died at the age of 57, the New York Times confirms.

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Shock G was found dead on Thursday at a hotel located in Tampa, Fla., as confirmed by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. The office has not provided a cause of death at this time. Longtime friend Nzazi Malonga, who served as the group’s head of security as well as assisting with its management, said Shock G had battled drug addiction for years, per the Huffington Post.

The news of his shocking death circulated on social media on Thursday evening, after Digital Underground co-founder Chopmaster J posted his tribute on Instagram.

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“34 years ago almost to the day we had a wild idea [that] 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,” he wrote. “And now he’s awakened from the fame long live shock G Aka Humpty Hump and Rest In Peace my Brotha Greg Jacobs!!!”

Born Gregory Jacobs on August 25 1963, Shock G hailed from Brooklyn, NY. Known for his distinct alter-ego Humpty Hump, Shock G and Digital Underground found success in the 1990s.

NYT provides a retrospective look at Digital Underground’s most popular hit and the image that immediately comes to mind when fans of the group think of Shock G:

In the video for “The Humpty Dance,” Shock G took on the persona of Humpty Hump, the title character, donning a pair of dark-rimmed glasses with an obviously fake nose, a fur hat and tie. “I’m sick wit dis, straight gangsta mack / But sometimes I get ridiculous,” he raps on the song. “I’ll eat up all your crackers and your licorice / Hey yo fat girl, come here — are ya ticklish?” Part of the hook for the song: “Do the Humpty Hump, come on and do the Humpty Hump.”

Shock G can be seen in a similar outfit, both goofy and suave, in the video for the group’s song, “Doowutchyalike,” where he encouraged listeners to let loose and enjoy themselves as a saxophone gently riffs over the beat.

Digital Underground - The Humpty Dance (Official Music Video) / Tommy Boy (YouTube)

Along with standing out as the flamboyant lead vocalist of Digital Underground, Shock G was the mastermind behind Tupac Shakur’s breakthrough single “I Get Around” and co-producer of his debut album, 2Pacalypse. Tupac was introduced to the world via Digital Underground’s “Same Song” in 1990.

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“I put the beat to ‘I Get Around’ on the tape first because I thought it was the best of all the songs on there. But I didn’t think Pac would like it,” Shock G told writer-editor Keith Murphy in a 2010 interview for Fat Cap Magazine. “I had some more rougher beats that I thought would fit him better. Later, I got a voice message from Pac saying, ‘Yes nigga…yes! I like the first beat…that’s what I’m talking about…that’s the one!’ We knew ‘I Get Around’ was going to be a hit just from the video shoot. We had done four years’ worth of videos by then, but everyone on the set was going crazy when they heard the song for the first time. Every musician on the set was walking up to me, ‘Dog, what did you use on this song? Is that a sample?’ I started it off by sampling Roger’s [‘Computer Love’]…that whole part where it goes, ‘You know I get around….’ That was the one to me because it had that fucking harmony. I just looped up that sample, added the transformer, and touched a few piano chords over it.”

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Fans and peers alike took to social media to pay tribute to and share memories about the unmatched artist.

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The official Twitter account of the late Tupac, managed by the Shakur estate, posted the following 1995 quote by the late rapper in reference to Shock G: “I look back [on my times with Shock G] with the greatest fondness. Those were like some of the best times of my life...”

To the man “who put the satin in your panties,” Shock G—Rest in power.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

DISCUSSION

archaeopterixmajorus
Archaeyopterix Majorus

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But I don’t want to be old enough to have started to see my generational musicians dying! Damnit man, a best memory is being awkward at an 8th grade dance, hearing Humpty come on, and dancing in spite of my introverted, quiet, curious little white book worm self. Then I felt bold enough to ask out the Tallest Girl in our class, and slow danced with her; I still remember the tickle of her hair and smell of her perfume, the feeling of her warm body against mine, feeling almost taboo to a 12 year old boy. That whole memory is so rich and filled in, and Humpty Dance is the key to it.

If this gets anyone else down, watch episode 6 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier; Sam/Black Falcon/Captain America has a speech near the end of the episode that is ridiculous poetry and targeted, living wisdom for our world and it’s power wielders.  It’s SO good.