Shock G laid to rest in private funeral in Tampa
The "Humpty Hump" rapper and producer created Digital Underground and launched Tupac's career
Shock G, the producer, artist, and musician who founded Digital Underground passed on April 22 at the age of 57. On Saturday, he was laid to rest in a private funeral in Tampa, Florida that was attended by or featured appearances on video by his peers, including Ronald “Money B” Brooks of Digital Underground, Bootsy Collins, producer Kwame, Chuck D, Yo Yo, Sway, DJ Premier, Big Daddy Kane, MC Serch, Treach of Naughty By Nature, Cee-Lo Green, Busta Rhymes, and Jermaine Dupri, among others, according to WFLA.
Born Gregory Jacobs in Brooklyn, New York, Shock G spent most of his formative years in Tampa before finding fame and fortune as a musician in the Bay Area.
As theGrio previously reported, Jacobs was struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues in the months prior to his passing and had been living near family. He was found unresponsive in a Tampa hotel room on April 22. No cause of death has yet been released.
The funeral service was held at Allen Temple A.M.E. Church and was live streamed.
“His legacy was how he loved people unconditionally,” Reverend Doctor Alesia Ford-Burse said at the service. “He loved to a default.”
Ford-Burse also referenced the day Jacobs was born (August 25) his age at death (57) and the day he passed (April 22) saying the numbers were significant and that “Everything around him says that he fulfilled his purpose.”
Despite the solemn occasion, Shock’s fellow musicians drew laughs with funny memories about both his genius and his sense of humor in the two-hour-plus service.
“You know, it’s a blow, because he is the origin of everything that we’re about,” Brooks told Fox 13 in the days after Jacobs’ passing.
Jacobs, Jimi C. “Cutmaster J” Dright, Jr. and the late Kenneth “Kenny-K” Waters formed Digital Underground in the late 80s. They enjoyed success with the platinum-selling single “Humpty Dance” off their 1990 Sex Packets debut, as well as their first hit, “Doowutchyalike.”
Shock also created the Humpty Hump persona that for many years people thought was another individual as he both employed body doubles and camera trickery during shoots to keep the persona going.
“People talk about him as a great musician, a great artist or whatever, but he was 10 times the human,” Brooks, who shared emotional memories of his bandmate at the funeral, said. “He wanted everyone around him to be comfortable and happy, in spite of what made him happy.”
Tom Silverman, the head of Tommy Boy Records, who signed Digital Underground to their label along with pioneering hip hop acts like Afrika Bambaataa and Stetsasonic, called Jacobs a genius and a visionary at the service.
“When Tommy Boy signed Digital Underground, we didn’t just sign Greg Jacobs, we signed all of his multiple personalities,” Silverman said. “We signed Shock G, Edward Ellington Humphrey the Third, The Piano Man, MC Blowfish, The Computer Woman, and even the artist Rackadelic. Gregory Edward Jacobs was the one I had the most trouble getting to know, and maybe that’s true of a bunch of us here because he was always in a persona.”
He continued, “He could have been a Walt Disney. He was that kind of genius. He was like the Nikola Tesla of hip hop, except that he has a great sense of humor. You never knew when he was serious and when he was joking. Even when I saw him in the casket yesterday, I fully expected him to smile and wink at me because that’s the kind of thing he would do.”
Public Enemy frontman Chuck D appeared by video, echoing the words of others, calling Jacobs a “musician, an artist, a humorist, a performer, a pioneering A&R agent and a bandmaker….forever we’re grateful for everything that Shock G did for the genre, as well as being somebody I considered a friend, somebody who always said he looked up to me, and I looked up to him, too….”
He concluded, “Long live Shock G for just stretching the [boundaries] stretching it out, and making us all have fun with this hip-hop thing.”
Jacobs is credited for launching Tupac Shakur’s career, putting him on record for the first time on the Digital Underground hit “Same Song.” Tupac started out with the group as a roadie. Jacobs produced two of Tupac’s biggest hits — “I Get Around” and “So Many Tears.”
Busta Rhymes shared his condolences and his memories of Jacobs and said “Let’s do our part in keeping the genius mind of his, and his heart and his legacy alive. Rest in peace, King, you did an amazing job.”
Jacobs is survived by his mother, Shirley Kraft, his father, Edward Racker and his brother and sister Kent Racker and Elizabeth Racker.
You can watch the full service below:
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