Clarence Reid, Funk Legend Known As Blowfly, Dies at 76, Hip-Hop Community Reacts
Legendary funkateer and R&B singer Clarence Reid, better known as rapper Blowfly, passed away at a South Florida hospice on Sunday (Jan. 17) after battling terminal liver cancer. He was 76.
Tom Bowker, Blowfly’s drummer, announced the sad news on Reid’s official Facebook page:
Clarence Reid, the genius known both by his given name and as Blowfly, the Master of Class, passed peacefully today, January 17th, in his hospice room. His sister Virginia and I thank you for all the love you have shown this week. We also thank you for supporting Clarence's 50 + year music career - especially these last few years. We love you and will keep you informed on services and tribute performances in Clarence's honor. Nothing But Love, Tom Browker
Reid, who is often credited as the first gangsta rapper, was known for his mask-wearing, sexually explicit alter-ego Blowfly in the 1970s. His 1971 debut album, The Weird Wild World of Blowfly, featured raunchy songs that are considered the first rap tunes recorded on wax. He grew in popularity and released over 25 X-rated albums with titles like Porno Freak, Blowfly's Party, Blowfly in the Temple of Doom and Fahrenheit 69, among many others.
Prior to being Blowfly, Reid was a talented songwriter in the R&B and soul genre. He penned tunes for Bobby Byrd, Sam & Dave, Betty Wright, KC & the Sunshine Band and other artists during the late 1960s.
Prior to Blowfly's death, Bowker promised the rapper would release one last album called 77 Rusty Trombones. The collection will arrive in stores on Feb. 19.
Blowfly's party albums heavily influenced West Coast hip-hop. Rappers like Snoop Dogg, DJ Quik and others have cited Blowfly as their musical inspiration. Rappers like the late Eazy-E, Jurassic 5, the Beatnuts, Masta Ace, the Pharcyde and many others have sampled several of his songs.
Upon hearing the news of Blowfly's death, rappers went on social media to express their condolences.
"Influenced the Elvis John Wayne lyric in Fight The Power R.I.P Clarence Reid, AKA Blowfly, has passed away," tweeted Chuck D. Producer Just Blaze wrote, "Damn. RIP Blowfly. OG triple OG and a forefather."
We want to send out heartfelt condolences to Clarence Reid's family. He will be sorely missed. May he rest in peace.