U.T.F.O. Member Jeffrey “The Educated Rapper” Campbell Has Passed Away

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Founding U.T.F.O. MC The Educated Rapper died yesterday (June 3) after a long battle with cancer. He was believed to be 54 years old.

The man born Jeffrey Campbell formed the Brooklyn, New York Hip-Hop group in the early 1980s, and worked extensively on the 1985 eponymous album. The Educated Rapper, also featured a memorable second verse on U.T.F.O.’s best known hit, “Roxanne, Roxanne.”

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This song would create the “Roxanne Wars” (after responses came in, most notably by Roxanne Shanté). It was produced and co-written by the Full Force collective also responsible for hits by Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, Rihanna, and Black Eyed Peas.

Public Enemy’s Chuck D has reported that his three U.T.F.O. band-mates Kangol Kid, Doctor Ice and Mix Master Ice were at Campbell’s bedside at his death.

Online, Outsidaz front man Pace Won claimed he penned his verse first after being inspired by E.M.D. Das EFX’s Krazy Drayz cited the MC also known as “E.M.D.” as a major influence during his formative years:

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On Friday (June 2), U.T.F.O.’s Mix Master Ice shared a touching photo of his and Campbell’s hands while visiting him in the hospital in his final hours.

The Educated Rapper notably was absent for U.T.F.O.’s sophomore LP, 1986’s Skeezer Pleaser. He returned for the collective’s following three albums. During his tenure, he collaborated with Metal group Anthrax, and producers Full Force.

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U.T.F.O. is regarded as among the first Brooklyn outfits to make national noise. They were early Hip-Hop artists on Fred Munao’s Select label. That imprint would go on to be deeply responsible for the success of Kid ‘n Play, Chubb Rock, AMG, and M.O.P.’s early material. In the 2000s, U.T.F.O. (with The Educated Rapper) performed often.

In 2009, The Educated Rapper delivered a valedictorian speech during graduation at The College of New Rochelle in New York:

In that proud speech, beyond his verses, Campbell shows just how closely he truly valued education.

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Ambrosia For Heads extends condolences to the U.T.F.O., and the family, friends, and fans of Jeffrey Campbell.