Rap Pioneer Jimmy Spicer Has Passed Away
Rapper Jimmy Spicer has reportedly died after a battle with advanced cancer on his brain and lungs. Several prominent Hip-Hop figures, including Ralph McDaniels, Dante Ross, and R.A. The Rugged Man reacted to the news on social media.
Born James Bromley Spicer, the artist was one of the first Hip-Hop acts to release a commercial record when “Adventures of Super Rhyme” (embedded below) dropped in 1980. The 15-plus-minute song is full of playful raps and zany storytelling, much of which has been interpolated or sampled over the decades. Not to mention, Spicer’s narrative style was adopted by favorites like Slick Rick and Dana Dane.
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Legendary Hip Hop Artist Jimmy Spicer has passed away. #PeacefulJourney my brother. I took this photo last year at The King of Kings Foundation Cancer Walk with @imroxanneshante and @feurtado_brothers .His family has a GoFundMe to help with funeral arrangements.I will post soon.
Among the Rap pioneers on wax, this MC released a handful of singles after his debut 12” and while none had the impact of “Super Rhymes,” “Money (Dollar Bill Y’all)” and “The Bubble Bunch” have also been heavily sampled and interpolated. For instance, Wu-Tang Clan’s early hit “C.R.E.A.M.” re-purposed Spicer’s 1983 song catch-phrase. Meanwhile, Busta Rhymes and DJ Scratch reworked “Bubble Bunch” for 1998’s “Do The Bus A Bus.”
In a 2015 interview with The Combat Jack Show, Long Beach, California’s Warren G spoke at length about the influence that Spicer’s music had on him. The “Bubble Bunch” single includes the first remix by John “Jellybean” Benitez, who later made hits with Madonna and Whitney Houston, and famed remixes for David Bowie, Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson, and Fleetwood Mac.
Early on, Jimmy worked with late producer Larry Robinson (Fat Boys, Whodini, Kurtis Blow) in addition to Russell Simmons. Like Kurtis, Spicer recorded singles for the famed Mercury Records after independent success early on. Later in Spicer’s career, his 1985 Def Jam single “This Is It” and its B-side “Beat The Clock,” were produced by Rick Rubin. As recently as this decade, Spicer remained active. In 2010, he dropped a music video to “Money” sequel, “$ Can’t Buy Luv.”
Last year, Spicer was diagnosed with advanced cancer. “I have been diagnosed with advanced cancer,” Spicer revealed in a statement that coincided with a crowd-sourcing effort to aid with medical expenses. “I have a tumor in my lung and a tumor in my brain. I am currently undergoing radiation therapy for the tumor in my brain. I now need chemotherapy for the tumor in my lung.” According to Video Music Box‘s Ralph McDaniels, Spicer’s family will provide information on how fans and friends can help with this Rap pioneer’s funeral.
Ambrosia For Heads extends condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Jimmy Spicer.
Additional Reporting by Jordan Commandeur.