U.T.F.O. Member Kangol Kid Has Passed Away
Kangol Kid, a co-founding member and front-man of Brooklyn, New York Hip-Hop group U.T.F.O. died early this morning (December 18). The artist born Shiller Shaun Fequiere had been battling stage 4 colon cancer since a diagnosis early this year. HipHopDX is among the outlets that confirmed the news after speaking with parties close to Kangol Kid and U.T.F.O. The tragic passing comes less than five years after another group member, The Educated Rapper, also died from a similar diagnosis.
Fequiere was among the first Haitian-American Hip-Hop stars. Before his own group gained attention in the mid-1980s, Kangol Kid was a B-Boy. As a dancer for Full Force, he lent his physical talents to another New York City crew, Whodini. Kangol Kid appeared in Whodini’s “Freaks Come Out At Night” music video. In the months and years that followed, Fequiere and his Keystone Dancers cohort Doctor Ice (Fred Reeves) formed U.T.F.O. with The Educated Rapper, and Mixmaster Ice. The group adjusted their name after first performing as “U.F.O.” They have been credited as the first Hip-Hop group to perform at the famed Apollo Theater. On television, the crew was featured on Soul Train as well as Phil Donahue’s afternoon talk show, ambassadors of Hip-Hop culture and Rap music.
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In 1984, Full Force produced U.T.F.O.’s B-side “Roxanne, Roxanne.” The song would later prompt a reply from Roxanne Shanté, a 14-year-old MC in nearby Queens, New York who assumed the character and responded to the quartet with a diss. That exchange would fast expand into “The Roxanne Wars,” one of Hip-Hop’s first series of diss songs laid to wax, involving other performers, including The Real Roxanne—which U.T.F.O. staked and Full Force produced.
U.T.F.O.’s ascent continued. They signed to Select Records, releasing four Top 200-charting 1980s LPs before moving to RCA/Jive in the next decade. “Roxanne Roxanne” remained their biggest and most noteworthy hit. In 2007, Doctor Ice and Kangol Kid appeared on the “80s Remix” to Nas’ “Where Are They Now,” getting jabs in at the fictional Roxanne 20-plus years later.
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In late March, Fequiere reportedly had 10 centimeters of his colon removed in surgery. He spoke at length to Sway’s Universe about his condition and recovery with optimism.
However, in recent months, it was reported that Kangol Kid had was in far more serious condition as he was hospitalized. Weeks ago, LL Cool J was among those who visited his peer at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York.
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Ambrosia For Heads extends condolences to U.T.F.O., Full Force, and the family, friends, and fans of Kangol Kid.
#BonusBeat: With word of Kangol Kid’s condition, Ambrosia For Heads‘ What’s The Headline podcast recently spoke of his impact and importance (at 1:33:00):