R&B singer Clarence Reid, who doubles as the masked purveyor of sexually explicit songs Blowfly, revealed Tuesday that he is suffering from terminal liver cancer and multiple organ failure. Reid was admitted into hospice care Tuesday, the singer’s official Facebook told fans.
“Thank you so much to everyone who saved his house in 2014 and kept his last days comfortable,” Blowfly’s collaborator and drummer “Uncle” Tom Bowker wrote. “As a reward for that good deed, Blowfly has gifted us a final album, entitled 77 Rusty Trombones, which comes out in February. It is easily his best album since the early Eighties, and a fitting epitaph for one of the great performers of all time.”
Bowker asked fans to send “cards/letters/photos/art” to Reid at the hospice facility. “Clarence has always been a visual person and photos/art would be most appreciated,” Bowker wrote, adding, “Clarence also was interested in having a full list of every sample that’s been done on songs he wrote and performed. If you’re up for taking a run at that, you may message me here on this page.” The oft-sampled Blowfy didn’t receive much royalties from his sampled work, although artists like Ice Cube and the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA personally gave Blowfly checks after using the rapper’s music.
Reid penned tracks for KC & The Sunshine Band, Sam & Dave and Bobby Byrd before giving birth to Blowfly, his outlet for performing comedic, explicit songs that over the years traversed the genres of soul, R&B and hip-hop; Blowfly is considered one of the earliest rappers. His debut The Weird Wild World of Blowfly was released in 1971, and Reid’s alter ego has released upwards of 25 albums since then with titles like Porno Freak, Blowfly and the Temple of Doom and Fahrenheit 69.
Although never a top seller, Blowfly influenced many hip-hop stars (“Blowfly is a legend,” Snoop Dogg told Nardwuar) and maintained a fervent fan base, one that helped raise the necessary funds for the singer when his house was in danger of foreclosure in 2014.
“Please know that Clarence is being made comfortable and that his sister Virginia has stood tall for him, and taken care of her brother as best as humanly possible,” Bowker wrote. “Please say a prayer for her and for Clarence Reid, the Maestro of the Miami Sound who loved being Blowfly – the King of the Freaks.”