Bootsy Collins celebrated Gregory Jacobs — the Digital Underground rapper-producer better known as Shock G and Humpty Hump — in a tribute shared with Rolling Stone following the musician’s death Thursday at the age of 57.
Collins and Parliament-Funkadelic were a tremendous influence on Shock G, who sampled funk’s elder statesmen religiously and took a nod from them too with his penchant for various costumes and characters. He was such a fan that, as Bootsy recalls in his tribute, when Shock G got the chance, he drove all the way from San Francisco to Collins’ home in Cincinnati “just to vibe and record on my new ADAT machines back in the Nineties.”
“This is when I started to realize he was not just a rapper, he was a musician as well,” Bootsy says. “He studied P-Funk music, George [Clinton] & my different personalities, like Bootzilla, Casper, Dr. Funkenstein & so many others. He took what we had been doing & made it fresh for that new era. U can really hear the similarity of his & my vocals on, ‘Humpty Hump,’ that is when I realized how cool my voice must have sounded to my Geepie’s & Funkateers.”
To that end, Bootsy noted how different Shock G and Digital Underground were from the gangsta rap that was dominating hip-hop at the time. “This guy was just as silly as me, and just as serious as life that lives in the liver,” Bootsy said. “He had a cartoon mind. He was straight out of Hollywood Squares, and if you heard any noise it was him and his boyz ‘DU.’ He wanted you all to have fun, while he hosted and toasted the Party.”
Bootsy ended his note by saying, “Yes, Shock G will be missed because he did Shock the World. Prayers going out to his precious family & friends. We love u lil brother.”
Shock G was found dead in a hotel room in Tampa, Florida Thursday, April 22nd. A cause of death remains unknown. Following Jacobs’ death, a slew of artists took to social media to salute the pioneering musician.
“I remember when NWA’s road manager Atron [Gregory] said he had a group called Digital Underground,” Ice Cube wrote on Twitter. “He played DOWHATCHALIKE video & I went crazy. I had to sample [Digital Underground] on JACKIN FOR BEATS and WHO’S THE MACK. And nobody had a better stage show. A true Bay Area original.”
“The Underground lit up the game,” MC Hammer wrote. “Super talent. Beautiful musician. Incredible vision.”