76-Year-Old Clarence "Blowfly" Reid Is Cancer's Latest Victim

Posted by Billyjam, January 17, 2016 06:50pm | Post a Comment

Yet another lost to cancer! Today Clarence Reid, the man known to music fans as Blowfly (aka the original dirty rapper), passed away from terminal liver cancer and multiple organ failure. He had been diagnosed a few years ago but not too many people knew about it until this past week when his musical collaborator Tom Bowker announced how Reid had just entered hospice care in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida and that he was not expected to survive much longer in his battle against cancer.

Again today it was Bowker, via social media, who announced Blowfly's death, writing how "Clarence Reid, the genius known both by his given name and as Blowfly, the Master of Class, passed peacefully today, January 17th, in his hospice room."  In his original message to the late artist's fans, he thanked those who in 2014 had rallied their financial support and helped save Blowfly from losing his house and by so doing "kept his last days comfortable." He also noted how Blowfly had been making one final album ("his best album since the early 80s") that he called "a fitting epitaph for one of the great performers of all time." Entitled 77 Rusty Trombones, it is scheduled to be released next month and will be the artist's follow-up to 2012's Black In The Sack.

The 76-year-old Blowfly's career dates back five decades as artist, writer, and producer. He was performing up until he could no longer do so. I saw him perform as recently as November 2013 in NYC when, on tour at age 74, he was enthusiastically belting out his trademark nasty raps. As a recording artist, who released about 30 albums, including The Twisted World of Blowfly, his sexually explicit raunchy tales (including "Rapp Dirty" and "Blowfly's Rapp") won him a rep as a pioneer of nasty rap. His numerous fans included the next generation of rappers and producers coming up, including Snoop Doggy Dogg, DJ Quik, and not surprisingly Too $hort who regularly credits Blowfly as one of his key early influences. That influence clearly expanded beyond musical into marketing too. Just as Blowfly's aforementioned "Rapp" records' label carried the subtitle "Restricted From Airplay - X-Rated" (so too for some of his early 75 Girls releases), similarly Too $hort would label his music as "Dirty Rapps," utilizing their explicit content as a way to market them.

As well as an artist, Blowfly was a producer and writer, working behind the scenes for other artists such as Sam & Dave, Gwen McCrae, Betty Wright, Bobby Byrd, KC & the Sunshine Band, and Jimmy "Bo" Horne. Rest in peace Blowfly!

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