Sad news out of the world of hip hop. Rapper John “Ecstasy” Fletcher of the pioneering rap group Whodini has died. He was 56. Whodini was formed in 1982 and consisted of Fletcher, Jalil Hutchins and DJ Drew “Gandmaster D” Carter. They were the first rap group to add an R&B twist to their music, thus laying the foundation for a new genre, new jack swing. The group made a name for itself with the songs as “Magic’s Wand”, “The Haunted House Of Rock”, “Friends”, “Five Minutes Of Funk” and “Freaks Come Out At Night.” The group issued six albums, four of which were certified platinum and scored more than a dozen Billboard singles. Whodini was among the first rap groups to cultivate a high profile national following for hip hop music and made significant inroads on urban radio. Their accessible songs, clever videos and well regarded concerts made Whodini hip hop royalty, and one of the most iconic groups in the genre’s history. Whodini stopped recording at the turn of the century, but continued to tour from time to time, even as their music has remained a staple for a generation of fans, who will no doubt morn the loss of this pioneering group member at such a young age for some time. Prayers and condolences to his family and may he rest in peace.