TAMPA, Fla. - The death of Shock G left an emotional mark in the hip-hop world as fans and musicians alike shared tributes of the Digital Underground leader who grew up in Tampa.
Shock G, whose name is Gregory Jacobs, was found dead at the age of 57 in a hotel room in Tampa on Thursday. There was no word yet on the name of the hotel.
Jacobs was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. but moved to Tampa later on.
He attended Greco Junior High School, Chamberlain High School – where he dropped out – and resumed his education at Hillsborough Community College.
Orlando Davis interviewing Shock G in Tampa, 2007
WILD 94.1 DJ Orlando Davis spent a day with the rapper back in 2007 in Tampa – he says it was evident he never forgot Tampa.
"He was a Tampa kid, and you know, a Chamberlain High School product, Greco Middle School," Davis said. "I mean, he bounced back in forth with divorce, between New York and Tampa, but as you see in the 90s, when you talk NWA and Public Enemy and artists like that; he was able to hit with "Do What You Like" as a party record and it kind of speaks to Tampa."
Shock G performs in Tampa in2007 (Orlando Davis)
Jacobs was also a successful music producer, working with Tupac, Bobby Brown and Prince.
"He was an incredible musician, and I will say that it’s going to be missed, because you don’t really have that kind of musicality and fun in hip hop now," Davis said.
Nzazi Malonga, a longtime friend who served as head of security and helped manage the group, said the rapper-producer was found unresponsive inside the Tampa hotel room. Malonga said the performer, born Greg Jacobs, had struggled with drug addiction for years.
Digital Underground, group portrait, at Berlin Hip Hop festival, Germany, 1989. (Photo by Rico D'Rozario/Redferns)
The group found fame with the Billboard Top 10 hit "Humpty Dance" in 1990, as Jacobs donned a Groucho Marx-style fake nose and glasses to become one of his many alter egos, Humpty Hump.
He initially maintained the flamboyant Humpty was a separate person, doing in-character interviews and sometimes having his brother Kent Racker play the part.
Big Boi, Chuck D, Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes were among those posting online tributes to Jacobs, with many expressing pain after the deaths earlier in the month of rappers DMX and Black Rob.
ATLANTA - OCTOBER 02: Shock G of Digital Underground performs during the BET Hip Hop Awards '10 at Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center on October 2, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
"Our brother Shock G was a GIANT. There’s not one aspect of what we do musically that this man has not influenced," wrote Talib Kweli.
Malonga said Jacobs had lived with him in the Los Angeles area for several years to get sober in the early 2000s, but had relapsed and been recently living with family in Florida.
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY--APRIL 10: Shock G (aka Gregory Jacobs; Humpty Hump) and Rap Group Digital Underground performs at Newark Symphony Hall on April 10, 1990 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives)
There is no word yet on the cause of his death. Jacobs’ father, Edward Racker, told TMZ there were no signs of trauma and an autopsy will be conducted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report