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Ras G (1979–2019), hip hop musician and producer

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Known for instrumental, Afrofuturist beats that blended genres

Ras G was a hip hop musician and producer known for his instrumental, Afrofuturist music, focusing on beats as he blended genres including hip hop, funk, jazz, and psychedelia. Born Gregory Shorter Jr., Ras G was an important part of Los Angeles’ Beat scene and a co-founder of Brainfeeder Records. He released records as a solo act as well as with the Afrikan Space Program. His records include “Ghetto Sci-Fi” (2008), “Brotha From Anotha Planet” (2009), and “Back on the Planet” (2013).

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Died: July 29, 2019 (Who else died on July 29?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 39 after announcing in December 2018 that he had diabetes and pneumonia.

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Influential: Ras G took inspiration from pioneers of Afrofuturism like Sun Ra, and in turn he was influential on a new generation of hip hop artists. Among the best known records to come out of the scene Ras G helped build was Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy-winning “To Pimp a Butterfly.”

Notable quote: “I don’t know, it’s the feeling I’m just channeling. I don’t know how I’m making this music per se. I never went to a music school, I never knew what you need to know for music, all I know is the feeling of music and how it should be. I just utilize that with intuition. Out of body experience, spirit controlling the flesh.” —from a 2015 interview with The Hundreds

What people said about him: “We lost an LA legend. Ras G was the beat scene’s answer to Sun Ra. His music was an attempt to commune with the constellations, the Afrocentric direct from Alpha Centauri. I can’t count the number of times I saw him melt minds and speakers. RIP” —writer Max Bell

“To know Ras G was to love the man. Endless gifted and intelligent, as he was kind and gentle. His passing is a tremendous loss that cannot be understated. He was brilliant, thoughtful, and a true friend. I’m thankful to have known him.” —producer Daddy Kev

“Wishing Ras G a peaceful voyage to the ultimate Space Base in the cosmos. Ras was one of the most prolific and influential producers of the LA beat scene and showed us what true artistry and authenticity really is. Our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fans.” —Fat Beats Records

Full obituary: Los Angeles Times

Related lives:

  • Sun Ra (1914–1993), experimental jazz musician
  • Nipsey Hussle (1985–2019), Grammy-nominated rapper
  • Mac Miller (1992–2018), popular rapper and singer