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John “Ecstasy” Fletcher (1964–2020), rapper with influential group Whodini

by Linnea Crowther

John Fletcher was a rapper with the influential early rap group Whodini, who went by the name Ecstasy.

Whodini

Fletcher formed Whodini in the early 1980s with Jalil Hutchins, joining the growing hip-hop scene in New York City. They were one of the first hip-hop groups to receive a nationwide following, thanks to early singles including “Magic’s Wand,” the first rap song with a video. Fletcher became known for his melodic rapping style, rapping in pitch with the music, as well as for his trademark flat-brimmed hat. As Whodini’s profile grew, they added DJ Grandmaster Dee and released singles including “Friends,” “Five Minutes of Funk,” and “Freaks Come Out at Night.” Their music was later widely sampled, and even after releasing their last album in 1996, Whodini continued to tour together for years. They were honored with the Hip-Hop Icon Award at the Black Music Honors in 2018.

Notable quote

“I can’t sing. But I heard somebody rap one day and I said to myself, ‘I can do that.’ I rap in pitch. I try to be unique. I have my own style.” —from a 1987 interview with the Los Angeles Times

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Tributes to John “Ecstasy” Fletcher

Full obituary: The New York Times

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