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Who was John Fletcher aka Ecstasy of Whodini? Questlove mourns death, calls group 'most legendary' in hip hop

The Brooklyn-based hip-hop group, which also consisted of Jalil Hutchins and Grandmaster Dee, were considered one of the pioneers of New jack swing or swingbeat
UPDATED DEC 24, 2020
Grandmaster Dee, Jalil Hutchins, Ecstasy of rap group Whodini (Getty Images)
Grandmaster Dee, Jalil Hutchins, Ecstasy of rap group Whodini (Getty Images)

John Fletcher, the rapper better known as Ecstasy from the 1980s hip-hop group Whodini, who often wore a Zorro hat on stage, has reportedly died. No cause of death has been reported as of yet. Fletcher was 56.

The Brooklyn-based hip-hop group, which also consisted of lyricist Jalil Hutchins and turntable artist DJ Drew Carter aka Grandmaster Dee, were considered one of the pioneers of New jack swing or swingbeat, a fusion genre that mixed rhythms, samples, and production techniques of hip hop and dance-pop with the urban contemporary sound of R&B. The group’s hits include ‘Friends’, ‘Five Minutes of Funk’, and ‘Freaks Come Out at Night’.

The Roots frontman Ahmir Khalib Thompson, known professionally as Questlove, expressed his grief about the death of Fletcher. He wrote on Instagram, “One Love to Ecstasy of the Legendary #Whodini. This man was legendary and a pivotal member of one of the most legendary groups in hip hop. This is sad man.” Jermaine Dupri, who was a breakdancer for Whodini and signed the group to So So Def/Columbia in 1996, also mourned the rap icon. “My God, this one hurts me so bad, I can’t even believe I’m posting this,” he tweeted. “Ex you know I love you. thank you for every word, every conversation every good time, may your soul Rest In Power.” Rapper Kamaal Ibn John Fareed, better known by his stage name Q-Tip, mourned on Twitter: “RIP to Ecstasy from Whodini. one of the most under-appreciated voices in hip hop. Too many hits! Condolences to his fam.”




Fletcher formed Whodini with Jalil Hutchins in Brooklyn, New York, in 1982. Whodini's first LP, ‘Magic's Wand’, as per MTV, was a tribute to the New York DJ who fostered the group's early career. The title track was one of the first rap singles to be accompanied by a video. Whodini also became one of the first rap acts to perform with their own dancers. They were contemporaries of other hip hop groups such as Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, Afrika Bambaataa, Run-D.M.C., The Fat Boys, and Warp 9.

Between 1982 and 1986, the group released three albums including their self-titled debut in 1983, ‘Escape’ in 1984 which went platinum, and ‘Back In Black’ in 1986. In 1986, after DJ Grandmaster Dee began working with the group, Whodini issued ‘Growing Up’, an anti-drug video financed by the New York State Division Of Substance Abuse. After a quiet period in the late '80s, Whodini issued 'Bag-A-Trix' in 1991. The following year, the group contributed 'It All Comes Down to Money' to Terminator X's 'The Godfathers of Threat' compilation, which also featured Kool Herc and Cold Crush Brothers.

The group released six studio albums throughout its career. Fourteen singles of the group hit the charts of the American magazine Billboard. Four albums of the group were certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

In 2018, at the 3rd Annual Black Music Honors, Whodini was honored with the Hip Hop Icon Award and a tribute from fellow icons Doug E. Fresh, Yo-Yo, and Monie Love who took the stage to perform their classic hits.