Bushwick Bill — iconic member of the groundbreaking Texas hip-hop group Geto Boys — died last night (June 9th) at the age of 52. The rapper revealed in February that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
"Bushwick Bill passed away peacefully this evening at 9:35 p.m. He was surrounded by his immediate family," the rapper's publicist Dawn P. told Rolling Stone. "There were incorrect previous reports that he had passed away this morning. We are looking into doing a public memorial at a later date. His family appreciates all of the prayers and support and are asking for privacy at this time."
Born Richard Shaw in Jamaica, Bushwick Bill first joined Geto Boys in the late Eighties as the dancer under the name "Little Billy" before he began rapping in the group. He would go on to contribut verses such hits as "Mind Playing Tricks on Me" and "Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta," the latter popularized by the film Office Space. The cover of Geto Boys' classic 1991 album, We Can't Be Stopped, infamously featured a graphic photo of Bill in the hospital after losing an eye after being shot by his girlfriend while he was wasted on PCP and everclear alcohol. According to legend, Bill was declared dead only to wake up in the morgue very much alive. He rapped about the incident on his 1992 solo LP Little Big Man. "I ran and got the gun and came back to her/Loaded it up and handed the gat to her/I grabbed her hand and placed the gun to my eye muscle/She screamed, 'Stop' and then we broke into another tussle/Yo, during the fight, the gun went off quick/Damn! Aw shit, I'm hit."
With verses like the one above, Bushwick Bill — who issued six solo albums, in addition to his releases with Geto Boys — pioneered the "horrorcore" style, which focuses around themes of horror, gore and death, rapping about being a real-life version of Chucky from Child's Play and more. As such, he paved the way for everyone from Insane Clown Posse and Necro to Ghostemane and $uicideboy$. Bill was also beloved by many metalheads and metal bands, including the Deftones, who invited him onstage at SXSW in 2016; you can see video of that performance below, as well as tributes from Ben Weinman (Dillinger Escape Plan, Suicidal Tendencies) and Toxic Holocaust's Joel Grind.
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RIP original Geto Boy Bushwick Bill. Liam and I were working on a tune for him before he past but unfortunately time was not on our side. He was taken by pancreatic cancer but faught hard until the very end. Much love to his family and friends. #bushwickbill #getoboys #legend