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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Kangol Kid, one of the first rappers to look for Roxanne, dies at 55

In David Tup’s important book on the history of early rap, The Rap Attack (1985), Kangol Kid explained one of his lyrical innovations: “Another novelty is Z-rap. It would be like a code language. I’ll talk to him and his name is Doctor Ice. I would say: “Disoctor Izice. Youzo hizo bizoi, aren’t you kizo meso over erezere? – it just says, “Hey buddy, why don’t you come here?” and what I did was rap in that language. ” This was the style he adopted in Roxane, Roxanne, and he anticipated the later linguistic zigzags of E-40, Snoop Dogg and others.

In 1985, UTFO released their debut album, simply titled UTFO, which continued the Roxanne saga with Calling Her a Crab. In a 1985 concert review, John Pareles of The New York Times praised the band for their “syncopated, overlapping tongue twister” and “Spitfire.”

UTFO released four more albums and became popular enough for their own spot on the Fresh Fest tour, a road show that was indicative of the growing popularity of hip-hop at the time. In 1985, UTFO performed at the Apollo Theater, considered the first for a rap group. In 1987 they began collaborating with the heavy metal band Anthrax.

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After UTFO was in the spotlight, Kangol Kid wrote and produced other artists, including Whistle and baseball star Darryl Strawberry, who recorded a new rap song, “Chocolate Strawberry.” He has voiced and written advice in the music industry, first for Black Beat magazine and then for AllHiphop.com.

Over the past decade, Kangol Kid has been active in cancer charities. In 2012, he was recognized by the American Cancer Society for his fundraising efforts as co-founder of the Mama Luke Foundation. In February, he was diagnosed with colon cancer.

His parents survived; three brothers, Joel, Andy and Alix (all have their names marked on UTFO “Lisa Lips”); three sons, T. Chaun, Andre and Giovanni; daughter Amancia; and seven grandchildren.

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