Shock G, off-kilter Digital Underground leader, dead at 57

LOS ANGELES — Shock G, who blended whimsical wordplay with reverence for ’70s funk as leader of the off-kilter hip-hop group Digital Underground, has died. He was 57.

Nzazi Malonga, a longtime friend who served as head of security and helped manage the group, said the rapper-producer was found unresponsive Thursday in a hotel room in Tampa, Florida. Malonga said the performer, born Greg Jacobs, had struggled with drug addiction for years.

The group found fame with the Billboard Top 10 hit “Humpty Dance” in 1990, as Shock G donned a Groucho Marx-style fake nose and glasses to become one of his many alter egos, Humpty Hump. He initially maintained the flamboyant Humpty was a separate person and even did in-character interviews.

Digital Underground’s “Same Song” a year later served as 2Pac’s introduction to music fans, with Shock G handing the baton to the future megastar, who had been working as a roadie for Digital Underground: “2Pac, go ‘head and rock this.”

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