Clarence Reid, R&B Singer Who Performed as Blowfly, Dies at 76

Clarence Reid
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Clarence Reid photographed in 1970. 

Clarence Reid, the R&B singer, songwriter and producer who influenced a generation of hip-hop artists with his Blowfly alter-ego and R-rated songs, has died at the age of 76.

Reid passed away Sunday (Jan. 17) in a hospice facility, according to a post on his Facebook page shared by his friend and drummer Tom Bowker.

Clarence Reid, the genius known both by his given name and as Blowfly, the Master of Class, passed peacefully today,...

Posted by Blowfly on Sunday, 17 January 2016

“Clarence Reid, the genius known both by his given name and as Blowfly, the Master of Class, passed peacefully today, January 17th, in his hospice room,” the post reads.

“His sister Virginia and I thank you for all the love you have shown this week. We also thank you for supporting Clarence’s 50+year music career -- especially these last few years. We love you and will keep you informed on services and tribute performances in Clarence’s honor.”

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Tributes are pouring in for the Miami-based artist, who was better known for his notorious masked Blowfly alter-ego, the so-called "original dirty rapper" who had a knack for reworking the lyrics of songs into works your parents and neighbors would hate. 

The likes of Snoop Dogg, Flea and Ice-T have shared tributes for the late performer on social media. Snoop gave Blowfly a shout-out as the "1st gangster rapper," while Ice-T referred to the late singer and rapper as "the original." 



Reid was born in Georgia and moved to South Florida as a teenager. His Blowfly legend grew in the 1970s with playful but naughty tracks like “Rap Dirty,” “Suck My Dick,” and “Sesame Street" -- which called out profane words for each letter of the alphabet.

He also wrote under his own name for such artists as KC & the Sunshine Band, Betty Wright, and Gwen McCrae.

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He consistently releases Blowfly albums through the decades, with his last LP dropping in 2012. Reid's final album under the Blowfly moniker, titled 77 Rusty Trombones, is scheduled for release in Feb. 2016.


Reid had suffered with terminal liver cancer and had entered hospice care on Tuesday after suffering multiple organ failure, according to reports.