Dot-A-Rock, born Darryl Mason, of the pioneering hip-hop group the Fantastic Five has died, reports HipHopGods.com. Hit cause of death has not yet been made public.
Mason played a role in hip-hop’s earliest days as a member of the Bronx groups the Mighty Force crew, The Cold Crush Brothers and the Fantastic Five, also known as the Fantastic Freaks or the Fantastic Romantic 5 MCs, performing with Grandwizard Theodore.
The Fantastic Five were best known for their 1982 single “Can I Get a Soul Clap” and appeared in the film Wild Style.
In a 2002 interview with the website Davey D’s Hip Hop Center, Mason described his role in the crew as “the writer” and “the storyteller, with fast rhymes.”
When asked about hip-hop then, he said, “Hip Hop is Hip Hop but it’s not Hip Hop from before, it’s more practiced, more gangster, it’s more record. It’s not enough imagination. I think the gangster took a lot out of Hip Hop. I enjoy some of the records now but that’s all it is: records. It’s not an art anymore. I hear brothers freestyle and say the same thing like the next man talking about he goin’ to pull out his glock. Blazy blah what he goin’ to do on the block. Anybody can do that. But he’s just promoting violence. I don’t see anything party about that. There’s no skill there. If you don’t have a dope beat behind what you’re saying it don’t mean shit because no one’s going to buy it. The majority of it is gangster and I am getting tired of it. I think it is killing Hip Hop. I never talked about killing in my rhymes. In fact no one did in those days.”
Public Enemy‘s Chuck D was among Dot-A-Rock’s fans to offer condolences online:
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) February 5, 2015