Robert "Bobby Digital" Dixon, one of dancehall/reggae's most successful music producers, died on Thursday at age 59. He reportedly succumbed to a kidney-related illness after he had gone to do his weekly dialysis treatment at the hospital.
Reports are that Dixon began to feel ill and was eventually admitted and later died.
Reggae music has been plunged into mourning at the untimely passing of a man, widely regarded as a titan whose distinctive style defined the computerized era of dancehall like no other. Dixon owned the Digital B label which produced seminal dancehall greats like Shabba Ranks and Sizzla.
"He was one of the greatest producers ever in dancehall and reggae music. He was a great colleague, and a great friend, and one of the most brilliant minds in reggae music. He was the one who brought Shabba Ranks to the world, and he started off Garnet Silk too. Bobby just had a distinctive feel for the music, a brilliant mind, and he was truly one of reggae's greats. He will be missed
Sad times where we say good bye to a Uk HipHop legend and a friend of mine from Brixton area (Myatts fields ) Ben aka TY
In 1995, he co-founded Ghetto Grammar, a pioneer in hip hop education in the UK. Ty's first album, Awkward, was released on the Big Dada imprint in 2001. His second album, Upwards, was released in 2003 and reached No.35 in the UK Independent album charts. The single from it, "Oh U Want More?", reached No.65 in the UK Top 100. Upwards was nominated for a Mercury Prize in 2004, only to lose to Franz Ferdinand's eponymous album. His third album, Closer, was released in 2006. and featured guest appearances from De La Soul, Speech, Bahamadia and Zion I, among others.
He left the Big Dada label in 2007, saying "there's a time when you ... acknowledge that the people either have lost faith in what you're doing or are no longer interested in what you're doing" and experimented with spoken word for a period. He returned in 2010 with the album Special Kind of Fool, released by Barely Breaking Even. The BBC described it as "a mixture of uncompromising rap and populist soulfulness, often playing side-by-side". His final album, A Work of Heart, was released in 2018 on the contemporary jazz label Jazz re:freshed.
R.I.P 17.8.72 - 7.5.20
Legendary music executive Andre Harrell has died aged 59. The news was announced by DJ D Nice, who revealed that Harrell had died while spinning on Instagram Live for his popular Club Quarantine. Sources confirmed Harrell’s passing to Variety. Harrell’s cause of death has not yet been confirmed.
Harrell had been in the music industry for four decades, having started his career as one half of the rap duo Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde. In 1983, he began working with Russell Simmons at Def Jam Records, before he went on to establish Uptown Records, the label that discovered Sean Combs – aka P Diddy. Heading up the record company, Harrell saw huge success in the 80s and 90s after signing both Diddy (then Puff Daddy) and Mary J Blige to his roster.
In 1995, Harrell moved on to Motown Records where he became CEO, working with acts like Boyz II Men and Jodeci. Harrell remained close friends with Combs over the years and appeared in his 2017 documentary, Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story. He also served as the Vice-Chairman of Revolt, Diddy’s multi-platform music network. The mogul was believed to have been working on a three-part mini-series called Uptown, about his label, for BET, on which he is listed as executive producer on IMDB.
As news of Harrell’s death broke, industry figures and musicians shared their shock on social media. Mariah Carey tweeted: ‘Why Andre. My heart is breaking and I can’t stop crying. He was an amazing friend and I will miss him forever.’ Viola Davis wrote: ‘RIP Andre Harrell…thank you for the gift of so many incredible artists. Gone too soon’, and Ava DuVernay tweeted: ‘Saluting Andre Harrell. The architect of so much music, so much culture. Rest now. In power and peace.’
Previously speaking to the Grio, Andre explained why he believed Uptown held the key to so many legendary artists: ‘Like Motown Records, it was a lifestyle label, where the artists not only made songs that resonated with the community but they also had fashion and attitude that people wanted to emulate. And to be that kind of cool that they saw in like a Mary J. Blige video, where she came out with the bubble coat, the Timbo boots, and the ram earrings.’ Harrell is survived by his son Gianni.
Soul singer Betty Wright has died from cancer, according to reports from multiple media outlets.
Wright's family confirmed the death to Essence. She was 66 and died from cancer at her home in Miami, Billboard reported.
Wright had been diagnosed with endometrial cancer in the fall, Steve Greenberg, president of S-Curve Records, told The New York Times.
On May 2, singer Chaka Kahn tweeted that her friend Wright needed prayers. "My beloved sister, Betty Wright, is now in need of all your prays," the tweet said. "In Jesus Name We Pray for Sister Betty."
Wright was known for her song "Clean Up Woman," which became a top five hit, according to the biography posted on her verified Facebook page.
She began singing gospel in a family group, the Echoes of Joy, and released her first album in 1968 at the age of 14 singing "Girls Can't Do What Guys Can Do."
After the dissolution of her previous label she created her own in 1985, Ms. B Records. She made history three years later when she became the first woman to have a gold record on her own label, her biography said.
Her music would be remixed and reworked to become a part of many modern songs such as Mary J. Blige's "Real Love," Sublime's "Get Out!" and Afrika Bambaataa's "Zulu War Chant."
Tributes to the fallen songstress were widespread Sunday with many recalling her gifts for both singing and teaching.
Greenberg had worked with Wright on projects and said she was a great inspiration to upcoming performers.
"She was an incredible writer, producer and mentor to young artists," Greenberg told The New York Times.
Skip Marley tweeted photos of Wright with his late father and with himself saying in part, "Rest in power to a legend, Betty Wright. Our beloved aunty, mentor and vocal coach."