Famed R&B singer Clarence Reid, who was also known as the rapper Blowfly, died Sunday at age 76. Reid’s death comes after news he was battling terminal liver cancer and multiple organ failure. He was admitted to a South Florida hospice earlier this month. His friends and collaborators confirmed the news in a series of Facebook posts.
“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,” his drummer Tom Bowker wrote. “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.”
Reid was best known as Blowfly, his sexually explicit alter-ego, and put out his first collection of “party records” under that name in 1971 — The Weird World of Blowfly. He went on to put out 25 Blowfly records, with titles like Porno Freak and Blowfly and the Temple of Doom and Fahrenheit 69. But under his own name, he released three albums including 1976’s Dancin’ With Nobody But You Babe and wrote songs for artists like KC and the Sunshine Band, Sam & Dave, and Bobby Byrd.
His life was chronicled in Jonathan Furmanski’s 2010 documentary The Weird World of Blowfly.
After Reid’s death, his label Saustex released tracks from Blowfly’s final album, 77 Rusty Trombones, directly to SoundCloud. The full collection is due out Feb. 19.
“He laid the foundation for hip-hop with ‘Shake Your Ass’ and ‘Rap Dirty,'” Bowker told Rolling Stone after his death, “and taught everyone that their dick could fly.”