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Hip-Hop Pioneer ‘Kangol Kid’ Has Died at 55

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Shaun Shiller Fequiere, better known by his stage name Kangol Kid, was a well-known rapper and UTFO member who has died at the age of 55.

T.Shaun Fequiere, the rapper’s son, wrote in an Instagram post confirming his death on Dec. 18: “I just wanna hear you again, another hug, another embarrassing kiss,” The rapper’s death comes after he revealed in February 2021 that he had been diagnosed with colon cancer.

Fequiere was a member of the hip-hop group UTFO, which stood for “UnTouchable Force Organization,” and was a pioneer in the early 1980s in New York City rap. The Brooklyn group was well known for their 1984 hit song “Roxanne, Roxanne,” which they wrote with members Doctor Ice, Mix Master Ice, and Educated Rapper, who all died in 2017. After rapper Roxanne Shante retaliated with her diss track “Roxanne’s Revenge,” the song sparked the “Roxanne Wars,” which resulted in hundreds of other groups making their own singles in response to the song.

“When you think about hip-hop, hip-hop is a sport,” Fequiere said of the historic rap beef to AllHipHopTV in 2017. “A lot of breakdancing, rap, and DJs are battles, but we were the first to battle on wax.”

Fequiere began his career as a breakdancer with fellow UTFO member Doctor Ice before becoming a rapper. Before founding UTFO, the two performed as the Keystone Dancers and then danced for the hip-hop group Whodini. In 1985, Fequiere told The Washington Post, “We don’t want to be classified as a rap group.” “We’d like to be known as a rapping group. We want to be able to accomplish everything. We might record a country song.” In 1984, UTFO performed on The Phil Donahue Show, introducing breakdancing to a larger audience.

The rapper got his name for wearing Kangol hats, a defining accessory in 1980s hip-hop, and ended up earning an endorsement deal with the brand. “It was my thing,” Fequiere opened up in an interview with Hot 97. “The name just stuck. … It was the hat the cool kids wore, and I deemed myself a cool kid by crowning myself with such a hat.” One of Fequiere’s Kangol caps ended up in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture’s collection.

Fequiere spoke frankly about his cancer diagnosis in the months preceding up to his death, asking supporters to be examined. He routinely updated his health status on Instagram and posted images from his hospital bed with hip-hop luminaries such as LL Cool J and fellow UTFO member Doctor Ice. “The new look for hip-hop with cancer is to go get yourself checked out before it happens,” he stated in an interview with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance earlier this year.

Also Read: Betty White’s 100th Birthday Celebration is Coming to Theatres for One-Night Event

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