The story behind his iconic Zorro hat

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Hip-hop just lost another figure this year with the death of Whodini’s John “Ecstasy” Fletcher. Tributes are pouring in for the rapper who died at 56.

As a member of the pioneering group that presented the iconic songs “One Love”, “Friends” and “Freaks Come Out at Night” to audiences around the world, Ecstasy made their debut wearing a Zorro mark in the music videos. , photos and on stage.

This is one of the ways fans identified him out of the trio which included DJ Grandmaster Dee and Jalil Hutchins. A gifted storyteller, he explained how the hat was part of his look.

Whodini at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois, October 20, 1984 | Paul Natkin / Getty Images

Whodini honored for his role in hip-hop

The Brooklyn Whodini launched in the ’80s not long after Run-DMC hit the scene with their beats produced by Larry Smith. Whodini’s self-titled debut album dropped in 1983 and the band’s second album in 1984, Escape, went to platinum.

Throughout the ’80s and’ 90s, they toured, released albums, and solidified as legends. Their music has been sampled by Nas, Tupac, Scarface and many more.

Ecstasy and his band mates are considered pioneers when it comes to video and sound, and in 2007 they were celebrated at VH1’s Hip Hop Honors for their contributions to hip-hop culture. And in 2018, they received an Icon Award from the Black Music Honors.

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Ecstasy’s Zorro hat was a symbol for Whodini

Hip-hop and fashion have always crossed paths and for Whodini, the Zorro hat was part of their signature. In an interview with DRES the Beatnik for Hip Hop 40 Live, Ecstasy explained the origins of his helmet. He said that in finding a style they wanted something that would help people immediately identify the group.

“Me and my twin Dynasty brother were walking down Brooklyn Street on Myrtle Avenue, and we saw this hat in the window,” he said.

“It was just kind of a wool gaucho, and I said, ‘You know what? This hat is beautiful, but it would be better if it was made of leather. So we bought the hat and I took it to a hat maker and asked him to make it for me out of leather, ”Ecstasy recalls.

He also had shorts and other matching clothes made which were all the rage in the 80s. He shared that it was all part of the Whodini brand apart from other groups so that people could easily recognize them. “And it worked!” Says ecstasy.

During a 2013 interview with AL.com, Hutchins spoke about Ecstasy’s range of hats and how many hats he would bring on tour. Of course, they were in many colors, but he had a favorite.

“He would bring them one or two at a time. He had them in red; had them in white; two in black, one with an African helmet on it. He had different ones, but the original was his favorite. You’ve seen that one a lot, ”he said.

Artists such as Nas, Ice Cube, Chuck D and Jermaine Dupri have all expressed their condolences for the late rapper who will be remembered as one of the pioneers of hip-hop.

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