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Digital Underground frontman Shock G dead at 57

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Florida confirmed to NBC News that Shock G, whose real name was Gregory Jacobs, was found dead in a hotel room in Tampa on Thursday.
Image: Shock G of Digital Underground
Rapper Shock G of Digital Underground performs at the Regal Theater in Chicago in 1992.Raymond Boyd / Getty Images

Shock G, the frontman for the hip-hop group Digital Underground, has died at age 57, authorities said.

Two spokespeople with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Florida confirmed to NBC News that Shock G, whose real name was Gregory Jacobs, was found dead in a hotel room in Tampa on Thursday afternoon. While a cause of death remains under investigation, the agency said no foul play was suspected.

Shock G, who poured his creativity not only into his music but also into his cast of animated alter egos, cemented his place in hip-hop history in 1990 with the group's Billboard Top 10 hit “The Humpty Dance." In the accompanying music video, he appeared as his Humpty Hump alter ego, donning thick black glasses attached to a massive fake nose.

Shock G often resurfaced Humpty Hump, for a time maintaining that the character was a separate person.

Fans were also captivated by another hit on "Sex Packet," Digital Underground's debut album that included "Humpty Dance." "Doowutchyalike," which was initially released in 1989, peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard rap chart in 1990.

A year later, the group introduced the world to Tupac Shakur, who was working as a dancer and roadie for the group before his vocals were featured in "Same Song" on the "This is an EP Release" EP.

Shock G co-produced the rapper's debut album "2Pacalypse Now" in 1991, and appeared in 1993's "I Get Around," the single that solidified Shakur's fame.

Meanwhile, Digital Underground's second full-length album, "Sons of the P," in 1991 was less successful. The group's most recent album was a live recording, released in 2008.

Shock G remained an influential producer, working with Dr. Dre, Prince, Bobby Brown and others, and recording and touring with muse George Clinton.

Tributes for Shock G poured into social media late Thursday and early Friday, some lamenting a rough month for hip-hop with the deaths of rappers DMX and Black Rob, who also were in their 50s.

Chopmaster J remembered his group member in an Instagram post.

"34 years ago almost to the day we had a wild idea we can be a hip hop band and take on the world through it all the dream became a reality and the reality became a nightmare for some," he wrote. "And now he’s awaken from the fame long live shock G Aka Humpty Hump and Rest In Peace my Brotha Greg Jacobs!!!"

On Twitter, actor and rapper Ice Cube wrote: "RIP Shock-G/Humpty Hump. I remember when NWA’s road manager Atron said he had a group called Digital Underground. He played DOWHATCHALIKE video & I went crazy. I had to sample DU on JACKIN FOR BEATS and WHO’S THE MACK. And nobody had a better stage show. A true Bay Area original."

"Oh No, Not Shock G (and his alter ego Humpty Hump). He helped keep P Funk Alive!," funk bassist and musician Bootsy Collins said in a Twitter post.

The Twitter account from the Shakur estate tweeted: “I look back [on my times with Shock G] with the greatest fondness. Those were like some of the best times of my life."