One of the initial contributors to hip hop culture’s early commercial success became an ancestor this weekend. U.T.F.O.’s Kangol Kid, 55, was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in February, and courageously battled the ailment, until passing peacefully at a Manhasset, N.Y. hospital Saturday, Dec. 18, around 3 a.m., according to his publicist, Lion Lindwedel.

“The new look for hip hop and cancer is to go get yourself checked out before it happens,” he urged during an interview with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, earlier this year.

Shaun Shiller Fequiere was a Haitian American born in Brooklyn Aug. 10, 1966, and raised in East Flatbush. His father, Andre, drove taxi cabs, while his mother, Jean, worked as a housekeeper.

He took on his name after his popular headwear and wound up receiving a lifetime sponsorship from the company. Before MC-ing, he and fellow UTFO [UnTouchable Force Organization] member, Doctor Ice, initially embraced another of hip hop’s elements, B-Boying. They performed as the ‘Keystone Dancers,’ touring with fellow Brooklynite hip hop trio, Whodini. The Educated Rapper and the D.J. Mix Master Ice comprised the quartet.

“We don’t want to be labeled as a rap group,” he explained in a 1985 Washington Post interview. “We want to be labeled as a group that can rap.”

UTFO also performed on “The Phil Donahue Show” in 1984, exposing hip hop to a mainstream audience. In 1985, they were one of the first hip hop acts to perform at the Apollo Theater, and also did the Fresh Fest @MSG. They helped popularize the urban music genre to millions during a time when it received airplay on major radio stations only on Friday and Saturday nights.

“She wouldn’t give a guy like me no rap. She was walking down the street so I said, ‘Hello I’m Kangol from UTFO.’ And she said ‘So?’ And I said ‘So? Baby don’t you know? I can sing, rap and dance in just one show, cause I’m Kangol, Mr. Sophisticator. As far as I’m concerned, ain’t nobody greater,’” he rhymed.

His verse kicked off their influential 1984 classic track “Roxanne, Roxanne,” which sparked over two-dozen response tracks and the legendary rap-rivalries gave life to careers for several female MCs, mainly Marley Marl’s protégé, Roxanne Shante’s “Roxanne’s Revenge.” Both tracks made Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Hip Hop Songs of All Time list.

It sold several hundred-thousand copies and reached No. 10 on Billboard’s R&B singles chart, and No. 77 on their Hot 100.

“The Real Roxanne” by the Real Roxanne, was another popular answer-track, with both acts often performing on the same shows. 

“When you think of hip hop, hip hop is a sport,” Kangol told AllHipHopTV in 2017. “A lot of breakdance is battle, rap is battle, DJs battle, but we were the first to battle on wax.”

The innovative MC explained his creativity in the book, “The Rap Attack” (1985): “Another new thing is Z-rap. It’d be like a code language. I would talk to him and his name’s Doctor Ice. I would say, ‘Dizoctor Izice. Yizo hizo bizoy wizon’t youza kizoy mesover herezere?’ — that’s just saying, ‘Yo, homeboy, why don’t you come over here?’ and what I did is make a rap out of that language.” 

They released their debut album “UTFO” in 1985, and four more albums followed.

In later years, Kangol Kid produced and wrote for other artists, including the group Whistle, also did voiceovers, and penned columns in Black Beat Magazine and AllHiphop.com.

As co-founder of the Mama Luke Foundation, he supported cancer charities, and was honored in 2012 by the American Cancer Society.

He’s survived by his parents; brothers, Joel, Andy and Alix; three sons, T.Shaun, Andre and Giovanni; a daughter, Amancia; and seven grandchildren.

Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J and The Roots’ ?uestlove were among the many who expressed condolences on social media.

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