Percussionist James Mutum, who was a trailblazer in the jazz and R&B scene, died at the age of 76.
Mtume predominates in alternative jazz, R&B, hip hop and film scoring. He used his talents to connect culture and art with politics.
He died Sunday but the cause of his death is unknown at this time.
“A lot of people didn’t realize that Mtume was very political and clever in various fields,” said Fatiyn Muhammad, host executive producer of the WBLS radio show Open Line.
“I felt like the air came out of the room. Mtume is a special person.”
Mtume is best known for its 1983 juicy fruit, which was sampled in The Notorious Big 1994 on its first official single, Juicy.
Mtume celebrated the song’s 35th anniversary by returning to its hometown of Philadelphia in 2018.
Mtume told The Philadelphia Tribune in 2018, “I would say I have a very special childhood.” Musician James Forman was born in 1946.
His father, James Heath, was the Heath Brothers’ world-famous saxophonist.
However, Mtume was raised by jazz musician James Forman. “He played with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and all the people,” Mtume said.
“So, when I was growing up, maybe one night at dinner, Dizzy Gillespie, the other night, where John Coltrane [or] Thelonious monk.
“I was only 10 years old, so I didn’t know how deep it was, but I knew it was crazy to hear these conversations with these great jazz musicians.”