Known by Hip Hop fans for his 1983 “Buffalo Gals,” British vocalist Malcolm McLaren died today (April 8). He was 64 years old, and believed to have been recently diagnosed with Cancer. According to the BBC‘s report, family members are “devastated.” The ’70s and ’80s icon died in New York, but will reportedly be returned to his native England for funeral services.
McLaren was instrumental to bringing Hip Hop music and culture to the United Kingdom. The former manager of both The Sex Pistols and The New York Dolls, McLaren was a notable bridge (along with Afrika Bambaataa) to the shared Downtown New York scene between Hop Hop and Punk in the early ’80s.
The album which “Buffalo Gals” appears on, 1983’s Duck Rock, featured McLaren’s most notably Hip Hop experimentation, as well as keyboard playing from ’80s star Thomas Dolby. Fifteen years later, McLaren joined Virgin Records in releasing a project dedicated to his “Buffalo Gals” song. The maxi-single/compilation featured KRS-One and others.
Between “Double Dutch” and “Buffalo Gals,” McLaren has been sampled on hits by Mariah Carey (“Honey [Bad Boy Remix]”), Kam (“Whoop, Whoop”) and Eminem (“Without Me”). The original song, which features scratching and emcee-like ad-libs, is remembered as one of the only Hip Hop songs that incorporated Square Dance elements.
McLaren is survived by a son, Joseph Corre.
Read the BBC‘s comprehensive coverage of Malcolm McLaren’s contributions to music, and family reactions.