Robert “Chilly B” Crafton III, original member of 1980s electro-rap group, Newcleus, died on Tuesday after suffering a serious stroke. The rapper and bassist passed away in Brooklyn at the age of 47.
Newcleus formed in 1977 in Brooklyn, emerging to introduce a new kind of rap genre, inspired by Afrika Bambaataa’s hit record “Planet Rock.” The group is recognized for integrating electronica music with the newly-developing rap sound.
“Chilly was the musician in the group,” co-founder of Newcleus, Ben Cenac told the New York Times. “We were both self-taught, but he had a more seasoned musicianship in his playing. When he played bass, you knew it was him.”
One of the group’s biggest hits, “Jam On It” has inspired artists like Game, Mos Def, and Will Smith, all who have sampled the classic Hip Hop record.