Wax Poetics magazine reported yesterday that Melvin Bliss is dead. Bliss is best known by Rap listeners for his 1973 song “Synthetic Substitution.” The song was famously sampled by Ultramagnetic MC’s on their hit “Ego Trippin’,” as well as hits such as “Pee Wee’s Dance” by Joeski Love, “Don’t Believe The Hype” by Public Enemy, and by De La Soul’s “Potholes In My Lawn.”
“Sythetic Substiution,” a song sung by Bliss, written and produced by Herb Rooney, featured percussion from iconic drummer Bernard Purdie. Bliss’ vocals, dealing with an age lacking organic and natural elements, proved ahead of its time, as the original seven-inch record remained a staple during Hip Hop’s earliest years.
Throughout his extensive career, Bliss, who was believed to be 75 years old at the time of his death, performed at New York’s Rainbow Room, Plaza Hotel and other venues. The Chicago native was living in New York at the time of his death. He was last interviewed by Wax Poetics for their Issue #42.
Additionally, a documentary on Melvin Bliss’ life, Synthetic Substitution, was in production by Earl Holder and Peripheral Enterprises, and filmed in 2010. A trailer can be seen below featuring interview and commentary from Bliss and his son.