Legendary jazz musician/composer James Mtume passed away on Sunday (January 9), just six days after his 76th birthday. The Philadelphia native rose to notoriety working with fellow jazz impresario Miles Davis between 1971 and 1975 and released a series of well-received albums throughout his career.

The biological son of jazz saxophone legend Jimmy Heath of The Heath Brothers, Mtume is the mastermind behind the 1983 hit single “Juicy Fruit” with his band Mtume, which was the blueprint for Biggie’s 1994 classic “Juicy.

Serving as the title track from the Juicy Fruit album, the song wound up being sampled by numerous Hip Hop artists, including U.T.F.O., Warren G, Stetsasonic, Fat Joe, Lil Kim, Snoop Dogg and Common.

While Mtume hadn’t released a studio album since 1986’s Theater of the Mind, a compilation album called Prime Time: The Epic Anthology arrived in 2017. In the meantime, Mtume became a radio personality for New York City’s KISS 98.7 FM. In 2019, he gave a TED Talk titled “Our Common Ground in Music.”

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James Mtume celebrated his birthday on January 3 and marked the occasion on Instagram with a series of throwback photos. He wrote he was “Feeling amazing and surrounded by family” in the caption, suggesting his passing was unexpected (no cause of death has been disclosed as of publication time).

Par for the course, the music community is coming out in droves to express their condolences. DJ Premier, Questlove, Public Enemy’s Chuck D, Naughty By Nature’s Vin Rock and Parliament-Funkadelic legend Bootsy Collins were among the many paying tribute online.

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“Another legendary Boss we just lost,” Collins wrote. “Mr. James Mtume, was an American jazz and R&B musician, songwriter, record producer, activist, and radio personality. He came to prominence with “Juicy Fruit” & a top-5 R&B hit single “You, Me & He. Join me in sending Prayers to his Family & Friends. (He Changed frequencies today 1-9-22). Ur musical contributions will live forever. R.I.P. our dear musical Brother…Bootsy baby.”

HipHopDX sends our condolences to the Mtume family.