Born: August 25, 1963
Birthplace: New York, NY
Died: April 22, 2021
Zodiac Sign: Virgo
Gregory Edward Jacobs aka Shock G and by his alter ego Humpty Hump, was an American rapper and musician who was best known as the lead vocalist of the hip hop group Digital Underground. He was responsible for Digital Underground's "The Humpty Dance", 2Pac's breakthrough single "I Get Around", and co-producer of 2Pac's debut album 2Pacalypse Now.
He spent most of his childhood moving around the East Coast with his family, eventually settling in Tampa, Florida. As a drummer he won the 1978 "Most Talented" trophy at Greco Junior High School, but after relocating to Queens, New York (as a result of his parents' divorce), he traded his drums in for a set of turntables upon discovering and marvelling over hip hop while the art form was still in an underground developmental stage. He was mentored in the craft by his cousin Rene Negron (a.k.a. DJ-Stretch), and their close friend Shawn Trone (a.k.a. MC Shah-T of the parody-rap group No Face) who suggested Greg use the name "Shah-G". Jacobs liked the idea, but mistakenly thought his friend said "Shock-G", and began using that name instead.
After returning to Tampa less than two years later, he dropped out of Chamberlain High School to form the Master Blasters, a mobile DJ crew which featured three DJs and four emcees at its height. They performed at parties, and also for the crowds at Riverfront Park's outdoor Sunday gatherings, eventually capturing the interest of Tony Stone, a program director at WTMP radio, which was the city's primary R&B station. Tony offered Jacobs, who was sixteen at the time, a job DJing on the air, and for a short while, as "Gregory Racker", he was the youngest radio personality in central Florida with a regular time slot. After being fired for playing the fifteen-minute-long album version of "(Not Just) Knee Deep" by Funkadelic in a five-minute time slot, and also after tensions with his father escalated, Jacobs found himself backpacking the United States for a few years, drifting through odd jobs and petty criminal adventures. It was during this excursion that his focus switched from DJing to keyboard playing, and while utilizing piano practice-rooms at music stores and colleges around the country, he effectively taught himself to play the piano.
Deciding to pursue music seriously, he returned home, quickly obtained a diploma, and began attending Hillsborough Community College, where he studied music theory under Jim Burge and piano under Patricia J. Trice. It was there at HCC that he met and formed a bond with Kenneth Waters, and the two began performing together under various names including The Chill Factor, and also The Four Horsemen, which included MC Skoobie-D, and the MD Dazzlin Doc-P who had recently moved to Tampa from the Bronx, hip hop's birthplace. Then in 1985, after two years of producing local artists for hire, playing solo piano gigs around town, performing with Kenny, and being a keyboardist in Warren Allen Brooks' band, Greg and his aspiring-actress girlfriend (Davita Watts) set their sights beyond Tampa, and eloped to Los Angeles in search of greater opportunity. There he played keyboards in Kenny McCloud's pop-funk band Onyx before leaving Los Angeles and finally arriving in the San Francisco Bay Area where he found work in an Oakland music store, and where his group Digital Underground would form a few years later.
Soon after relocating to Oakland, California, Shock G formed Digital Underground along with Chopmaster J, and the late Kenneth Waters (a.k.a. Kenny-K). After around 15 months of unsuccessful negotiations with various small record companies, in 1988 the trio finally released a 12-inch single on Macola Records. It featured "Your Life's a Cartoon" as the A-side and "Underwater Rimes" as the B-side. Both songs were penned, produced, and performed by Jacobs, who also sketched the cartoonish cover illustrations. The record included the logo for Digital Underground's startup label, TNT, as well as Macola's logo. TNT was also founded by Tupac Shakur's management CEO Atron Gregory. In 1989, the group signed with Tommy Boy Records and released "Doowutchyalike", receiving minimal radio airplay but became an underground hit. Its video was more successful, reaching number 40 on the MTV's top 100 videos of the year. "Doowutchyalike" paved the way for Digital Underground's debut album Sex Packets and the highest-charting song of their career "The Humpty Dance" both released in early 1990, and both achieving platinum sales certifications by the RIAA. The latter was rapped by "Humpty Hump," the most flamboyant of Shock G's several alter egos. By that time, Digital Underground had expanded significantly, with DJ Fuze, Money-B, and Schmoovy-Schmoov joining the group, and with Ramone "Pee Wee" Gooden and Tupac Shakur joining by 1991.
In addition to his work with Digital Underground, Shock G found moderate success as a solo artist and music producer. In 1993, Shock G produced Tupac Shakur's breakthrough platinum single "I Get Around" as well as guest starred on the single and music video, and went on to produce Tupac's "So Many Tears" from his multi-platinum 1995 album Me Against the World. Tupac's first published work was while still a member of Digital Underground when he appeared on the 1991 song and video "Same Song", which also appeared in the Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd and Demi Moore film Nothing but Trouble. Shock co-produced Tupac's debut album 2Pacalypse Now. Shock G appeared as a producer and guest artist on fellow Oakland-based rap group The Luniz platinum debut release Operation Stackola in 1995, also appearing as a guest emcee in the "I Got 5 on It" Bay Ballers Remix and video.
On April 22, 2021, Shock G was found dead in a hotel room in Tampa, Florida, at age 57. On June 10, 2021, the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner announced that Shock G's death was caused by an accidental overdose of fentanyl, methamphetamine, and ethanol (alcohol).