Digital Underground frontman Shock G dead at 57

This is a 2014 photo of rapper Gregory “Shock G” Jacobs of Digital Underground performing on stage at Shephard’s Beach Resort on Clearwater Beach. Shock G was found dead in a Tampa motel on Thursday. He was 57. [ SANTANA, LUIS | Tampa Bay Times ]

TAMPA — Rapper Gregory “Shock G” Jacobs, the frontman for the rap group Digital Underground who first gained fame for the hit single The Humpty Dance and helped take hip-hop mainstream in the 1990s, has died in the city where he launched his music career. He was 57.

Gregory Edward Jacobs was found dead Thursday night in a motel room at the Vista Inn and Suites on E Bearss Avenue, according to a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office report. The motel sits just off Interstate 275 on the outskirts of Tampa.

A report from TMZ reported that there were no signs of trauma and that Jacobs’ father, Edward Racker, said an autopsy would be performed.

Nzazi Malonga, a longtime friend who served as head of security and helped manage the group, said the rapper-producer was found unresponsive in the motel, according to the Associated Press. Malonga said the performer had struggled with drug addiction for years.

“Thirty-four years ago, almost to the day, we had a wild idea we can be a hip hop band and take on the world,” wrote Digital Underground co-founder James “Chopmaster J” Dright in an Instagram post. “Through it all, the dream became a reality and the reality became a nightmare for some … Rest In Peace my Brotha Greg Jacobs.”

In this 2008 photo, Gregory “Shock G” Jacobs, leader of the rap group Digital Underground, performs “The Humpty Dance” during a halftime appearance of a Detroit-Denver NBA game. Shock G died in Tampa at the age of 57. [ DAVID ZALUBOWSKI | AP ]