Kangol Kid of the ’80s rap group U.T.F.O. has died of colon cancer at age 55. U.T.F.O. became popular when they released their single “Roxanne Roxanne” in 1985. Their song set off the Roxanne wars which resulted in 25 answer records. Roxanne Shante had the most famous response with her Marley Marl-produced “Roxanne’s Revenge.”
Educated rapper, Doctor Ice, Mixmaster Ice and Kangol Kid were from New York City and made their mark during hip-hop’s Golden Era. The songwriting and production team Full Force produced a lot of their music and helped innovate their sound by introducing them to Gary Pozner who was one of the early users of the E-mu Emulator sampling machine. They were also known for their hits “Ya Cold Wanna Be With Me” and “Split Personality.” A new vibe came about when “Fairytale Lover” was released because it was the first instance of a rap group singing. No other rappers before them had stepped onto the stage of the Apollo Theater. Their groundbreaking moves also extended to the song “Lethal” which was recorded with the heavy metal band Anthrax. Run DMC had released their “Walk This Way” collaboration with Aerosmith one year earlier in 1986 so the genre-mixing was still new.
The Untouchable Force Organization had another first when they were the inaugural breakdancers on The Phil Donahue Show. Doctor Ice and Kangol Kid were The Keystone Dancers before working for rap group Whodini and later becoming U.T.F.O. Kangol Kid got his name from the Kangol hats that he wore in public until his passing. The company made him an official ambassador for the hats in one of hip-hop’s earliest sponsorship deals. He shared his battle with colon cancer on social media after being diagnosed 10 months ago. In 2012, he was the first rapper to be honored by the American Cancer Society for his efforts in raising money to eradicate breast cancer. The Educated rapper also died from a form of the disease in 2017. Kangol Kid had remained active by touring the country giving lectures on the music business at high schools and colleges. He also ran his public relations firm and music production company.