Legendary hip-hop DJ E-Z Rock has died at age 46. According to a Facebook post from longtime partner MC Rob Base, Rock died on Sunday and no cause of death was revealed at press time.
Rock (born Rodney Bryce) was best known for his dancefloor destroying 1988 hit “It Takes Two,” with Base, who he’d known since fourth grade. The hyped hit, which was produced by new jack swing legend Teddy Riley, featured a sample of Lyn Collin’s 1972 James Brown-produced song “Think (About It).”
“It takes two to make a thing go right/It takes to to make it outta sight,” goes the iconic hook of the song that seamlessly mixed hip-hop and house music. He might have been behind the turntables, but Rock got plenty of love in Base’s lyrics, including the lines, “Cause Rob is in the front, E-Z Rock is on the back-up … Rock the mike with the help of EZ.”
Among the many who’ve sampled the Harlem-based duo’s hit over the years are Snoop Dogg (“I Wanna Rock”), Mac Miller (“Play Ya Cards”), the Black Eyed Peas (“Rock That Body”) and Gang Starr (“Suckas Need Bodyguards”), as well as Girl Talk, LL Cool J, Will Smith and Meek Mill.
“It Takes Two” was featured on the pair’s 1988 debut of the same name, which also had the hit “Joy and Pain.” But “Two” would be the song that cemented Rock’s reputation and, to this day, is guaranteed to get people on the dancefloor. Base announced the news on Sunday in a since-deleted post, but has changed the cover photo on his Facebook page to a montage of E-Z Rock images. The pair split a short time later and reunited on 1994 album Break of Dawn.
Reaction from the hip-hop community poured in as soon as the news hit.