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And the Beat Goes on: Musicians Dead in September

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Death is inevitable. But at The Spec, we share this sentiment with Neil Strauss: “Everyone loves you when you’re dead.”

Find out more about some of the musicians dead this month…

Nicky da B, dead at 24

Nickesse Toney, better known by the moniker Nicky da B, was a bounce musician from New Orleans. Bounce music is a high-energy style of hip-hop that showed up around the early 1990s in New Orleans. Toney was an up-and-coming star who showed a lot of potential, releasing Don’t Forget About Da B in 2012 and more recently collaborating with Diplo on the single “Express Yourself.”


Hopeton Lewis, dead at 66

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Hopeton Lewis was a reggae singer. One of his earliest musical hits came with the release of “Take it Easy” during the late 1960s. The song was considered among the first rocksteady hits, a genre of music that takes from R&B, soul, ska and doo-wop. Lewis released two dozen records and three compilations between the years 1968 and 2014.


Simone Battle, dead at 25

Battle was an Los Angeles-born actress and singer. In 2011, she was a finalist on the hit show The X Factor. Battle also performed with G.R.L., a pop group created by dancer and choreographer Robin Antin. Battle explored a solo career as well, releasing four singles and a debut music video for her track “He Likes Boys.”


Gerald Wilson, dead at 96

Gerald Wilson was a jazz trumpeter, composer, educator and big band bandleader from Mississippi. He has written musical arrangements for many popular musicians, including Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. Wilson started his career in music after joining the Jimmie Lunceford orchestra at the end of the 1930s as the replacement for Sy Oliver. During the second World War, he and other musicians performed with the U.S. Navy for a short time. Wilson’s discography includes more than 30 releases.


Jackie Cain, dead at 86

Jacquelin Ruth Cain was an American jazz vocalist best known as one half of Jackie and Roy. or what The New York Times called “the most famous vocal duo in jazz history.” Before the musical duo met, Cain took on a full-time job as the singer of Jay Burkart’s group at the age of 17. Two years later she was introduced to the man who would become her husband and bandmate, Roy Kral. The duo released dozens of albums, the most recent of which was The Beautiful Sea: Songs of Sun, Sand & Sea in 1999.

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