Farewell to Andre Williams, R&B Singer and Godfather of Rap

Singer, songwriter and arguably the inventor of rap

Zephire “Andre” Williams—singer/songwriter and arguably the inventor of rap—has passed away in Chicago at 82 years old. Nicknamed Mr Rhythm, Williams worked in the music industry in various positions since the 1950s, from procuring and developing new talent to songwriting and producing. He co-wrote “Shake Your Tail Feather,” produced for Parliament-Funkadelic, teamed up with the Dirtbombs—his desire to make and explore music was, by all counts, quite insatiable. In the ’50s in Chicago, Williams created a “sing-speak style, mixing humor and innuendo with the ruling R&B and doo-wop musical styles of the time,” which is widely viewed as the origins of rap. Garth Cartwright writes, “To most people, his name will be unfamiliar, but to me he was one of the great heroes of American music.” Read more at the Guardian.