David Bowie, the British singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer passed away on January 10th 2016 after an 18 month battle with liver cancer. Bowie was the consummate Englishman in New York. He lived in a Sohopenthouse apartment with Iman, his model wife, for over twenty years. Not only did Bowie love New York City, he embodied the city’s unwavering cool. His mark on music will forever be remembered simply because of his mastery and unique understanding of change. Never the one to make the same record twice, Bowie’s pop sensibilities paired perfectly with his eye for style and shape shifting ambiguity.
Over the course of his incredible career Bowie released 25 albums. His showmanship earned him hordes of followers eager to witness his next bold choice. His work has inspired musicians and industry leaders, and his sounds have been sampled by everyone from Diddy to Public Enemy. Bowie’s tracks have been bent, borrowed, and reimagined into some of the most memorable moments in hip hop. Cube, Dre, EPMD, Jay Z, and El-P have all flipped Bowie’s “Fame” or “Soul Love” into something we’ll never forget.
Following the news of Bowie’s death some of hip hop’s heavyweights took to social media to send their condolences. Kanye, Pharrell, and Kendrick Lamar all weighed in on the pop genius’s passing, proving the wide reach of Bowie’s work. Bowie’s legacy will certainly live on through a celebration of his life and art, and his influence on hip hop will never fade.
Bowie was 69 years old. His final album, Blackstar, released to critical acclaim on January 8th, two days before his death.