What Could R&B Trailblazer James Mtume’s Cause of Death Be?
Many are asking about Philadelphia-born percussionist James Mtume’s cause of death since he reportedly passed away on Sunday (January 9, 2021) at the age of 76. May the legend rest in power.
The heartbreaking death news of James “Mtume” Forman, the singer behind 1983’s hit record, “Juicy Fruit,” was confirmed by many official sources.
Above all, Lisa Lucas, his niece, confirmed the tragedy in a statement on Twitter, “So much loss. So much grief. Rest in power to Uncle Mtume. My late father’s partner-in-crime[.].”
She added, “The co-creator of the songs of my life (and about my birth!). He was [an] essential part of the life of the man who made me, therefore me too. Gone now. He will be dearly, eternally missed.”
Additionally, Marc Lamont Hill wrote, “Rest In Peace to the legendary James Mtume. Thank you for sharing your tremendous gifts with us for so long…”
Though “Juicy Fruit” is his most famous record, thanks in part to Biggie Smalls, who tested it for his 1994 hit, “Juicy,” Forman has written some of R&B’s greatest hits.
Forman co-wrote Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway’s “The Closer I Get to You,” as well as Stephanie Mills’ Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Never Knew Love Like This,” which was awarded a Grammy for best R&B song and best female vocal R&B performance.
The fantastic artist leaves behind his children Damu Mtume and Fa Mtume.
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Did an Illness Become James Mtume’s Cause of Death?
Although there is no reliable and exact report about James Mtume’s cause of death at this time, some social media users are claiming he lost his lie due to a heart attack.
Nevertheless, our team does not confirm any rumors; we are trying our best to find related information about the tragedy and provide the latest updates as soon as possible. Nevertheless, family privacy should be respected at this difficult time.
An all-around musician, James had a knack for infusing consciousness into his music and delving creatively into the matters of politics, culture, and art.
“Music is a unique art form. I mean, all art is special,” he declared throughout his 2019 TedTalk. “But music is unique. It’s the only art form I know that can touch you, but you can’t touch it. What do I mean by that? I can touch a sculpture; I can touch a painting; I can touch a book of poetry. How do you touch a note? How do you touch sound? It runs through your body.”
Mtume, born James Forman in 1946, grew up in a musical atmosphere with jazz musicians frequenting his parents’ house. He learned to play piano and percussion, despite having an athletic scholarship for swimming to Pasadena City College in 1966.
That same year, Mtume as Forman entered Hakim Jamal and Maulana Karenga’s US Organization, a Black empowerment group, and received his new name, Mtume, which means “messenger” in Swahili.
After entering Davis’ band, he contributed greatly to albums including On the Corner, Big Fun, Agharta, and Pangaea, and starred on multiple projects with a variety of other legendary musicians, such as Duke Ellington, Lonnie Liston Smith, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sonny Rollins, and so on.
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Mtume’s shift from jazz pioneer to R&B master enabled his group, Mtume, to set himself apart from his peers.
After teaming up with the late Reggie Lucas, the pair would curate their sound throughout the ’80s, penning such hits as Stephanie Mills’ Grammy-winning “Never Knew Love Like This Before” and Roberta Flack’s “The Closer I Get to You.”
Journalist Dyana Williams tweeted to announce the sad news, writing, “Warrior, husband, family, friend, musician, producer of hits for Roberta Flack, Donny Hathaway, Roy Ayers, Mary J. Blige, Teddy Pendergrass, Stephanie Mills, New York Undercover, composer, one of the most sampled in hip-hop James Mtume has transitioned.”
How Did People React to James Mtume’s Passing?
Celebrities’ death news always break many hearts, however, fans remember memories and their idols are alive in their mind even after death.
Here we collected some of James Mtume’s friends, fans, and all of his loved ones’ reactions to the news, which included the heart-touching tributes they posted on social media.
Someone said, “Sad that James Mtume died. Got to know him when I was schools chancellor. He introduced me to @HowardLFuller, a warrior for educational equity for African-Americans. Tumes was not only a great music man; he was a great man, period. I loved his passion. RIP.”
Another wrote, “So sorry to hear about the passing of James Mtume. As far as I’m concerned, he was a musical genius. He had the ability to infuse consciousness into his #music. Him and Tawatha Agee made great music together back in the 80s with the group “Mtume.” #RIPJamesMtume
A fan said, “R.I.H. #JamesMtume He & composing/producing partner Reggie Lucas made big hits for Stephanie Milles, Roberta Flack, Donny Hathaway, Roy Ayers++. Played w/Miles Davis. He is the son of @NEAarts Jazz Master saxophonist Jimmy Heath (The Heath Bros.) @WashInformer.”
Another penned, “He asked me about the players and finally revealed that he was the James Mtume on the album. I said, “What?!” and he started telling me stories about the entire Mtume family. We were the only two people on the train laughing and cracking up. I never knew that they were from NJ.”
Also, a user tweeted, “The deaths are really depressing….to hear #JamesMtume is no longer on this Earth is so the music, the intellectual mind, the love of black people. The back & forth discussion on #WBLS join #BobSlade in paradise. U will never be forgotten!”
COSMO BAKER wrote, “Rest In Power to the great James Mtume. The South Philly native & prodigal son, Jazz ROYALTY (the son of the great Jimmy Heath) and music trailblazer & pioneer. His passing is truly a monumental loss. Let’s look at some of Mtume’s music and legacy through the years, as a THREAD“
DJ Soul Sister tweeted, “Soulful pioneer, acclaimed percussionist; Miles Davis group alumnus (1971-1975); Grammy-winning producer, writer, and hitmaker; bandleader of Mtume, mastermind behind 1983’s “Juicy Fruit,” genre-bender, straight shooter, innovator. Now ancestor. May James Mtume rest peacefully.”