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R.I.P DJ E-Z Rock: Hip-hop pioneer dead at the age of 46

DJ Easy Rock and rapper Rob Base attends the Second Annual VH1 Hip Hop Honors at the Hammerstein Ballroom September 22, 2005 in New York City.
(Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

Rodney Bryce, known to the world of hip-hop as DJ E-Z Rock, has left this world too soon. On Sunday, Rolling Stone reported that the collaborator of the hip-hop classic song “It Takes Two” died at the age of 46. A spokesperson for Rob Base confirmed the news, but a cause of death has yet to be determined.

Both Bryce and Base will always be known for their classic 1988 hit, which was recently named to the 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time. It has become a song that has been sampled by many rap artists and was even sampled in the Sandra Bullock 2009 comedy “The Proposal.” The energy of the song as well as its classic beat and lyrics propelled Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock to fame back in the late 80s and the song continues to be a dance hit classic played in clubs and at parties today.

Although the two went on to release other hits, including “Joy and Pain”, the duo’s album became platinum in 1989 based solely on “It Takes Two.” DJ E-Z Rock didn’t appear on Rob Base’s follow up album, but he remained influential in the hip-hop world and reunited with Base in 1994 when the duo released “Break of Dawn.”

Raised in Harlem, E-Z Rock recalled the influences and inspiration that attracted both him and Rob Base to the growing art form known as hip-hop. In an interview with Philadelphia paper The Morning Call back in 1991, he said, “back then, there were other groups and we used to see other people perform.” Those performances led to a heightened interest, which led to them buying “turntables” and “a mic” as the beginning of their musical journey. Although it is a journey that has ended way too soon for Bryce, he will live on forever in the music he created with Rob Base.

In the wake of the news, several hip-hop artists have paid tribute to DJ E-Z Rock on social media but DJ Red Alert summed it up best when he wrote, “we have lost our very own from Harlem NYC & the hip-hop culture our brother DJ E-Z Rock. Rest in peace.” His heart will always beat whenever “It Takes Two” is played.

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