Jessie D, one of the founding members of the pioneering R&B and hip hop group Force MDs, has passed away. He was 58 years old.
The group’s official Facebook page confirmed the tragic news in a post on Tuesday (Jan. 4).
Born Jessie Lee Daniels, Jessie D helped form the Force MDs in 1981 with his nephews Stevie D., Antoine “T.C.D.” Lundy and Rodney “Khalil” Lundy. Later on, friends “Trisco” Pearson and Charles “Mercury” Nelson also joined the group.
Launched in Staten Island, New York with hip hop roots; Force MDs are best known for their early contributions to the new jack swing movement. They were also among the first R&B vocal groups to mix doo-wop vocal styles over hip hop beats.
In 1984, Force MDs signed a record deal with Tommy Boy Records and dropped their debut album, Love Letters. Throughout the 80s, the group released hits like, “Love is a House,” “Itchin’ For a Scratch” and “Tender Love,” the latter of which rose to No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was featured in the 1985 film, Krush Groove.
After news of Jessie D’s passing broke online, fans and fellow artists paid their respects.
“Another legend enters his phase as musical ancestor,” Questlove wrote in an Instagram tribute on Wednesday (Jan. 5). “Rest eternally to #JessieD of the #ForceMCs/#ForceMDs. Probably the one outfit that truly managed to soar from phase one of hip hop… to the mainstream. They came from the school of you had to do it all: MC/DJ/battle/dance routines/comedy/know your history (novel idea huh?)/croon/harmonize & engage/entertain.”
“I got to see em live in Philly on the New Edition #AllForLove tour of 86,” he continued. “… They only had a 20 min set but they were determined to let that entire stadium know for the time being? THIS IS OUR HOUSE.”
See Force MDs’ post about Jessie D’s passing on Facebook and more tributes below. Rest In Peace.
View this post on Instagram
The Rock The Bells family is saddened to learn of the passing of Jessie Lee Daniels a.k.a. #JessieD of the iconic group, The Force MDs. The culture has lost another legend but his legacy will live on. 🕊 #RestInPower
. .#ForceMDs #TenderLove #LoveIsAHouse #itchinforascratch pic.twitter.com/uqPRRTeL7V
— Rock The Bells (@RockTheBells) January 5, 2022
RIP Jessie D of 1980s rap-turned-quiet storm R&B pioneers Force MDs (formerly Force MCs). Hope Jessie links with his late nephew T.C.D. in heaven to do rendition of their classics "Tender Love" and "Love Is A House" behind the pearly gates.
— DANA (@iam_DanaScott) January 5, 2022
— Rob Base (@Robbasemusic) January 5, 2022
Rest In Peace To Legendary Singer Jessie D From The R&B Group The Force MD’s. If You Really Know The History Of This Group Shout To Anybody That Remember When They Was Called The Force MC’s!!! Jessie D & The Group Put Staten Island NY On The Map Period!!! He Will Be Missed. pic.twitter.com/8Ln8iAkoPF
— MISTER CEE (@djmistercee) January 5, 2022
Per Khalil Lundy, prayers & condolences to S.I. own Force MDs & the Daniels family on the passing of Jessie D. Jessie’s passion to sing will never be forgotten! RIP J. Harlem World memories! ❤️🙏🏽 #ImAPioneer #TenderLove pic.twitter.com/Xt6VKD5g0D
— MC Debbie D (@MCDebbieD) January 5, 2022
Sincere Prayers and Condolences to the Family, Friends and Loved Ones of the Legendary Jessie Daniels, of the Force M.D's.. May God comfort and Strengthen you💞🙏🏾🕊️#R.I.PSirJessieDaniels pic.twitter.com/gpL5ktfuYc
— Vanessa Blue-Swann💙 (@LadyVBlu) January 5, 2022
Life is so precious. Jessie D of the Force MDs is my third friend to go to Glory in the past two weeks. Life is so precious! Rest well! pic.twitter.com/FQ2iZZsoX6
— Flo Anthony (@banananosekid) January 5, 2022