There were a handful of headlines coming out of Tuesday night’s (October 12) BET Hip-Hop Awards, including some big wins for Nicki Minaj and Salt-N-Pepa. But the moment that really raised some eyebrows and sent people running to their computers was when Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon took the microphone to spit a few bars. In the middle of his cypher, he interrupted himself for a tribute. “Yo stop the music Premier,” he told DJ Premier, who was providing beats for his freestyle. “Yo rest in peace my brother from the Wu, Inspectah Deck.”
Had Inspectach Deck (born Jason Hunter) passed away without anybody knowing it? It seemed impossible that one of the most underrated and venerable members of New York’s premier hip-hop collective could slip away so quietly, but perhaps everybody missed the boat. After all, Deck has made a career out of floating under the radar and quietly devastating track after track with his sharp, aggressive wordplay.
However, it turned out that the first part of Raekwon’s statement was so shocking that most everybody missed the second part of it. Rae referenced “his old Earth,” which is actually a reference to Deck’s mother, who did in fact pass away recently. Deck himself is alive and well and working on new music for an album called The Rebellion (which should be out in early 2011). We last heard from Deck earlier this year when he dropped The Manifesto, a killer collection of jams that let the MC’s lyrical knives fly all over the tracks (several of which were produced by Deck himself — he remains an underrated producer as well). Get down to “The Champion” first thing this morning and rest assured that the Wu’s lyrical lieutenant will keep banging as he remembers his mother fondly.