The New York Times is reporting today that singer, songwriter and producer, Clarence Reid, who performed under the name Blowfly, died on January 17 in hospice care in Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. He was 76 years old. According to his manager and musical collaborator, Tom Bowker, Reid had liver cancer and multiple organ failure, which led to his death last week.
Known as the original dirty rapper, Blowfly wrote songs for several hit R&B groups in the 1960s and ’70s. But he also recorded albums, and performed, usually seen in flamboyant costumes, known especially for his x-rated raunchy raps, starting with a track called “Rapp Dirty” released in 1965.
As recently as 5-6 years ago, Blowfly continued to record new material and tour the world, fighting for success and recognition, and the 2011 documentary film “The Weird World of Blowfly,” directed by Jonathan Furmanski, which was covered on this blog, documents Reid’s/Blowfly’s journey.
The documentary, which was shot over two years, follows Reid/Blowfly as we see his life, career and philosophy unfold. A revealing portrait of an unheralded man, “The Weird World of Blowfly” examines Clarence’s personal and professional contradictions, explores his legacy and celebrates his musical and cultural significance as a rapper and soul music legend.
“The Weird World of Blowfly” toured the international film festival circuit for about a year and was eventually released in a limited theatrical run via Variance Films. I did see it back then, and I can say that it’s every bit of a “weird world” as the title suggests; but in a hilariously pleasant way.
Unfortunately, it’s not streaming on Netflix, nor is it on Hulu (although it was on Hulu a few years ago). It is out on DVD and Blu-ray via your favorite online or offline rental or retailer.
For everyone else, I found a copy of the full film on YouTube, via Gravitas Ventures, which is embedded below: