Duke Bootee, Writer And Producer Of ‘The Message,’’ Dies At 69

He was best known for his work with Melle Mel and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.

Duke Bootee, a legendary Hip Hop emcee, writer and producer, has passed away. He was 69 years old.

His wife, Rosita Fletcher, confirmed the news to The New York Times and says her husband died from heart failure on January 13 in his home in Savannah, Georgia.

Bootee, born Edward Fletcher in Elizabeth, New Jersey, was associated with Sugar Hill Records and is best known for his work with Melle Mel of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. He went on to co-write and produce the 1982 classic single “The Message,” which is widely regarded as one of the greatest records in Hip Hop music history. The track depicts the crumbled state that New York City was at the time and was created in response to the 1980 NYC transit strike.

RELATED: Melle Mel Disses Grandmaster Flash

Musically, Fletcher first earned success and attention by playing on Edwin Starr’s disco single “Contact,” which led to him signing a deal at Sugar Hill Records.

Fletcher spent the last decade of his career as a lecturer in critical thinking and communication at Savannah State University where he retired in 2019.

Edward Fletcher is survived by his wife Rosita, his two children, Owen Fletcher and Branice Moore, and five grandchildren.

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