It’s officially a day of mourning in the hip-hop community, as it’s just been announced that Bushwick Bill has passed away after recently being diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer.
The legendary member of the Geto Boys revealed last month that he had been diagnosed back in February and was currently undergoing intensive chemotherapy treatments, which led to the cancellation of their reunion tour later that month when Bushwick Bill wasn’t well enough to perform.
Although at the moment further details haven’t been made known, Scarface and Willie D took to IG this morning to announce his passing while letting it be known that “this is Geto Boys for life,” as the surviving members look to honor and pay tribute to the one and only Bushwick Bill.
The Jamaica-born Shaw, who was born with dwarfism and first performed under the moniker Little Billy, joined the Geto Boys in 1986 following a stint as the group’s dancer. As Bushwick Bill, the rapper became an important member of the group whose classic lineup – Bushwick Bill, Willie D and Scarface – influenced both southern hip-hop and the horrorcore genre.
Bushwick Bill appeared on seven of the Geto Boys’ eight albums, from their 1988 debut Making Trouble to their 2005 reunion LP The Foundation, and contributed verses to the trio’s hits like “Mind Playing Tricks on Me,” “Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta” (popularized by Office Space) and “The World Is a Ghetto.”
In 1991, Shaw accidentally shot himself in the eye during an argument with his girlfriend, with the rapper admitting he was on PCP and everclear alcohol at the time; the aftermath of the incident was immortalized on the cover of Geto Boys’ album We Can’t Be Stopped, and Bushwick Bill later tackled the events with stark lyricism on “Ever So Clear,” from his 1992 solo album Little Big Man.
Over the past few decades, Shaw alternated between Geto Boys reunions and solo LPs. However, a planned Geto Boys reunion pinned to the rapper’s cancer diagnosis was canceled at the last minute after Shaw objected to promoters calling the brief tour “The Beginning of a Long Goodbye: The Final Farewell.” At the time of his death, Shaw planned on embarking on a solo trek dubbed the “Phuck Cancer” Tour.