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Blowfly, born Clarence Reid February 14, 1945 in Cochran, Georgia, is rightly credited as one of the musical pioneers that started the rap movement which led to the hip-hop that is so popular today. While Blowfly himself credits the “soul talking” Southern radio DJs of the ’50s and ’60s as the pioneers of rap, his 1965 version of “Rap Dirty” is widely considered as one of the first true rap songs to be released.
Before there was 2 Live Crew or even hip-hop, Blowfly was writing and singing dirty rap. Because he could not find a legitimate record label that would carry his music, Blowfly originally recorded “Rap Dirty” for Henry Stone sublabel Weird World Records. After the success of Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” in 1979, Blowfly re-recorded “Rap Dirty” as “Blowfly’s Rapp” for Henry Stone’s legendary TK Records label. The song was a hit and helped the album, Blowfly’s Party reach #26 on Billboard magazine’s Black Albums chart and #82 on the Billboard Top 200 in 1980.
Clarence Reid earned his Blowfly nickname from his grandmother who exclaimed, “You is nastier than a blowfly!” after hearing him sing “Do the Twist” as “Suck My Dick” when he was just six years old. When he started recording XXX-rated parodies of popular songs, he adopted the Blowfly character to protect his regular name as a successful chart-topping writer for such TK Records greats as Betty Wright, Sam & Dave, Gwen McCrae, and most famously, KC and the Sunshine Band. He even released a number of “clean” albums under his own name.
Blowfly’s dirty lyrics have landed Reid in some legal troubles. He was sued by songwriter Stanley Adams, who was ASCAP president at the time, for spoofing “What a Diff’rence a Day Makes” as “What a Difference a Lay Makes”. Blowfly won that lawsuit and set precedent for the legality of making parodies. Record stores have been prosecuted for carrying Blowfly albums in some communities.
Samples of Blowfly and Clarence Reid songs have appeared on hit albums by the Jurassic 5, Wu Tang Clan, DJ Quik, Method Man & Redman, DMX, Beyonce, Puff Daddy, Scarface, Slim Thug, Ice Cube, Da Brat and many, many more. Blowfly has collaborated with like-minded folks like 2 Live Crew, Slug of Atmosphere, King Coleman, Gravy Train!!!!, Afroman and even Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Blowfly continues to take pot-shots at pop-culture. He still tours extensively and has just released a brand new CD called SuperBlowfly, which may be his dirtiest ever!