Whodini's Ecstasy

Rapper Ecstasy and his group Whodini were one of the earliest acts melding rap and rock, and also influenced New Jack Swing music.

Born John Fletcher on June 7, 1964, Ecstasy formed Whodini with Jalil Hutchins in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1982.

Whodini's first LP, Magic's Wand, was a tribute to the New York DJ who fostered the group's early career. The title track (RealAudio excerpt) was one of the first rap singles to be accompanied by a video. Whodini also became one of the first rap acts to perform with their own dancers. Succeeding hits included "The Haunted House of Rock," "Friends," "Freaks Come Out at Night" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Be Yourself," featuring Millie Jackson.

In 1986, the year DJ Grandmaster Dee began working with the group, Whodini issued "Growing Up," an anti-drug video financed by the New York State Division Of Substance Abuse.

After a quiet period in the late '80s, Whodini issued Bag-A-Trix in 1991. The following year, the group contributed "It All Comes Down to Money" to Terminator X's The Godfathers of Threat compilation, which also featured Kool Herc and Cold Crush Brothers.

Whodini's most recent release is Six (1996), featuring "Keep Running Back."

Other birthdays Wednesday: Antonio L.A. Reid, 44, and Prince, 42.