Last week, veteran MC, dancer, and producer Bushwick Bill revealed that he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. More than 30 years ago, the Jamaican-American artist born Stephen Shaw joined Rap-A-Lot Records’ Geto Boys as a dancer. Eventually moving to the role of rapper, he remained to become an integral part of the dynamic Houston, Texas crew’s most successful lineup alongside Scarface and Willie D, as well as late DJ/producer Ready Red. In total, Bill has released seven studio albums with the squad assembled by Rap-A-Lot founder J. Prince, as well as solo material and compilations.
With Bill’s health in serious jeopardy, the Geto Boys classic lineup has reunited for a series of tour dates. In a little over two weeks, the trio will begin the just-announced The Beginning of a Long Goodbye: The Final Farewell Tour. A portion of the proceeds will support pancreatic cancer awareness, according to a Pitchfork report.
The trio has announced four dates for now:
05-24 Pontiac, MI – The Crofoot
05-25 Cleveland, OH – Agora Theatre
05-29 Washington, DC – Howard Theater
05-30 New York, NY – Sony Hall
The Geto Boys’ have had a complicated history since the revamped lineup of Bill, ‘Face, and Willie 30 years ago. In the early 1990s, Willie D left to pursue his solo career as well as a passion for boxing. He was replaced by New Orleans, Louisiana rapper and previous member of The Convicts, Big Mike. Willie D returned to the fold in the middle of the decade for The Resurrection. The collective last released The Foundation in 2005.
In recent years, Scarface, Bushwick, and Willie have toured. However, 2015 plans to crowd-source the trio’s first album in more than a decade halted when the financial goals were not met. Last year, in an interview with Questlove Supreme, Scarface vowed that the pioneering Gangsta Rap group would not record again.
Last week, Bill told fans, “I figure keeping it to myself is not really helping nobody. And, it’s not like I’m afraid of dying, because if anybody knows anything about me from ‘Ever So Clear,’ you know I died and came back already on June 19, 1991, so I know what it’s like on the other side, so that’s not what it’s about. It’s about life and loving life, and being there for family, and not just starting a dream or getting married or getting your first house and then finding out you’ve got pancreatic cancer, so you can’t even live out the rest of your dream. I just want people to be aware, so when they set dreams and goals, they’re healthy enough to fulfill and live.”
Last August, longtime Geto Boys member DJ Ready Red passed away after suffering a heart attack in New Jersey.