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Funk, Jazz & Soul Musician Bernard Wright Has Died At 58

Legendary funk and jazz musician Bernard Wright, whose music has been sampled by Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and more, has died at 58.

Bernard Wright, the legendary funk, soul and jazz musician behind classic 1981 album ‘Nard has died. Classics from Wright’s catalog were heavily sampled in ’90s rap music, including “Gz and Hustlas” from 1993 debut Snoop Dogg Doggystyle and LL Cool J’s 1996 “Loungin'” remix featuring Total.

Born in Jamaica, Queens on November 16th, 1963, Wright was a child prodigy for acts like Tom Browne and Lenny White. At 17, Wright embarked into a solo career and signed to GRP Records, releasing his debut album ‘Nard in 1981. The album was acclaimed for its hits “Haboglabotribin'” and “Just Chillin’ Out.” Wright continued his streak with R&B-oriented albums Funky Beat and Mr. Wright before joining Queens-based funk group the Jamaica Boys in the late-eighties.

Throughout the 1990s, songs from ‘Nard were sampled by 2Pac, Ice Cube, and Skee-Lo. Wright last released two more R&B albums Fresh Hymns and Fresh Hymns II in the ’90s, eventually moving to Texas and becoming a jazz and R&B session musician for Miles Davis, Marcus Miller and Cameo.

On social media, guitarist and former Jamaica Boys bandleader Billy “Spaceman” Patterson posted a tribute to Wright.

“On behalf of the family of Bernard Wright (Nard), we are saddened to announce that yesterday Bernard has been called home to the Most High,” Patterson wrote. Many thanks for everyone’s support, encouragement, and prayers for Nard throughout the years. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers through this difficult time. Our hearts are heavy and our faith is strong. To be absent from the body is to be present with The Lord! LOVE! Rest In Power, Nard.”

Read social media tributes to Bernard Wright below.

Jaelani Turner-Williams

Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with bylines at Billboard, MTV News, NYLON, Recording Academy and more. Read her mind on Twitter at @hernameisjae.

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