Jessie D, one of the founding members of the influential R&B quintet the Force MDs, has died, according to an announcement made on the group’s official Facebook page on Tuesday evening (Jan. 4). He was 58 years old. It’s unclear if the artist born Jessie Lee Daniels passed away at the time of the announcement or on a prior date, and no cause of death has yet to be revealed.
“To one hell of [an] entertainer. ‘Jessie D’ of legendary Force MDs,” the post read. “He ate, [slept] and breathe[d] music everyday. Please put a heart up for him. He was loved!!!!!!!!!! To the family, friends and fans today we lost a real talent. Our condolences goes out to his siblings, kids and the Force MDs….”
Bursting onto the scene during the early 80s, Jessie D and the Force MDs (also known as Force M.D.’s) would set the template for hybrid groups of the future by combining Hip-Hop with R&B harmonies, a practice that’s commonplace today but was revolutionary at the time. Signing with Tommy Boy Records in 1984, the group scored multiple hits, most notably “Tender Love,” which reached No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was included in the 1985 film, Krush Groove.
Despite fading in popularity during the onset of the ’90s, Jessie D and the Force MDs would be introduced to another generation of rap listeners through fellow Staten Island native Ghostface Killah’s 1996 debut, Ironman, which find the group featured on standout tracks “Daytona 500,” “Box In Hand,” and “The Soul Controller.”