johnny-pIt is with sad news that we report the passing of R&B singer, John Pigram better known to hip hop fans across the globe as Johnny P. He was 44.

After a health scare earlier this year, Pigram had made a slow and gradual recovery from medical complications that was not disclosed. Nearly a week ago, the singer was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital gravely ill—slipping into coma. Amidst early untrue reports on social media of his death—he was still alive but rumors continued to circulate of his fate.

Reports of his passing rippled throughout twitter and facebook on Sunday evening of the singer’s death. This time, it was not a rumor.

At 16, Johnny was one of the youngest artists to be signed to Columbia Records in the late 1980’s debuting his first album, Connect the Dots.  Prior to receiving the 10-album contract, his brother/manager, Henry Pigram noticed his younger brother’s extraordinary talent singing in the choir at Greater Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church. By 7, he was in the studio making demos and traveling to numerous talent shows around the region.

A native of the West Side of Chicago, his success has led him to tour with some of the biggest names in the music world such as Whitney Houston, The Jacksons, Michael Bolton, Regina Bell, MC Hammer, Jeffery Osborn, and New Kids on the Block.

His style and influence have been compared to such legendary greats as Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Donny Hathaway and Michael Jackson. It wouldn’t be until his voice would become a signature imprint on the records of fellow West Side pals and hip hop phenoms. In 1996, he was featured on Do or Die’s multi-platinum hit, ‘Po Pimp (Do U Wanna Ride)’—Do or Die fusing his Gospel style vocals with the raw-edge of street rap.

johnnyp-pic2This would lead to his solo deal with Rap-A-Lot Records as well as collaborating with Scarface, Tupac and countless other artists for the next two decades.

His vocals would also become a fixture on Chicago’s own, Twista on hit songs, ‘Emotions’ and ‘Yo Body’ helping to create the ‘Chicago sound’ that has become synonymous with hip hop purists around the world.

Throughout the last thirty years, Johnny has gained the respect and admiration of industry colleagues, fellow artists, musicians and fans. Outside of his distinctive voice, he was considered one of the nicest people to work with. He’s traveled around the globe and his appearances on HBO, MTV BET’s Comic View and 106 & Park with consistent collaborators—Do or Die and Twista has become expected.

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