Newcleus co-founder, writer, rapper, singer, keyboardist and bass player Robert Crafton III p/k/a Chilly B has passed away due to complications from a massive stroke. The stroke had left him brain dead and in a coma. On Tuesday, February 23rd the decision was made to remove him from life support and he passed on not long after.
Chilly B’s signature moments were his classic verse from “Jam On It”, his funky bass guitar licks from “Jam On Revenge (The Wikki Wikki Song)”, and his booming deep vocal and sizzling synthesizer solo from “Computer Age (Push The Button)”. In recent years he was involved in independent production, including working on a new Newcleus album, and touring with Newcleus.
Hit continue reading for Chilly’s biography & the history of Newcleus.
Via The Daily Swarm.
Well, It all started one X-mas morning for Chilly“B”. Then at the tender age of 5, he was awakened in the anticipation to see all what his parents (erm) Santa had left him the night before. By the way, Chilly just found out the other day that there was no such thing as Santa. :0( lol. Anyway, he received many gifts that morning but there was one that he cherished the most. It was a toy keyboard. Chilly discarded all other toys and presents and played with his lil piano til he fell off to sleep. His father remembers how his son could come close to playing almost any song he heard. He knew then that his son was blessed by God with the gift of music. Chilly“B” has an incredible ear for music. Nearly perfect in pitch and tone. Later in life while attending a block party in his neighborhood in Bed-Sty Brooklyn, he was watching a band perform and fell in love with the Bass guitar. Having never taken a single lesson, he picked up on it just like he did his lil toy piano that X-mas morning. Whatever bass line he heard he could play or came very close to playing it. He also played his own original lines. Chilly played for a few bands in his youth. Playing rock, R&B, jazz and reggae. He’ll never forget his 1st. band called ” ThunderFunk” which was a top 40 rock band. There is where he became closer with Ben“Cozmo-D“Cenac. Ben was the keyboardist of the group. Cozmo“D” is one of the founders of the JamOn Crew, a DJing and MC crew. Chilly and Cozmo grew up on the same Bed-Sty block, Bainbridge St. Both were DJs also. The Jam On Crew was legendary in the hood for all their parties and street battles(non-violent). Chilly joined up with the crew by helping carry the equipment and the endless crates of records. Every kid on the block wanted to be apart of the Jam On crew, and in a way, they all were. One thing was for sure, the Jam On crew was family. Because of their love for music, Cozmo and Chilly came together to make their own music. Cozmo purchased some musical and recording equipment and Chilly came with his bass guitar and their music journey began. They called themselves “Positive Messengers” both are deeply rooted in the Faith. Chilly married Monique aka.(Nique“D”) Cozmo’s 1st cousin and Cozmo married his long time sweetheart Evette aka.(Lady“E”). Then BAM Newcleus was born.
The origins of Newcleus lay in a 1977 Brooklyn DJ collective known as Jam-On Productions, which included Ben “Cozmo D” Cenac, his cousins Pete “Master Quadro” Angevin and Monique “Niqué D” Angevin, and Ben’s best friend David “Dr. Freeze” St. Louis, (all teenagers and still in high school). Many members (MCs as well as DJs) came and went as Jam-On rocked parks and block parties all over the borough. In 1981 Cozmo decided to create a recording group as an extension of Jam-On. The group included Cozmo, his wife Yvette (“Lady E”), Niqué, and Niqué’s future husband Bob “Chilly B” Crafton. The foursome originally took on the name Positive Messenger, but would later name their group Newcleus as a result of the coming together of their families.
By this time, Cozmo had begun to accumulate a collection of electronic recording equipment, and the quartet recorded a demo tape of material. With several minutes left at the end of the tape, Newcleus included on the tape a song that was a favorite at their parties, which had vocals that were sped up to sound like munchkins. The track, “Jam-On’s Revenge,” immediately impressed producer Joe Webb, and it became the group’s first single, released as “Jam-On Revenge” by Newcleus featuring Cozmo & The Jam-On Production Crew in 1983 on Mayhew Records. A huge street success, the track became known unofficially as “the Wikki-Wikki song” (after the refrain); when it was re-released later that year on Sunnyview Records, it had been re-titled as “Jam On Revenge (The Wikki-Wikki Song)” by Newcleus. “Jam On Revenge” became a smash R&B hit, launching a new sound on the world and adding the phrase “wikki-wikki-wikki” to the English language.
In 1984 Newcleus followed up by rocking the planet with the all-time Hip-Hop/Electro-Funk classic “Jam On It”. It was a worldwide smash that still packs dance floors all over the globe today. They had also established themselves as the very first self-contained Hip-Hop band, playing all of the instruments themselves live. They toured nationally with funk masters Cameo throughout ’83 and ’84, and then were part of the very 1st national Hip-Hop music tour in history, The Fresh Festival, with Run DMC, Kurtis Blow, Whodini and The Fat Boys. They then released one of the most revered albums in Electro-Funk history, “Jam On Revenge”, and added another all-time classic Electro song with “Computer Age (Push The Button)” and also an Electro Breakbeat classic with “Automan”. Then, in 1985 they released their light-selling yet highly acclaimed and respected 2nd album “Space Is The Place”, which was one of the first albums to fully utilize the brand new MIDI technology that would change music and the world forever! In just 3 short years Newcleus had solidified their position in Hip-Hop and Electro-Funk history as true innovators and pioneers in the genres.
After 1985, due to legal and personal matters, Newcleus stepped away from the scene. Chilly B and Cozmo D would venture into independent music production both as a team and separately. They would explore and expand into the worlds of Hip-Hop, Dance, R&B and House music, always determined to set the trends rather than follow them. Then, in 1997, Rhino Records contacted Cozmo and asked for his help in compiling a “Best Of Newcleus” album. Cozmo obliged, and even gathered the original 4 back together for a new song to be included as well. The result, “Jam On This… The Best Of Newcleus”, reawakened the world to the unique and original sound and style of this funky pioneering quartet and introduced them to a whole new generation. Suddenly requests for shows and appearances started to come in along with interest in re-releases, remixes and even new material. Newcleus was reborn!
Finally, in 2005, Cozmo D opened www.jamonproductions.com and released “Destination: Earth – The Definitive Newcleus Recordings” on Jam-On’s own independent label, Jam-On Recordings. Now, for the first time, the world could hear those phenomenal groundbreaking Newcleus recordings as the group originally intended them to sound. The continued interest and acclaim for this severely limited release has been nothing short of spectacular!
Today Newcleus is fully back upon the scene, making waves in a way that they haven’t since 1985! Cozmo D, Chilly B and Lady E are all back, still Jammin’ On It like they never missed a beat! Joining them on the road in the place of the now retired Niqué D is Al “T” McLaran, an original member of Jam-On Productions and dance music legend in his own right. They are once more playing in front of jam-packed clubs and sold-out arenas full of thousands! With highly reviewed and acclaimed new releases and remixes galore, soon to be released albums of all-new material from them and off-shoot group Cozmo D & The Jam-On Crew, and upcoming tours throughout the United States and Europe (where they didn’t even appear in the ‘80s), the future for Electro-Funk looks very Newclear indeed!