Onetime Flavor Unit emcee Apache (born Anthony Teaks) has been pronounced dead, according to AllHipHop.com. The rapper died of a protracted illness, although information is limited at this time. Known largely for his 1992 hit "Gangsta Bitch," Apache was a hardcore act within Queen Latifah and 45 King's Flavor Unit roster. He worked with both hit-makers, as well as fellow Tommy Boy stars Naughty By Nature and Flavor Unit original emcee Lakim Shabazz.
Like Just Ice and Freddie Foxxx before him, Apache carried a hard delivery and an outspoken style. Many believe his hit single was a companion to MC Lyte's "Ruffneck," another assertion for hardcore imagery amidst the R&B/G Funk climate dominating Hip Hop by the early '90s.
A Newark, New Jersey native, Apache followed his 1992 album with 1993's Apache Ain't Shit. Lacking success halted further development of Apache, although he would continue to appear alongside artists such as Fat Joe and A Tribe Called Quest.
Author and Hip Hop scholar Adisa Banjoko, who says he had the pleasure of meeting Apache at a Bay area Gavin Convention, told HipHopDX.com upon hearing the news, "I think its hard for the youngsters of today generation of Hip Hop to understand the impact an artist like Apache had on their ability to exist. He knew how to be lyriclly hard and still have fun on the mic. He defined himself as a rapper, but was not defined by title."
Kid Capri also confirmed the news via his Twitter page.
Apache's age was unknown, but visit AllHipHop to get a reaction statement from Flavor Unit.
This happens less than a week after fellow Rap veteran Queens' Killa Sha died.
UPDATE: Unkut.com, a site instrumental to the preservation of '80s, '90s and present day east coast Hip Hop through interviews and media has been able to reveal some information on what may have caused Apache's death. In a late 2007 interview with Lord Ali Ba-Ski, another Flavor Unit originator, the Jersey emcee revealed that Apache was living with a bruised heart.
The interview, which also suggests that while Apache's solo career was short-lived, he was privy to financial success in the early '90s, says that the rapper used his wealth to exceded 300 pounds, despite a shorter frame. Medical reports have yet to release, but this could have been a contributor to the rapper's death this week. He was on permanent disability at the time of his death, and reportedly very involved with his church. Read the full interview and exclusive quotes on Apache's career at UnKut.com.
HipHopDX will keep you updated.