Superstar Whitney Houston's death today has had a surreal effect on hip-hop. Although Houston was known for pop and R&B ballads "I Will Always Love You" and "I'm Every Woman" from The Bodyguard soundtrack to the dance staple "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," her music and artistry have left an indelible mark on hip-hop. Legions of famous fans took to Twitter to share their sadness.
Wu-Tang's Raekwon shared, "I can't believe I'm hearing this new [sic] about the great whitney houston! r.i.p may she rest in peace" and added "My moms loves that lady," showing just how far-reaching and cross-generational Whitney's talent really was.
Diddy, who shared a mutual mentor in music impresario Clive Davis with Whitney, tweeted, "Whitney Houston!!! OMG!! I really can't believe this.. This is one of the saddest days ever.." UGK's Bun B sent love for Whitney and her family, "Incredible talent. Tragic downfall. Prayers for Miss Cissy and her daughter Bobbi. #RIPWhitney."
Earlier today, reports surfaced that Whitney Houston died suddenly in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton Hotel at the age of 48. Her representative Kristin Foster confirmed the singer's passing. Further details on the cause of death remain unknown.
Houston, the daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston and the late John Houston, was discovered by Arista Records honcho Clive Davis in the early-1980s and he would go on to guide her career to the tune of 170 million albums sold. The iconic singer's hit songs — from "The Greatest Love of All" to "I Will Always Love You" — are now radio staples and firmly entrenched in the pop music canon.
Her influence can be heard on a generation of young singers who cite her as an inspiration, from Mariah Carey, Brandy and Monica to Christina Aguilera and Beyonce.
But Houston was dogged by her demons. In a 2009 interview with Oprah Winfrey she detailed the years of addiction and the toll they had taken on her personal and professional lives.