Legendary Detroit Musician Amp Fiddler Dead At 65, X Salutes The Legend

Legendary Detroit Musician Amp Fiddler Dead At 65, X Salutes The Legend

Source: Eric CATARINA / Getty

The Detroit music community is mourning the passing of funk legend Joseph “Amp” Fiddler who has passed away at the age of 65. 

According to a post on his official Instagram, the beloved performer died after “an extensive and noble battle with cancer.” 

The influential producer and musician is credited as being an instrumental force in the development of the career of James “J. Dilla” Yancey. It was Fiddler who taught Dilla how to use the Akai MPC sampling machine when the two lived as neighbors in the historic Conant Gardens neighborhood in Detroit. 

A trained pianist, Fiddler played keys for George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic from 1985 to 1996. A post on the Funkateer’s official Facebook page salutes Fiddler, “Rest in eternal musical excellence Parliament-Funkadelic keyboardist Joseph Anthony “Amp” Fiddler (May 17th, 1958-December 17th, 2023). Fly on Amp! We love you dearly!” 

On his own, Fiddler worked with Moodymann, Jamiroquai, and Prince, among others. His keyboard playing also appears on Seal’s 1994 hit “Kiss from a Rose.” In 1990 he released his first solo album With Respect under the alias Mr. Fiddler, followed by 2004’s Waltz of a Ghetto Fly and most recently 2017’s Amp Dog Knights, according to Detroit Metro Times. 

Messages of love and condolences have been pouring in from across the world of Hip-Hop. Roots drummer, Questlove wrote on Instagram, “Rest easy brother Amp. For all those talks during the Pfunk tour. For all the music. Especially of course mentoring the one who mentored us (Dilla)——thank you brother #AmpFiddler” 

Dan Charnas, author of the book Dilla Time, shared a message and an excerpt from his book where he explored how Dilla and Amp met.. “Some people give and ask for things in return, keep score, make sure they get theirs. Some people don’t. The latter group are quite rare. Joseph Anthony Fiddler was a true mentor. He transformed countless lives with his generosity. Thank you, Amp, for transforming mine. Thinking of all his people people today.”

Detroit Hip-Hop artists are deeply morning with many sharing memories of the legendary artist. 

Messages of love and respect also poured in from X (formerly Twitter). 

RIP Amp Fiddler

A multi-instrumental Artist himself, Amp was KEY to the careers & catalogues of Legends like Prince, P-Funk, George Clinton, Jamiroquai, Maxwell etc.

From docuseries ‘Hip-Hop Evolution’, Amp discusses introducing Dilla to Q-Tip, & inevitably, the world! pic.twitter.com/VWdiptgyCe

— Evezzy-E (@EvezzyE) December 18, 2023

Every time I say “Detroit gave the world sound”, I’m talking about people like Amp Fiddler.

Rest Peacefully. pic.twitter.com/F5gs9qCVyu

— alex. (@Alex_Washington) December 18, 2023

Details about the official celebration of Amp Fiddler’s life have not been disclosed. A GoFundMe is actively seeking funds to cover his funeral expenses. 

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