Kidd Creole: The rise and fall of a hip hop pioneer

From the top of the rap heap to a maintenance job to an arrest over a fatal stabbing of a homeless man.

That is Kidd Creole's trajectory.

The founding member of the first hip hop group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Grandmaster Flash emcee Kidd Creole was arrested Wednesday for fatally stabbing a homeless man. He was arraigned Thursday afternoon in a Manhattan criminal court on a murder charge and was returned to jail without bail. His lawyer declined comment.

Nathaniel Glover, Kidd Creole's real name, was walking in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday near where he worked a security and maintenance job when he passed by 55-year-old John Jolly, police said.

Jolly said something that offended Glover, and they argued, said the official. The fight escalated until Glover stabbed Jolly and then walked off, authorities said.

Glover reportedly confessed to stabbing the homeless man and is expected in court later Thursday. But this isn’t Glover’s first brush with trouble in a career that started with a flash, before it fizzled.

Glover the poet

Born in the Bronx, Glover became interested in poetry. The poems were a way that he could express himself in a creative way, according to his website.


His website says that Glover was shy and “average at sports” and would rhyme in order to talk to girls.

Along with his brother Melvin Glover – known as Melle Mel – Glover developed their own unique style of rhyming and began to use emcees in their songs.

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five

Robert Keith Wiggins, known as Keef Cowboy, joined the Glovers in 1976 and formed the group Grandmaster Flash and the 3 MC’s – a precursor to the Furious Five, according to the group’s website.

When Eddie Morris, called Mr. Ness and Scorpio, and Guy Todd Williams, called Rahiem, joined the group, it became Grandfather Flash and the Furious Five.


Joseph Saddler, also known as Grandmaster Flash, would bring his turntables and speakers to parks, and the group became renowned for its live performances. Wiggins – who died in 1989 – was especially known for his scat routine, according to the hip hop group’s website.

The group eventually signed with Sugar Hill Records.

The group’s most famous song, “The Message,” was called a breakthrough in hip hop by Rolling Stone. Its lyrics include the line, “Don't push me 'cause I'm close to the edge. I’m trying not to lose my head.”

Released in 1982, the song was credited as revealing urban life and highlighting urban decay. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2012.

The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 – becoming the first hip hop group to do so.


While the band officially broke up years ago, Glover’s Twitter page features an advertisement that says the Furious Five are expected to play at Lady B’s Annual Basement Party with several other artists, including the Sugarhill Gang, on August 20 in Philadelphia.

Other arrests

Glover was arrested in 1982 for possession of weapon, according to PIX 11. He was also arrested for the same charges in 1995 and 2007.


A 1997 arrest record for Glover is sealed, PIX 11 reported.

Deadly stabbing

Glover encountered the man in midtown Manhattan Wednesday and reportedly told police that he heard a gay slur. He said the pair exchanged heated words before Glover “shivved him twice in the chest,” a police source told the New York Daily News.

Glover thought Jolly was hitting on him, the source said.

At the time of the altercation, Jolly was drunk, the Daily News reported.

Jolly, a registered sex offender who was homeless, served time for sexually assaulting and attacking a woman. He had been staying at a shelter in the Bowery and had at least 16 prior arrests.

Police initially thought Jolly had passed out from the heat but eventually discovered that he was bleeding from the chest. The temperature in New York Wednesday reached the mid-80s with high humidity.

Glover was taken into custody at his Bronx home on Wednesday and was later charged with murder.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.