New York City’s own Voodoo Ray has passed away. The dancing legend, who was well-known both in nightlife and hip-hop circles, died at the age of 50. While no cause of death has been revealed, friends and family of the frequent music video standout took to social media to send condolences and share their feelings of loss.
Before we get to that, it’s worth it to see the astounding number of appearances the dancer made in videos we all loved. XXL posted a pretty great run-down of the world-famous videos that featured Ray’s fancy footwork.
“Throughout his career, Ray, born name Raymond Ultarte, showcased his top-tier footwork in visuals for some of the biggest musicians in the world, including the likes of JAY-Z (‘Sunshine’), MC Lyte (‘Ice Cream Dream’), Run-DMC (‘It’s Like That’), Mariah Carey (‘Honey,’ ‘The Roof’), Wyclef Jean (‘Trying to Stay Alive,’ ‘Pussycat’), Backstreet Boys (‘Larger Than Life’), Black Moon (‘Two Turntables & a Mic’), Bounty Killer (‘It’s a Party’), Rah Digga (‘Party and Bullshit’), Nikki D (‘Wasted’), Busta Rhymes (‘Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See’), Cuban Link (‘Scandalous’), Doug E. Fresh (‘Busting Out’), Monie Love (‘Born 2 B.R.E.E.D.’) and more.”
That would be a stunning resume on its own, but he also facilitated key parts of New York nightlife by booking DJs and helping to run legendary club nights. With DJ Tony Touch, the dancer formerly known as Boogie Ray ran the much-loved Funkbox party in New York.
His influence and large circle of friends was evident in the response to news. Tony Touch posted a blacked out image to Instagram with no caption to express his grief over the news of his close friend’s passing, but he was far from the only person to express loss over the heartbreaking news.
“I literally just got news from Toca that Voodoo Ray has passed,” wrote DJ Premier on Twitter. “I Told Tony Don’t Shut It Down!!! Let’s Celebrate His Life R.I.P. Ray.”
“I can’t believe I’m typing this. RIP my brother from another @mrvoodooray,” wrote Just Blaze on Instagram. “So much I want to say that I can’t manage to say anything at all. See you at the pool tables on the other side.”
“Voodoo Ray passed?” wrote an incredulous Questlove on Twitter. “Damn man RIP.”
“Rest In Power To One Of New York City’s Finest, Dance Floor General, Mr. Voodoo Ray Ultarte,” wrote DJ Clark Kent on Instagram.
Plenty of New York DJs who were given a leg up by Ray and Tony took a moment to pay tribute to the late local legend.
Mister Cee posted a photo from the last time he saw Voodoo and shared how he helped him come up:
“Rest In Peace To A Very Good Dude Voodoo Ray @mrvoodooray Ray Along With Tony Touch @djtonytouch & Danny Castro @dcashflow74Gave So Many Of Us DJ’s In NYC An Opportunity To DJ @ They Toca Tues & Funkbox Parties. But Beyond That He Was The Coolest Dude You Would Ever Know. He Always Had A Smile On His Face. His Love For Music Was Impeccable. The Last Time I Saw Ray Was @ His 50th Bday Party In April @ Toca Tues @ Cielo In Manhattan. Rakim Was Scheduled To Come To His 50th Bday Bash But He Couldn’t Make It So Rakim Mgr & Danny Castro Asked Me Would I Come Do A DJ Set To Cover For Rakim. When They Told Me It Was Ray’s 50th Bday I Told Them I Would Most Definitely Do It. When I Started DJ’in @ The Club That Nite I Kept Saying On The Mic ‘RAY YOU CANNOT BE 50YRS OLD’ Ray Came To The Booth & Said ‘YEAH CEE I’M REALLY 50’ This Was The Last Pic We Took Together Which Was @ My 50th Bday Bash @ Cielo In Manhattan In August Of 2016. As You Can See Ray Does Not Look 50!!!! He Looks Young & Vibrant. I’m So Glad That I Was Able To Be There For His Last Bday In Physical Form!!! GODSPEED TO VOODOO RAY!!!! YOU WILL BE SORELY MISSED!!!!! TONY TOUCH & DANNY CASTRO STAY STRONG!!!!”
Check out Tony’s tribute up top. Let us know how you feel about Voodoo Ray’s passing in the comments and be sure to SHARE this article.
Check out the XXL article here.