04/28/2014 12:19 EDT | Updated 04/28/2014 12:59 EDT

DJ E-Z Rock, Of 'It Takes Two' Fame With Rob Base, Dead At 46

DJ E-Z Rock has died at age 46.

Born Rodney Bryce, the old-school hip-hop DJ helped bring rap into the mainstream with his timeless 1988 classic "It Takes Two" with rapper Rob Base. The hit, and its follow-up "Joy and Pain," helped make their debut album, also called "It Takes Two," go seven-times platinum.

In a 2012 interview in Toronto, Rob Base explained how the Harlem duo, who had been friends since the 4th grade, re-shaped hip-hop.

"Well, I know definitely I was one of the first artists to do the hip-hop and R&B thing. When we did it, I just wanted to do something different. I didn't want to do the same thing that the other groups were doing at the time. So we just did it that way and I really didn't care what people said. There were a few groups that were saying, “Oh, you're selling out. You're this, you’re that.” And I look at them now and they can't even get one show — so hey, what the heck, I’m happy."

"Me myself, I was a street rapper in the beginning," he added. "I used to do more of the hardcore thing. But then when I started doing records, the label that I was dealing with [Profile Records], they really didn't want the hardcore stuff so we just tried to smooth it out. The people from the streets, they know where I come from and they know what I do, so that's how I keep the love right there."

As for their song's enduring success, even Base didn't have the answer. "I can't even tell you, to be honest. All I know is it’s a club banger. You throw it on in a party, everybody dances. That’s all I can say."

Bryce died on Sunday, but the cause of death has yet to be announced.

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