Today, TMZ reported the death of actor Anthony “AJ” Johnson, who was best known for his roles in Friday and House Party in the 1990s, after he was found unconscious in a store at the age of 55. Due to his roles in a number of cult classic films and TV shows throughout the decades since, he was a figure of some stature in the world of hip-hop — as evidenced by the abundance of tributes from rappers like Bow Wow, Ice Cube, and Vince Staples.
“Sad to wake up to the news about AJ Johnson passing away,” Ice Cube wrote. ” Naturally funny dude who was straight outta Compton at the same time. Sorry I couldn’t bring your character Ezal back to the big screen in Last Friday.”
Bow Wow, meanwhile, revealed that he owes his entire career to AJ, who picked him out of the crowd at a show in Ohio during Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s The Chronic tour as a child.
Bow Wow reveals that the late great AJ Johnson was the person who picked him out of the crowd and pulled him on stage in Ohio during the Dre and Snoop Dogg’s Chronic on the fateful night that led to his fame. #RIPAJJohnson #Ajjohnson #Bowwow pic.twitter.com/g0Ii53HAXt
— HipHopWired (@HipHopWired) September 20, 2021
Vince Staples, meanwhile, simply shared a clip of one of AJ’s iconic roles.
Among Johnson’s other memorable roles, the actor/comedian also appeared in B*A*P*S, Def Jam’s How to Be a Player, and The Players Club. He also appeared in the video for Dr. Dre’s “Dre Day” as Sleazy-E, a parody of Eazy-E, with whom Dre was feuding at the time.