Skibadee: Influential drum and bass MC dies at 47

By Mark Savage
BBC Music Correspondent

Published
Image source, MC Skibadee / Facebook
Image caption,
Tributes to MC Skibadee poured in from fans and fellow musicians

Skibadee, the respected and award-winning drum and bass MC, has died at the age of 47, his family have said.

The London-born musician was known for his double-time "speed rap" delivery, which had a major impact on the sound of British rap.

Tributes poured in after his family posted the news on Facebook.

"Another pioneer gone!" wrote So Solid Crew singer Lisa Maffia. DJ Fresh said: "His contribution to drum and bass can never be equalled."

DJ Fresh added: "He was first and foremost a great guy I always really enjoyed spending time with. Goodbye old friend, we will keep your memory alive forever."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Skibadee got his start on pirate radio in 1993 and went on to perform with Shy FX, Harry Shotta and Stevie Hyper D.

Shotta shared a lengthy tribute on Twitter, saying: "You was my hero, you was the reason I wanted to spit to Jungle, you was my inspiration & my role model.

"We travelled the world together, we smashed up stages and festivals they said we would never be welcome on. We did it, me & you bro, & I couldn't have wished to do it with anyone better. I love you with all my heart & I will make sure your legacy lives on forever."

Charlie Tee, sometime host of BBC Radio 1's drum and bass show, wrote: "His own unique style of MC-ing will forever go down in the history books as the stuff of legends. A true pioneer in D&B and the most infectious aura."

"We lost another legend," added DJ Semtex. "Rest in peace Skibadee, pioneer, and true lyrical master."

Other tributes came from Tinie Tempah, Mary Anne Hobbes, DJ Friction, Ghetts, Gorgon City, Plastician and Twin B.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Although he never achieved mainstream success, Skibadee was a hugely influential figure, winning the BBC 1Xtra award for best MC in 2006 and a lifetime achievement accolade at the 2010 Drum and Bass Awards.

Tracks like Died In Your Arms and Streetfighter MC helped define a British rap style distinct from US hip-hop, ultimately paving the way for grime.

Among aficionados, Skibadee was renowned for his collaborations with fellow jungle and drum and bass MC Shabba D; and the 2Xfreestyle project, which merged drum and bass tempos with hip-hop beats, creating the double-time effect.

He was also a member of drum and bass group SASASAS, who released an album Unite (DJ Mix) last year and, more recently, the single Finally.

Speaking to Grime Report TV in 2017, he said his million-words-a-minute style developed because he "was trying to do something different to what everyone else was doing", but that it "always seemed to naturally go with the music".

He also revealed that his stage name came from "little terminologies" he developed with friends in the 1990s.

"Most of the mandem I used to roll with came up with the term, 'Skibadeeboiiii!' They used to say that all the time, and it just kind of stuck with me."

In the statement on Sunday, one of his children said: "I unfortunately come with some with sad news to say that Skibadee has passed away. As a family we ask for some privacy, but may he rest in peace."

Hello everyone, as Alphonsos first born i unfortunately come some with sad news to say that skibadee has passed away, as a family we ask for some privacy but may he rest in peace ❤️❤️❤️

Posted by MC Skibadee on Sunday, February 27, 2022
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original post on Facebook

No cause of death has been given. They later returned to Facebook to thank fans for their messages of support, and to correct erroneous reports of their father's age.

"I am extremely heartbroken with this sad news and still in shock," they added.

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