MC Skibadee, a pioneer behind the U.K.’s drum and bass scene, has passed away, his family confirmed. He was 47 years old.
The London native’s family announced his tragic passing in a statement on Sunday (Feb. 27). The cause of his death has not been confirmed.
“Hello everyone, as Alphonso’s first-born, I unfortunately come with some with sad news to say that Skibadee has passed away,” the statement read. “As a family we ask for some privacy, but may he rest in peace.”
Born Alphonso Bondzie, Skibadee first got his start on City Sound Radio in 1993. By the mid-90s, he was regularly featured at jungle — a genre of U.K. dance music — events, like Thunder & Joy and Spirit of the Jungle. Skibadee was also a resident on the London pirate radio station Kool FM and regularly appeared at events like Jungle Fever, New Jack City, Malachite, Electrybe, Designer Label Ball and Innersense
Along with Stevie Hyper D, who died in 1998, Skibadee pioneered the double-time sound, which involved putting a drum and bass tempo over a hip hop instrumental. He showcased the style in his 2XFreestyle series and regularly performed it with Stevie.
With a career spanning almost three decades, Skibadee was known for pushing vocal drum and bass into the mainstream. In 1997, he was awarded the Stevie Hyper D Lifetime Achievement Award at the Drum & Bass Awards. He later received Best Crowd Hyper MC and Best Crowd Lyrical MC, among other accolades, and won Best MC two years in a row at the Accelerated Culture Drum & Bass Awards.
Skibadee was also a close collaborator of MC Shabba D’s since the 2000s, forming the duo S.A.S.
Since news of his death broke on Sunday; fans, collaborators and friends have reflected on his musical and cultural influence on social media.
“Rest in peace to the greatest of all time & Legend, MC Skibadee,” fellow MC Eksman tweeted. “You inspired a generation of Mic men & women from all genres. You were the blueprint of a MC & will forever be remembered as one of the greatest to ever do this. You will be deeply missed bro. Till we meet again.”
“When I released my debut solo album in 2004, I knew you were the MC I wanted to work with,” Dynamite MC added. “Wish I had more photos with you, but I have great memories and we made a great song! [Skibadee] Rest in power brother.”
See more tweets about Skibadee’s passing below. Rest in Peace.