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UK music world pays tribute to influential drum-and-bass MC Skibadee

The jungle pioneer's death was announced yesterday (February 27)

By Joe Goggins

Skibadee in a photo posted to Facebook, July 2021
The pioneering jungle and drum-and-bass MC has died at the age of 47. (Photo: Skibadee/Facebook)

British musicians have paid tribute to the MC Skibadee, who has died at the age of 47.

The London-born jungle and drum-and-bass MC, born Alphonso Bondzie, was renowned for his pioneering ‘speed-rap’ style, which he once claimed was born out of a desire to do “something different to what everyone else was doing”.  

In a statement on Facebook, his eldest child announced the news of his passing yesterday (February 27). “Hello everyone, as Alphonso’s first-born, 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.”

Born in Waterloo, Skibadee was a staple of the UK’s jungle circuit and became renowned for his collaborations with fellow drum-and-bass MC Shabba D over the past two decades. He won a slew of MC awards over the years, alongside the Stevie Hyper D lifetime achievement award.

Among the many taking to social media to offer up tributes to Skibadee was veteran DJ Goldie, himself a pioneer of jungle, drum-and-bass and breakbeat in the 1990s. “FFS … shook me this has, cannot believe this,” he wrote on Instagram. “RIP KING… Way too much, way too young… one of the greatest to ever do it. A MASSIVE MASSIVE part of our culture went worldwide times over… my thoughts and prayers go out to his family.” 

“Not to sure what to say! Another pioneer gone!” added So Solid Crew singer Lisa Maffia on Twitter. “My heart goes out to your beautiful daughters, family and friends. DnB finest @therealskibagram I’m sorry to hear this news. Rest well sir #skiba #RIP.”

Also paying tribute was grime MC Ghetts, writing on Instagram: “Rip to the legend Skibadee, real pace-setter is this ting. I’m happy I got to let him know personally how much I was inspired by him growing up. My condolences to his family.” 

“When you think about how many young MCs who was inspired by Skibadee it’s crazy,” DJ Frost said on Twitter. “MCs from all genre’s all looked up to him and was inspired by how good he was . Rest easy my brother.”

The South London DJ Plastician also weighed in with reflections on the late MC’s importance. “Skibadee was your favourite MC’s favourite MC’s favourite MC,” he tweeted. “I think he was the first person I ever heard MC, and I’m sure that would be the same for a lot of people my age. Can’t underestimate the foundations that guy built for everything we’ve had since then.”

A slew of other figures also paid tribute, including DJ Semtex, Mary Anne Hobbs, Tinie Tempah and Gorgon City. Skibadee’s cause of death has not been disclosed.