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Olivia Stock
30 April 2024, 16:30

MC Conrad, pioneering drum & bass vocalist, dies aged 52

The beloved British vocalist, producer and label founder leaves behind “an unmatched legacy”

MC Conrad, legendary drum & bass vocalist, dies aged 52

Pioneering drum & bass vocalist MC Conrad has died at the age of 52.

Tributes to the influential MC, real name Conrad Thompson, began pouring in from across the drum & bass and jungle scene this morning (30th April). News of his passing was confirmed by close family and friends on social media. No cause of death has been shared as yet.

A statement from Clinic Talent, who represented MC Conrad, paid tribute to “one of the most recognisable and best-loved voices in D&B.”

“He leaves behind him an unmatched legacy,” they continued. “Conrad will be deeply missed by all of us, and by all of you who were touched by his performances over the years.”

Widely revered as a crucial figure in the advancement of drum & bass as one of the genre’s most influential vocalists, MC Conrad entered Britain’s burgeoning rave scene in the early ’90s, after starting out the previous decade in hip-hop and electro circuits. His talents quickly took him from his native Northampton to London where he formed a visionary partnership with DJ and producer, LTJ Bukem, and became a key voice for Bukem’s label Good Looking Records.

Conrad lent his powerful lyrics and soulful freestyle rhymes on collaborations with PFM, Adam F, PHD, Total Science, Zero T, Makoto, and more. Some of his most popular tracks included ‘Words 2B Heard Meets the Western’, ‘Still You Want More’ and ‘Merchant Blessings’.

Alongside Bukem, Conrad would hold a legendary Speed residency at London’s Milk Bar, as well as performing at pre-eminent clubs including Ministry of Sound, Cream, fabric, and Space Ibiza. Along the way they shared the stage with, among many others, Carl Cox, Snoop Dogg, De La Soul, Goldie, Roni Size, Lauren Hill, Herbie Hancock, Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, and Jeff Mills.

Passionate about platforming the next generation of talent, Conrad founded the digital-first drum & bass label Resonance in late 2020. To date the imprint has seen 13 releases, including productions from Conrad himself, under his production alias Con*Natural.

Drum & bass label Technique Recordings paid tribute to the iconic performer, writing: “RIP MC Conrad. One of the originators and a level-setting master of the craft of lyrical D&B emceeing.”

Close friend Karis O’Hara also shared kind words on X: “Conrad, my friend.. we chatted weeks ago about collaborating on a track, and then he went quiet. only to hear the devastating news today... he was kind to me, especially during covid. thank you for being a light, and the words & music. rip MC Conrad, you’ll be missed...”

Read more tributes from friends and peers of MC Conrad, and listen to his collaboration with LTJ Bukem on ‘Progression Sessions 1’ below.

Read about how LTJ Bukem’s ‘Logical Progression’ – on which MC Conrad featured on multiple tracks – expressed the duo’s unique vision for drum & bass here.