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Christian Eede
23 April 2024, 14:07

MC Duke, UK hip-hop and hardcore pioneer, dies

Goldie, Slipmatt, Chuck D and others have paid tribute to the late artist

MC Duke, UK hip-hop and hardcore pioneer, dies

Pioneering UK hip-hop and hardcore figure MC Duke, real name Kashif Adham, has died.

News of his passing was confirmed this week by Suburban Base Records, a label that the artist worked with a number of times. "MC Duke solidified his status as a legend in the UK music scene," an Instagram post shared by the imprint said. "As a forefather of UK hip-hop, his influence reverberates through generations, laying the foundation for the vibrant UK rap scene that we know today, and we expect many will pay tribute at this devastating news."

Goldie, Slipmatt, Chuck D and Loxy are among the drum & bass, jungle and hardcore figures who have paid tribute to Adham on social media and the comments section of Suburban Base Records' Instagram post announcing his death. In a tribute shared to Facebook, Jumpin' Jack Frost wrote: "Duke was a true trailblazer who was definitely one of the first UK mcs with a major record deal... His legacy will be remembered as someone who helped to shape UK Mcs from Jungle to Grime we all owe MC DUKE a lot." 

Having grown up in East London, Adham got his breakthrough at a DMC World Championships afterparty, where the tournament's winner claimed that he could beat anyone who challenged him. Adham took him on and was deemed to be the victor, with UK hip-hop label Music Of Life subsequently signing him in 1987.

He released two albums and a number of singles with the label before going on to establish a connection with key UK rave label Shut Up And Dance Records. Having made the jump from UK hip-hop to figuring more on hardcore and rave beats, he founded his own hardcore and jungle imprint, called Hard Disk. 

In 2007, he featured among a number of other pioneering UK rappers on Charlie Sloth's track 'Can't Forget About UK'.

Read Suburban Base Records' full tribute to Adham, and listen to 'I'm Riffin' below.