Skibadee – the pioneering jungle and drum & bass MC who worked with Shy FX, Dillinja and lots more during his career – has died, aged 47.
News of his passing was confirmed on Sunday, 27th February via Skibadee's social media. No cause of death was given, though an update to the late artist's Discogs page said he died on 25th February.
Born in South London in 1975, Skibadee, real name Alfonso Bondzie, came to be seen as one of the most recognisable voices within the UK's jungle, drum & bass and rave scenes, from the mid-'90s through to the next decade.
Speaking to Grime Report TV in 2017, he said he "stumbled" into MCing after being taken to a jungle rave in 1993, at which MC Det, Ragga Twins and Navigator were on mic duties. Just weeks later, he was guesting on pirate radio as Skibadee Boy.
Bondzie gradually rose to prominence following those early radio appearances, picking up slots at raves like Thunder & Joy and Ash Attack's Jungle Spirit. The latter party gave him his first residency, and saw him on the mic for sets by key scene DJs such as Nicky Blackmarket and DJ Wildchild, who invited him onto legendary pirate radio station Kool FM for the first time.
Moving into the '00s, Skibadee collaborated on records with artists such as Shy FX, Dillinja and Teebone, and also released some of his own hip hop-oriented material. More recently, he toured widely as part of drum & bass group SASASAS, which also includes Shabba D, Harry Shotta, Stormin, DJ Phantasy and Macky Gee among its ranks.
Tributes have come from throughout the drum & bass and jungle scenes following news of Skibadee's passing – you can read some of them below.