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UK Hip-Hop Rap Pioneer, MC Duke, passes away at age 58

MC Duke, legendary rap icon and a forefather of United Kingdom Hip-Hop, has passed away. 

He was 58 years old.

Hailing from East London, MC Duke got his big break at a DMC World Championships afterparty, where the winner of the MC battle competition got on stage and boasted that he would beat any rapper who challenged him. Duke climbed onstage to take the rap challenge and emerged victorious.

MC Duke was subsequently signed to UK Hip-Hop label Music of Life in 1987 - via the label's A&R who witnessed the MC battle. Duke didn't bring a demo tape to the proceeding music label meeting; he rapped live in front of the owner, who immediately agreed to sign Duke afterwards.


Two albums and a string of singles followed - before MC Duke signed to Shut Up And Dance Records, one of the first labels to bridge the gap between Hip-Hop and Hardcore in the UK.

Duke continued this path over the next few years, and launched his own hardcore and jungle label, Hard Disk.


MC Duke's largest hit was the 1989 solo release “I’m Riffin”.

His discography includes Organised Rhyme (1989), Return of the Dread-I (1991), Excalibur EP (1992), Dubplate Business (1993); and several guest features on other music artists' projects.

He also continued appearing and performing at live events.


Suburban Base Records, a label that Duke often collaborated with, broke the news of Duke’s passing on Instagram:

"MC Duke solidified his status as a legend in the UK music scene... 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... "


• SOURCE: MC Duke, UK rapper and hardcore pioneer, dies. Resident Advisor >


*VIDEO: MC Duke - I'm Riffin' 1990 Remix (Live on Dancedaze - 1990). WebstaHeroes >


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