Obituary: UK rapper Ty, aka Ben Chijioke dies from COVID-19 at 47

Ty, the acclaimed, mercury-nominated UK hip-hop artists has died aged 47, his press team have confirmed. News came last month that he was hospitalised with Covid-19, shortly after followed by more news he was in a medically induced coma, but the signs had been more positive recently with a move out on intensive care in the last few weeks.

Always vivid in his storytelling and this utterly listenable UK drawl in his rhymes, his boom-bap style caught the imagination with fans, who took to his wit and gentle cynicism – something that came though in his 2013 interview with us, which you can read here

His debut album, 2001’s Awkward, was soon surpassed with a second one, 2003’s Up, which earned him a mercury nomination, eventually won that year by Franz Ferdinand. Further albums followed with 2006’s Closer, Special Kind of Fool in 2010, and his latest – A work of heart from last year.

Recently he had been part of UK-Hip-Hop supergroup Kingdem with Blak Twang and Rodney P.

On twitter DJ Gilles Peterson said “I’m so sad about the news that Ty passed away today. He was a huge part in the development of Hip Hop and spoken word in this country. An original no nonsense voice always sharp and witty. Today’s generation of rappers owe him a lot – a true gate opener. RIP.” while the label Big Dada who released much of his early work said it was “Devastated to hear of the passing of UK rap legend, Big Dada alumnus and activist Ty”.

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