Search Menu
Home Latest News Menu

MC Conrad has died aged 52

Widely regarded as a driving force behind drum 'n' bass, MC Conrad first rose to prominence for his Speed residency at London's Mars Bar alongside LTJ Bukem

  • 1 May 2024
MC Conrad has died aged 52

Drum 'n' bass pioneer MC Conrad has reportedly died aged 52.

Family and friends of the MC Conrad, real name Conrad Thompson, confirmed the news in a series of tributes on social media today (April 30). No cause of death has been confirmed yet.

Widely known as a driving force behind drum 'n' bass, and one of the genre's most influential vocalists, MC Conrad first became entrenched within the rave scene in the early '90s — taking him from his native Northampton to London.

Inspired by his father’s record collection of ska, rocksteady, bluebeat and reggae; MC Conrad would meld together the music of his Black Caribbean heritage with the hip hop and electro sounds trickling through the UK club circuit.

In 1994 Thompson began his Speed residency at London's Mars Bar, where he would provide vocals over sets by LTJ Bukem and Fabio. The residency helped bolster the popularity of the venue, drum 'n' bass and positioned MC Conrad as a seminal voice in the genre and one of the UK's most famous MCs.

Alongside Bukem, he appeared at the likes of London's Ministry of Sound, California's Coachella, Ibiza's Space and more; sharing the stage with Carl Cox, Snoop Dogg, Grandmaster Flash and Jeff Mills.

Conrad worked to elevate the drum 'n' bass genre as a label head. First with Bukem on Good Looking Records; established in 1991, the imprint helped popularise the intelligent drum 'n' bass sound — hosting releases from Photek, Source Direct, Seba and more.

In 2020 he established the first digital-first drum 'n' bass label Resonance, under the mission statement of platforming forward-thinking drum 'n' bass music. To date the label has seen 13 releases, including productions from Conrad himself, under his production alias Con*Natural.

On Instagram DJ Zinc wrote: "Rest easy Conrad. Heartbreaking to think another massive part of the dnb scene is gone - the bukem and conrad combo was as good as it gets. he was always joking, always fun to hang out with. Golden Girl will be on repeat today - one of my all time favourites as i know it is for so many others - can't find it on here but Soul Patrol is another great Conrad track."

Hospital Records paid tribute on Twitter, writing: "We are devastated to hear of the passing of MC Conrad. A truly iconic and unique artist, he helped define and build the world of jungle & drum and bass music. All our love and thoughts are with his family and friends."

Addiction Records head Ros wrote: "I’m shocked… Rest in Peace brother".

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

Read some more tributes below.

Megan Townsend is Mixmag's Deputy Editor, follow her on Twitter

Load the next article