South African hip-hop pioneer killed

Prominent South African rapper Nkululeko “Flabba” Habedi was killed at his home in Johannesburg at approximately 2am on Monday 9 March. He was 38 years old.

RIP: Nkululeko “Flabba” Habedi
RIP: Nkululeko “Flabba” Habedi

Flabba was best known for being part of groundbreaking hip-hop crew Skwatta Kamp, one of the most successful hip-hop groups in South Africa. Since their formation in 1996, Skwatta Kamp released five albums, starting with their 2001 debut Skwatta Kampain. Two subsequent releases, Mkhukhu Funkshen (2004) and Washumkhukhu (2005), sold over of 25 000 units. The group also shared a stage with notable touring acts such as Talib Kweli, Dead Prez and Basement Jaxx.

Members of the seven-man group have been working on solo projects over the past few years. Flabba released his debut album, Nkuli vs Flabba, featuring the hit ‘Isbhamu Somdoko’, which earned a South African Music Award (SAMA) for Best Rap Album in 2007. Swatta Kamp’s fifth album Fair and Skwear was released in 2009.

Flabba’s most recent single, ‘Nay’Inkinga’, featured JR and was released in December 2014. He was as also a well-respected producer for the likes of JR and featured on tracks by stars such as HHP, Lira and Kabomo. He was last seen in public on Friday night when he performed on the TV show, Live Amp. He had been attending the birthday party of bandmate Lebo “Shugasmakx” Mothibe and rapper JR over the weekend.

Flabba is survived by his mother and two children. Shocked family, friends and neighbours gathered at his home in Alexandra, Johannesburg, where he was killed. South African celebrities, fellow musicians and fans took to social media to express their condolences as news of his death broke early on Monday morning.

Skwatta Kamp bandmate Siya “Slikour” Metane struggled to hold back his emotions as he spoke of his friend. He told Destiny Connect: “I got a call from his brother this morning, breaking the news to me… I was with him yesterday. We were at Shugasmakx’ and JR’s birthday party. And before that we were together on Saturday at the AXE event,” said the rapper.

Slikour said he could not comment on the events leading up to Flabba’s death “out of respect to his family,” but he was devastated by the news. “He was such a great guy. I can’t describe him in just one sentence. He was such a big character.”

Police have confirmed that a woman – believed to be his girlfriend – has been arrested in connection with the murder. “At this stage we can confirm that a well-known musician was allegedly stabbed to death,” said police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Katlego Mogale. “His girlfriend is in custody and she is expected to appear in court soon.”

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