Nigeria’s reggae icon, Ras Kimono is dead. Kimono died earlier Sunday at the Lagoon Hospital, Bourdillon, Ikoyi, Lagos barely three weeks after he celebrated his 60th birthday.
Born Ekeleke Elumelu, Kimono who hailed from Delta State dropped his debut album Under Pressure, led by the single “Rum-Bar Stylée”, which was a big hit in 1989. Shortly before he released his solo album, he was in a group called The Jastix along with Amos McRoy and Majek Fashek.
He started out his career, firstly as a student of Gbenoba Secondary School Agbor and later as a member of the legendary Jastix Reggae Ital, alongside Majek Fashek, Amos McRoy Jegg and Black Rice Osagie.
His music was greatly influenced by the poverty, inequality and hardship he witnessed in his early life. He released his solo debut album “Under pressure” on the Premier Music label in 1989, which propelled him to instant continental stardom. The album had hits like “Under pressure”, “Rasta get jail” and the massive hit “Rhumba style”. He later released a string of hit albums, touring all over Africa, Europe and the USA, promoting his brand of Reggae music. He has won several awards including the Nigeria Music Awards, Fame Music Awards and many more. by 2010, He was still performing to a loyal fan-base of all ages and his music is still played on Radio, throughout West Africa. Kimono served a long apprenticeship on the Nigerian music circuit, experimenting with a number of styles, before making his late 80s breakthrough as a reggae singer.