'Long live Mr Fat'
Hip-hop MC and TV presenter Ashley Titus (36)—better known as Mr Fat—died on Wednesday morning in Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital of natural causes, the pay-TV music channel MK said.
“He had a heart problem due to his weight. We know that he was hospitalised for two weeks in October. However, he was at his family home when he fell ill again and was rushed back to hospital,” said Haddad Viljoen, MK marketing and publicity manager, in a statement.
Viljoen described Titus as a pioneer of hip-hop, South African and Afrikaans music, as well as a respected community leader.
Born in Bonteheuwel on the Cape Flats on December 28 1970, Titus started making hip-hop music in the 1980s, collaborating with various other musicians and hosting a hip-hop show on Bush Radio.
These activities helped him launch his solo career.
In the 1990s, Titus shot to fame as MC with Cape Flats hip-hop sensation Brasse vannie Kaap—an act that broke musical boundaries to win over rock and hip-hop audiences, whether black, coloured or white.
In an interview this year published in the Star‘s entertainment section, Titus described the music of Brasse vannie Kaap thus: “The news network with one hell of a flavour, it’s Cape Flats, it’s South African, it’s universal. It’s a passion that’s going on, it’s like everyday life, it’s a balance of yes and no, it’s an act of will, it’s seeing the world through your own eyes, not being scared to take on the norm or the extraordinary voyages of time from now and then. That’s BVK, Brasse Vannie Kaap in a nutshell.”
Acclaimed hip-hop DJ Ready D is another musician who became well known through his work with Brasse vannie Kaap.
On the MK music channel, Titus presented a show called Hip Hop, which also introduced new hip-hop artists to the show’s audience.
“Don’t try to be someone else. Just learn to be yourself, that’s going to be important if you want to be an artist. Don’t be scared to take on the rough waters, because surely at the end there will be smooth water,” Titus advised budding artists in the Star interview.
“Mr Fat’s contribution, not only in the world of music, but also as leader and pioneer on many levels, will always be remembered,” said Viljoen. “Long live Mr Fat.”
MK, on channel 324 on DStv, will rebroadcast, as a tribute to Titus, an episode of the show Draadloos featuring Brasse vannie Kaap on December 1 at 7.30pm and on December 2 at 3pm