Reggae icon, Ras Kimono dies at 60


Reggae icon, Ras Kimono has been reported dead.

Kimono recently celebrated his 60th birthday with friends and family and was supposed to travel to the United States before his demise.

According to reports, he died yesterday, Sunday, June 10, 2018 after complaining that he was feeling funny.

He was rushed to the Lagoon hospital on the Island, where he gave up the ghost.

Following the news of Kimono’s death, some Nigerians have begun to wish him farewell on social media.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Steve Ayorinde on his Instagram handle, bid farewell to the reggae legend.

Senator Dino Melaye, in a post on Twitter, also expressed sorrow at the news of Kimono’s death.

The Senator said “Death why! Why! My brother and my friend. Legend Ras Kimono rest in Peace. What a black day! What an unceremonious exit. I love you and will miss you. Sad sad sad.”

Ras Kimono was known for his frank talk about artistes who do drugs.

In an interview with The Nation, he spoke about the constant use of alcohol and drugs by younger artistes in Nigeria.

According to him, many of them will be in rehab or run mad in the next 10 years.

“With the rate at which our young entertainers are abusing drugs, and alcohol, many of them will be raving mad, in asylums, or rehab in the next 10 years”

Kimono, who claims to be a vegetarian, said he does not use drugs including cannabis, and also does not take alcohol.

Life and times of the reggae legend

Ras Kimono was 60 years old, when he passed away on the afternoon of Sunday, June 10 2018 after he slumped and was rushed to a hospital in Ikoyi, where he gave up the ghost.

While Ras Kimono may not be too familiar with followers of modern day Nigerian music, lovers of the genre called Reggae will eternally remember his contributions, personal struggles, legacy and the music he left behind.

Born Ukeleke Elumelu Onwubuya, Ras Kimono alongside his Massive Dread Band came into prominence following the release of his debut album, Under Pressure under the label, Premier Music in 1989.

Prior to this, Ras Kimono who was born in Delta State was already known in music circles as he was an ever present face at bars and clubs performing on a weekly basis as a member of the band, The Jastiz had other talented acts like Amos McRoy Jegg, Black Rice Osagie and Majek Fashek.

His Songs

The album which had breakout singles like Under Pressure, Natty Get Jail, Kill Apartheid, Gimme Likkle Sugar, a song that touched on police brutality and bad governance with the massive hit single, Rhumba Style were to however establish his presence on the scene and make him a household name.

The success of the album opened Ras Kimono to a global audience, as this was a time when Reggae music was the leading genre in the country and he was able to tour across Africa, Europe and the United States, winning numerous awards along the way.

The legacies of Ras Kimono

For Ras Kimono, he was more than just an artiste as through his music, which was greatly influenced by the hardship and inequality he witnessed, he became a voice for the people.

While Rhumba Style was entertaining on one for the dance-floor, Under Pressure was his reflective state addressing situation within the polity under the military government of General Ibrahim Babangida.

Ras Kimono was also one of the very first Nigerian artistes that could properly infuse the Jamaican Patois in his delivery, standing him out from the crowd of other Reggae acts at the time.

Ras Kimono was to later release three other successful albums in We No Wan in 1989, What’s Gwan and Rub A Dub in 1990 and had concluded works on a 4 track EP late last year.

His album, What’s Gwan was also a major success as he touched on subject matters like the legislation of marijuana, Apartheid and colonialism, sealing his place as a force to reckon with on the African continent.


Ras Kimono, despite being a Reggae icon was one who never smoked, a vegetarian for 27 years and was known for his traditional dreadlocks, which he carried for over 30 years.

His career

The Reggae icon was to later take a break from the scene, relocating to America for many years with his wife and two daughters, only returning in 2009, where he became a member of the Copyright Organisation of Nigeria (COSON) and performed at several events in an attempt to resuscitate his career.

Barely a month ago, the Reggae icon marked his 37 years on stage and he was planning to hold a concert later in the year with the inclusion of a big Jamaican Reggae artist.

Throughout the span of his career, Ras Kimono earned reverence among industry colleagues for his passion, outspoken nature and indelible mark on the music scene.


Ras Kimono has passed away but he will be remembered, celebrated and his legacies documented for generations unborn, because for 60 years he was a man who was on a mission and with music as his tool, he brought hope and joy with his message staying ever true till date.

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