This morning, an unexpected dark cloud fell on South Africa, when news broke that hip-hop pioneer, PRO Kid “Linda Mkhize (37), had passed.
By: Blacklight Writer
After a wave of tributes to the hip hop star flooded Twitter this morning, his family released a statement to confirm his death.
“The statement read: The legendary SA hip-hop artist affectionately known as Pro Kid … passed away on Wednesday. He suffered a severe seizure attack while visiting friends and paramedics were called in to assist. They did their best to revive him to no avail and called his time of death at 8.38pm.”
Before his unexpected passing, PRO seemed to be plotting a much anticipated comeback after a hiatus from the music scene. According to an interview with TshisaLive, The rapper had gone off the radar to become a counsellor in his community after accepting his gift of being a healer.
He stated in the interview: “It wasn’t really about becoming a traditional healer. It was just that when you are a spiritual person, your elders who have passed on, show you certain things. I see things, most of the time it is something that I need to do or a message to take action. People might think I am a prophet but I am not a traditional healer or prophet, I am just PRO.”
He added: “I am a leader. This gift is to help people, like those who are homeless or need support. I don’t do medicine; I just try to reach people through support and music. It is amazing how you can touch a person’s life through music or just being there.”
Watch the video for PRO Kid’s single Uthini Ngo Pro:
This year, he remerged and enchanted hip hop lovers at the Back to The City festival, proving that he is still one of the most adorned hip hop stars.
He also delivered a legendary performance at the recent Basha Uhuru festival, which would be his last public performance. The riveting performance had everyone screaming along to every lyric and with such finesse; the pioneer rapper reminded everyone why he is considered a legend in the South African hip hop landscape.
PRO’s arrival in the music scene was a significant one. His debut album “Heads & Tales”, which spawned the hit single “Wozobona”, would change the face of local hip hop forever and inspire a string of future Hip hop stars. While many local rappers were still trying to emulate American rappers, Pro came with a sound that was proudly South African and represented the kasi life.
“I looked at PRO and it was just him on stage – the way he controlled the mic and the crowd – I wanted that.” – K.O
His third effort, Dankie San (2007), cemented his status as a hip hop star. It spawned numerous hits, like Bhampa and Sekele, and the album title “Dankie San”, which he also named his clothing label after, would become a popular phrase in pop culture.
While some may feel like the rapper never got the respect he deserved from the industry and his peers, a few rappers always referred to him as their idol. During a recent interview with Blacklight, K.O, cited him as his biggest influence and inspired him to be a solo rapper. “PRO Kid was like “the guy”, for me!” he said.
“I had made songs by myself but I always wondered what would happen if I had to make a whole album or be on stage by myself. I looked at Pro and it was just him on stage – the way he controlled the mic and the crowd – I wanted that.”
Since his passing, many rappers and fans have taken to social media to pay respect and relay stories about how he inspired them. There is now, even a trending hashtag #Prokidchallenge with people posting videos of themselves covering one of PRO’s songs.