A pioneer in the country’s Bacardi house scene.

Marvin Ramalepe aka DJ Spoko, the South African artist who pioneered the city’s Bacardi house scene, has died at age 35. His death was confirmed by a representative to Resident Advisor who said it was due to complications from a long-term illness.

Originally born in the town of Tzaneen, Spoko began producing early on and later learned sound engineering with mentorship from Shangaan Electro’s Nozinja. His approach to the country’s kwaito house proved so unique it developed into its own style dubbed “Bacardi house”.

A classic example of his production work can be heard on DJ Mujava’s ‘Township Funk’ from 2007. A breakout single for the scene, it became one of the first South African club tracks to gain international attention.

Spoko went on to tour internationally and released music on True Panther Sound, Lit City Trax and more. His last release was a split EP with Matias Aguayo on the producer’s label Cómeme.

Find tributes to Spoko below and listen to some of his work below.