The passing of the underrated legend, Cadet Cadet
9th February 2019 marks a devastating date in the UK Grime music scene, with the passing of rapper Blaine Cameron Johnson, better known as Cadet, in a car crash on his way to a gig less than a month short of his 29th birthday.
South London rapper was en route to perform at Keele University where a collision between the taxi he was in and a car caused for his much unexpected and sudden death, with the drivers and other passengers currently being treated for serious injuries.
Cadet first rose to fame from his association with the Gipset crew in 2006, which also comprised his cousin Krept and their close friend Konan, who broke up in 2013 after the members focused on their solo careers whilst Krept and Konan signed their own deal as a duo.
His contribution to the music scene cannot be understated, with his first freestyle ‘Slut’, which dropped in 2015, receiving almost 3 million views, and his later freestyle on Link Up TV receiving 2 million views, both as of 2019.
He wasn’t just a musician, but a storyteller, somehow achieving the difficult task of relating his very specific life experiences, to his listeners on a more universal scale, his relatability paying homage to his humble nature as a person.
The tragedy of his death is further heightened given its occurrence at a time when he had just began getting the recognition he deserved.
His single ‘Advice’ featuring Deno Driz, released in 2018, peaked at number 27 on the UK Top 40, and had received over 18 million views on YouTube by February of this year. He was also due to perform at Wireless Festival this summer, which was one of his aspirations after Krept brought him on stage with him and Konan in 2015. It has been confirmed that his slot for his Wireless performance will now include a tribute to his life.
He also did big things for many people in the industry in terms of their careers, touching the lives of many around him which they shared in the form of inspirational messages being exchanged between them and Cadet. Many artists took to Instagram to express their condolences for his family and friends. Stormzy captioned his photo with ‘Everyone loves you - look at what everyone has to say about your heart and character. This guy ALWAYS, as in literally every single time I see him greets me with a “I love you lil’ bro”’, shedding light upon the beauty of his character as a human being. Krept said ‘Your last words to me were literally “Just know I love you, for real for real”, urging fans to resolve any issues they have with loved ones following his and Cadet’s fall out when they were younger, and expressing how happy he was that they had had a chance to resolve these issues whilst he was alive.
Fans gathered in Hyde Park in central London to release balloons to celebrate and grieve the passing of the underrated legend on Sunday. His mother’s strength at the public tribute was admirable, urging his fans to not keep ‘pent up anger’ inside them as anger only leads to more anger, celebrating that her son’s life was ‘not in vain’ and proud that his music had touched his fans in whatever way that was enough for them to come out to the gathering.
Cousin Krept pledged to keep his name, the iconic and instantly recognisable ‘Cadet Cadet’, alive.
He was not just an amazing musician but an amazing person, and his unexpected and breaking death just serves as a reminder to never take things nor people for granted.
In loving memory of Blaine.