Electro hip hop pioneer Malcolm McLaren dies

Malcolm McLaren, former manager of The Sex Pistols, and a pioneer of early electro hip hop sounds from New York, has died from a rare form of cancer in Switzerland, aged 64.

McLaren came to prominence in the mid 70s, when he and partner Vivienne Westwood opened the cult clothing shop Sex in London’s Chelsea. Always fashion-conscious and quick to spot trends, McLaren became a key figure in establishing the look of the burgeoning Punk movement, and set about putting together the Sex Pistols.

By the early 80s, McLaren had been living in New York City, and had become fascinated with hip hop culture – particularly street dancing and breaking – which at that point was still very much underground. He recorded the song ‘Buffalo Girls’, a pop-friendly take on the type of street dancing rhythms that were rocking the city. In 1983 he repeated the process with ‘Double Dutch’. He also produced ‘Hey DJ’ by The World Famous Supreme Team.

McLaren remained a charismatic and eccentric figure throughout his career. His appearance and demeanour made him an unlikely hero to the hip hop world, but he rarely garnered anything other than respect for bringing the genre to the early attention of the mainstream.

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