Ange Didier Huon, Ivorian musician better known to millions as DJ Arafat died at age 33, on August 12, after suffering injuries from a motorbike accident that occurred on Sunday, August 11. He died in a hospital in Abidjan, according to local reports.
Born in Yopougon, Abidjan, at a young age, he earned himself the title “king of coupé-decalé” and garnered international fame for his distinctive coupé-decalé dance, which managed to amass fans from around the world. DJ Arafat is considered the founder of coupé-décalé (meaning “cut and run”) music.
Like his love for coupé-decalé, the late superstar’s passion for motorbikes is apparent. His latest release “Moto Moto”, arguably one of his biggest hits with more than one million views on YouTube in less than a day and over 4 million views, features motorbikes front and center. A convergence of passions.
DJ Arafat “lived and fought to keep coupé-decalé music alive” and tragically, died pursuing his other passion – riding. Poignantly, his best friend also died from a motorbike accident. His first hit song “Johnatan” is dedicated to his fallen friend.
The news of his death has drawn shocked reactions from Africa and beyond, as fans and friends express their heartbreak and love for the King of coupé-decalé on social media.
Amadou Cissé has followed DJ Arafat’s music for over 13 years. Here, he pays tribute to the King:
“A giant in the African music industry has fallen … his mom was a singer too, but DJ Arafat created his own style. He was a singer, rapper, producer and dancer. He was one of the kings or “the King” of coupé-decalé ” (cut and slide) born during the war that devastated Cote d ‘Ivoire in the 2000… the movement took off while the county was suffering. They were kids from the ghetto, considered to be the ones who expressed the moral of the ” People”. He passionately showed what his part of the world could accomplish.
“After his 1st big hit “Johnatan”, he never looked back. He worked hard and shared his work with Fally Ipupa, Davido, etc … to make sure his style would reach more Africans and the world.
“He was unique – he wore crazy hairstyles and loved bikes, you could see it in most of his video. His love for bike riding took his life, on the same streets that use to blast his music.
“As much as he was popular, he occasionally clashed with people because he spoke his mind and was sometimes offensive, nevertheless, people kept dancing to his tune. He had an incredibly large fanbase. So large he called his fans ” China”, and even introduced himself as “Leader of People’s China”. He liked to claim nicknames, from “Commander Zabra” to “Yorobo”. He was something else.
“Above all, DJ Arafat worked hard and fought to keep coupé-decalé music alive. He made a big impact on modern music in Africa. His death marks the end of a King’s era – but at the height of his fame. He leaves behind an inspiring legacy. He will be missed.
“Go well King!”