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Fans pay tribute to DJ Arafat at the site of his motorcycle accident in Abidjan. Photo: ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images

Hommage to DJ Arafat, the King of Coupé-Décalé

Celebrating the late Ivorian artist who helped birth francophone Africa's urban music scene.

News of DJ Arafat's death broke the morning of Monday, August 12th.

DJ Arafat was the ambassador of a music form popularized in Cote D'Ivoire but exported worldwide. Long before azonto, Nigerian music's command of air waves and the blanket term "afrobeats," he commanded Coupé-Décalé's fast percussion, vocals and dances. He gave birth to Francophone Africa's urban music scene.

A nation mourned. Europeans mourned. Africans worldwide mourned. Abidjan, his home, is said to have been cloudy all day.

Condolences poured out from far and wide: Ivorian Culture Minister, Maurice Kouakou Bandaman, President Alassane Ouattara, footballers Samuel Eto'o and Didier Drogba, musicians Burna Boy, Davido, Iyanya, MHD from a prison cell, Salatiel, Magic System's A'salfo, Serge Beynaud, DJ Mix Premier, his protégés Ariel Sheney and the group Kiff No Beat to name a few.

Fans cried and screamed in front of the hospital his body lay as well as his home. They chanted, "Il n'est pas mort" ("he isn't dead"). The King of Coupé-Décalé was gone.

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ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images.

Celebrated Coupé-Décalé Pioneer DJ Arafat Has Died from a Motorcycle Accident

The continent and the world has lost a true force who put the sounds of Côte d'Ivoire on the map.

DJ Arafat—a beacon of Côte d'Ivoire's coupé-décalé sound—tragically succumbed to his injuries from a motorcycle accident Monday morning, BBC Afrique reports.

Ivorian Public Radio-Television (RTI) says Maurice Bandaman, Ivorian Minister of Culture, confirmed his death, saying DJ Arafat, born Ange Didier Houon, collided into a car driven by a journalist from Radio Côte d'Ivoire Sunday night. He was not wearing a helmet.

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