British businessman and YouTube star Jamal Edwards has passed away at the age of 31
He was the founder of SBTV, an online urban music platform that helped launch the careers of artists such as Dave, Ed Sheeran, and Skepta.
AJ Tracey tops the charts among the first to pay tribute online by tweeting “RIP Jamal Edwards, West London Legend Status”.
Born in Luton, Edwards received an MBE in Music Services in 2014.
A pioneer of British rap and grime music, he was also an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, a youth charity run by the Prince of Wales that helps young people start their businesses.
He attended the Brit Awards earlier this month and is believed to have performed at a concert in north London on Saturday night. No details have been released about his death, except that it happened on Sunday morning.
Loose Women singer and presenter Brenda Edwards’ son Edwards began acting after his parents gave him a video camera for Christmas at the age of 15.
Brenda Edwards said she was “completely devastated”.
Jamal Edwards’ importance to British rap cannot be overstated.
His YouTube channel, which started “with a 20-pound phone” while still in school, brought almost every major player in the game to the start: Stormzy, Skepta, JME, J Hus, Lady Leshurr, Dave, AJ Tracey, Krept & Konan, Headie One … The list is endless.
To some extent, SBTV was created out of frustration. “Everyone in my area was MC and I remember thinking, ‘Why can’t I find them online? I’ll film people in my area and upload them to Youtube’.” Edwards said in 2017: “And from there it started to grow and grow.”
SBTV comes at a pivotal time, showing that discontent can thrive online as police try to close appearances using the controversial Risk Assessment Form 696.
The success of the chain meant that Edwards had become an entrepreneur and a businessman, but he was a reluctant leader. “I wanted to be Banksy,” he said. “I didn’t want anyone to know who I was.”
That changed in 2011 when he appeared in an ad for Google Chrome. His name has been searched over a million times. and people started approaching her for selfies.
But she used her reputation to raise mental health awareness, fund youth centers, and inspire other young entrepreneurs.
However, music is his true passion and he never stopped supporting the artists he loved. Until December, he inspired Ed Sheeran to record a new verse for a song he discovered from Nigerian artist Fireboy DML. That song, Peru, rose to number two on the UK Singles Chart and gave the African star his first international win.
Edwards didn’t claim credit – she never did – but hundreds of artists have similar stories. The loss of her will be felt throughout the British music scene.