T.C. Izlam, Hipstep Founder & Former Zulu Nation Spokesperson, Has Died
The Hip-Hop, Drum & Bass, and “Hipstep” communities are today mourning the loss of T.C. Izlam, a former longtime member of the Universal Zulu Nation and a celebrated musical innovator in his own right. Born Tony Bell, the New York City representative (born in Connecticut) was a steady presence on many of the underground scenes, and he navigated with ease between Rap and Jungle and Dubstep, forming a movement that he dubbed “Hipstep.” Formerly the so-called “minister of information” for Afrika Bambaataa’s Zulu Nation crew, T.C. resigned from his position in 2016. According to HipHopDX, his death was the result of a homicide in Atlanta, Georgia.
Apparently breaking the news to Hip-Hop promoter Van Silk on Facebook Live, DJ Kevie Kev Rockwell could be heard saying “They killed T.C. Izlam, man. They got him. They killed my man.” Though further details surrounding his death are pending, the news has already elicited responses from Hip-Hop legends like Grand Master DXT, who told DX, “We don’t know what the circumstances are and were, but we know our brother is gonna be missed by the community. He had a wealth of knowledge through his research and studying to share, as far as in the community of uplifting people to move in a more positive direction despite organized and systemic dissemination of destructive behavior in our community.”
Known for much of his life as “a son of Bambaataa,” T.C. stepped down from his duties as a spokesperson for UZN in April of last year, amidst the sex scandal surrounding its founder. At the time, T.C. said “Since my resignation, I’ve received 25 death threats… I got tired of the Afrika Bambaata fan club members inside the Universal Zulu Nation causing a lot of hindrance… The Universal Zulu Nation is entirely separate from Bambaataa’s life. I cannot support any type of pedophile, whether it’s from Bambaataa or a family member.”
Also an accomplished DJ and producer, T.C. began his career as a recording artist in the 1980s as a teen, dropping a handful of records including “Sucka MCs,” “Funky Fresh New England,” and “Enter Planet 2020,” featuring Bam’. Having described his Hipstep movement as “Hip is the vibe. Stepping forward is the movement.” A prominent figure in NYC’s Konkrete Jungle Drum & Bass community, T.C. found tremendous success in the U.K., where he According to esteemed Hip-Hop journalist Shawn Setaro – who hosted an expansive interview with T.C. on his podcast, The Cipher Show – T.C. has in the past explained that his goal with Hipstep was to “rebel against anything that was dirty in the Electronic scene.”
As explained by Setaro, “TC’s main musical contribution is combining Hip-Hop with the dance music genre known as Dubstep, to create a unique hybrid he calls “hipstep,” which has its roots in both UK Dance music and Bambaataa’s early experiments with Electro.”
Ambrosia For Heads sends its heartfelt condolences to T.C. Izlam’s family, and friends.