Music critic Neil Kulkarni has died aged 51

today24/01/2024 3

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Tributes are pouring in following the death of 51-year-old music critic, author, and Melody Maker writer, Neil Kulkarni.

The Coventry-born writer passed away suddenly on Monday, January 22, it was confirmed yesterday by Kulkarni’s band Moonbears on Facebook.

The remaining band members paid tribute to the “dedicated husband and father” and a “gifted” journalist who always put himself second to “the needs of those he loved”.

“It is with a sense of shock, devastation, disbelief and the reality that our worlds have in part ended, that we have to share that Neil suddenly passed away yesterday,” they explained.

Kulkarni’s career in journalism stretches back to the early ‘90s when he began writing for Melody Maker, and would later go on to write for the likes of Vox, Kerrang!, The Quietus, The Wire, and The Guardian, before becoming DJ Mag’s long-standing hip hop editor.

“Those who knew Neil will know him through their own experiences,” his bandmates wrote. “His barbed, hilarious, brutally honest and emotionally gifted journalism – as the DJ who kept his records and CD’s loose in a carrier bag and could rarely play a song that didn’t skip, but they were the best songs.”

Alongside his journalistic career, Kulkarni was also the course leader of music journalism at Birmingham’s BIMM Music Institute and regularly provided lectures in Coventry where he grew up.

Kulkarni also challenged Melody Maker’s lack of coverage of Black artists in the 1990s, claiming that they were complicit in “a racism entrenched in ‘white music criticism’” reports BBCBBC.

“Neil arrived at Melody Maker via the letters page, identifying a shortfall in our editorial content in the 1990s and, eagerly invited to make it up, did so and so much more,” reads a tribute from Kulkarni’s Melody Maker colleague, David Stubbs.

The Coventry writer also penned multiple books on hip-hop during his life, including The Periodic Table of HIP HOP which documented hip hop’s many MCs, DJs, rappers and producers, and Hip Hop – bring the noise, which told the stories behind the “biggest hip hop songs”.

In 2012, Kulkarni wrote about his life and experiences as a second-generation Indian immigrant in the UK with a look at India’s musical history in Eastern Spring: A 2nd Gen Memoir, a book published by Zer0 Books.

A fundraiser has been set up to support the family of Neil Kulkarni. Check it out here.

Read some tributes for the late writer, author, critic, and musician below.

[Via RA and BBC]

Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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