Toronto rapper King Reign dead at 40

The Juno-nominated MC passed away on June 28 after suffering a heart attack


Toronto rapper King Reign has died.

A member of Scarborough hip-hop group BrassMunk, the MC passed away on June 28 after suffering a heart attack and falling into a coma a week earlier. He was 40.

Born Kunle Thomas to Trinidadian and Guyanese parents, Reign started releasing music 12 years ago as a solo artist and later joined BrassMunk on their Juno-nominated 2007 album Fewturistic. Over the years, he collaborated with artists such as D-Sisive, Kardinal Offishall, Drake, Saukrates, Pharoahe Monch, k-os, Rich Kidd and Tona.

His most recent album, Sincere, came out in 2014 and earlier this year he contributed a track to Black Lives Matter Toronto’s Black City mixtape.

In a statement, his manager David ‘Click’ Cox said Reign “fearlessly wrote about love, drug abuse, bullying and racial stereotypes in a prolific manner, encouraging dialogue amongst his community and peers.

“He rapped with a distinct voice, sharp sense of detail and attack from a fresh, smart perspective,” he added. “If every story has two sides, Reign dug deeper to uncover a third.”

After news of his death broke, friends and fellow artists took to social media to pay tribute.

“I’m blessed to have had the chance to rock with King Reign on a number of joints alongside K-OS, Slakah, and others,” rapper and CBC Radio Q host Shad wrote on Facebook. “Always a soulful voice with a unique approach… Thoughts and prayers to his friends and family. RIP.”

“EVERYBODY that knew you knew how authentic your spirit was,” Kardinal Offishall wrote on Instagram. “You were one of the dudes that anybody would cosign or stick up for without hesitation, because we have to protect our angels bro. Funny thing is that all these years, because you were in such good shape, because you were always happy, because you were so positive-until I got that text on Father’s Day, there’s no way I could even fathom that this day would come.”

Reign is survived by his two children Tayo, 8, and Kalu, 5, his parents Verna and Joe, brother and sister Shaka and Michelle and his partner Michelle Moncrieffe. 

A memorial service takes place Sunday (July 10) at Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas East) at 1 pm, with a party to follow at Fuze (366 Queen East) featuring DJ Agile, L’Oqenz, P-Plus and DJ Short. Additionally, a GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for the memorial as well as a trust for his children’s educational expenses.

kevinr@nowtoronto.com | @kevinritchie

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