© John Dyder (@digitaldyer)

Too often in our scene, we don’t pay prop­er respects to those who have laid the found­a­tion the rest of us stand and build on. John “Ulysses” Reyn­olds, the icon­ic Grand­mas­ter of UK Hip Hop pion­eers Hijack is one of those who deserves this respect.

A true trail­blazer of Hip Hop cul­ture, espe­cially in South Lon­don, Ulysses became known in his com­munity, and even­tu­ally around the world, as much for his mar­tial arts as for Hip Hop. He merged these two ele­ments togeth­er in an artist­ic man­ner that became part of his and Hijack­’s sig­na­ture look and sound. This pro­ceeded oth­ers who’ve done the same, includ­ing most fam­ously Wu-Tang, which has been acknow­ledged by mem­bers of the Clan them­selves.

© Norm­ski

A lov­er of Jazz as well as Hip Hop, Ulysses con­tin­ued to make music through­out and bey­ond the rise of Hijack, who stand as a core pil­lar of the early wave of UK Hop Hop and Brit­core that really star­ted to pro­duce, for Lon­don in par­tic­u­lar, a spe­cific­ally homegrown sound in the mid-late 80’s and early 90’s.

In the words of his chil­dren, as pos­ted on Ins­tagram this week:

“Our beloved John Reyn­olds ‘Ulysses’ has sadly passed away on Monday 25th March 2024. We are truly heart­broken to lose such a revolu­tion­ary light in this world. He leaves behind his time­less tal­ent, wis­dom and com­pas­sion. On behalf of his part­ner, four chil­dren, his three grand­chil­dren, fam­ily and friends, we are all proud of the giant spir­it that inspired the lives of a gen­er­a­tion.

‘We stand on the shoulders of giants’

Hail­ing from Stock­well (Lam­beth) South Lon­don, he was to us and so many that knew him a real life super­hero! From his Triple Round­house Kicks to his Seam­less and Extraordin­ary Cho­reo­graphy, not to men­tion his undeni­ably bril­liant brain for com­pos­ing music. John’s Cre­ativ­ity didn’t stop there, he was cre­at­ive in his way of think­ing about and view­ing the world, nature, people and uni­verse itself. He had a wealth of know­ledge that he was always happy to share with any­one that would listen and it’s fair to have referred to him as a walk­ing encyc­lo­pae­dia.

His con­tri­bu­tions are infin­ite ♾️ ”

John Reyn­olds aka Ulysses — Rise in Power.

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Apex Zero

Apex Zero

An emcee, beat­maker, film­maker and writer from Lon­don with Gren­adian roots, Apex Zero has spent his life learn­ing and liv­ing Hip Hop cul­ture, using it to inspire and affect change. Based in Beijing for a few years and reg­u­larly tour­ing the globe, Apex is well trav­elled, and uses the les­sons this provides to inform his art and out­look. He is a mem­ber of the Glob­al­Fac­tion digit­al pro­duc­tion house and the inter­na­tion­al Hip Hop col­lect­ive End of the Weak.

About Apex Zero

Apex Zero
An emcee, beatmaker, filmmaker and writer from London with Grenadian roots, Apex Zero has spent his life learning and living Hip Hop culture, using it to inspire and affect change. Based in Beijing for a few years and regularly touring the globe, Apex is well travelled, and uses the lessons this provides to inform his art and outlook. He is a member of the GlobalFaction digital production house and the international Hip Hop collective End of the Weak.