Popular Culture Faculty Publications


Skip "Little Axe" McDonald: One Man-One Night...One Life in Music

Document Type



Matthew A. Donahue's latest documentary Skip “Little Axe” McDonald: One Man-One Night….One Life in Music, made with his longtime collaborator Joshua Lightle. The film highlights the life and music of a legendary music icon. Skip “Little Axe” McDonald is a longtime influential musician who was part of the early funk music scene in Dayton, Ohio. He went on to be a session guitar player and arranger for the infamous Sugarhill Records, playing with some of the biggest acts and on some of the biggest hits in rap and hip-hop music. Artists such as Sugarhill Gang (Rappers Delight), Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (The Message) and many other well-known acts such as James Brown, Afrika Bambaataa, The Sequence, Force MDs and many other influential artists.

In the mid 1980s, McDonald began collaborations with legendary producer Adrian Sherwood via his On-U Sound record label. Their work encompasses such legends as Lee Perry, Horace Andy, Bim Sherman, Tackhead, Doug Wimbish (Living Colour), Keith LeBlanc, Bernard Fowler, Sinead O'Connor, Mark Stewart, MAD 45, The Process, African Headcharge and many fantastic artists. Additionally, Skip McDonald working under his moniker Little Axe, broke new ground by blending rap/hip hop and blues music. He has nearly 400 album credits to his name on All Music Guide and continues to practice his art. The performances from this documentary are featured on the live album by Little Axe titled One Man-One Night.

Publication Date

Summer 8-30-2023