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via Instagram (@wearedelasoul)

Trugoy the Dove, founding member of De La Soul, has died

The highly influential artist passed away this weekend aged 54

It was announced on Sunday (February 13) that David Jolicoeur, founding member of the highly influential rap trio De La Soul, has passed away aged 54. While his cause of death has not been announced, the rapper had disclosed in recent years that he had been battling congestive heart failure. It was noted that Jolicoeur was absent from the hip-hop tribute performance at the Grammys earlier this month, where his bandmates had performed as part of the act.

Tributes have poured in for the late hip-hop pioneer, with names such as DJ Premier, Kaytranada and Pharrell Williams taking to social media to pay their condolences. 

The hip-hop trio, hailing from Amityville in Long Island, were originally formed in 1988 having attended the same high school together. De La Soul are widely regarded as one of the most instrumental hip-hop acts of all time, with their masterpiece 1989 debut album 3 Feet High and Rising changing the expectations of what rap music could sound like.

Alongside producer longtime Prince Paul, the group became known for their jazzy and playful approach to hip-hop, one that would go on to inspire acts such as Tyler the Creator and Mos Def. Compared to their political and sonically abrasive contemporaries such as Public Enemy, De La Soul arrived as the eclectic and optimistic group to counterbalance the scene. The group also became known for their introspective and reflective work in their later careers, with tracks like “Stakes Is High” taking aim at the sociopolitical issues within hip-hop culture.

In recent years, Jolicoeur and the rest of De La Soul have been tied up in lengthy legal proceedings. Due to the usage of uncleared samples, their back catalogue has remained unreleased on digital streaming platforms. Tommy Boy Records bought the group’s catalogue back in 2017, however, it was revealed that the label would be taking 90 per cent of the revenue. Many artists such as Nas and Questlove called for a boycott of the label and after Reservoir Media purchased Tommy Boy in 2021, it was announced that their music would be arriving on digital streaming platforms on 3 March 2023.

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