David Jolicoeur, whose stage name is Trugoy The Dove 54 years old and a founding member of the famous rap group De La Soul, has died.
On Sunday, his representatives confirmed that he had died. The music site AllHipHop was the first to report the news. No reason for death was given. The musician, who used the stage name Trugoy the Dove and then Dave later in his career, had been honest about his health problems.
In 2018 he discussed his struggle with congestive heart failure in a music video for the De La Soul song Royalty Capes. “I’m ready just to get back to the stage,” he said. “I miss it.”
He was missing from last week’s Grammys, where the band had won in 2005 for their work with Gorillaz on the song “Feel Good Inc.”
De La Soul was honored with an all-star hip-hop tribute spanned five decades at this year’s ceremony. However, Posdnos (Kevin Mercer) was the only member of the group to perform, with a short clip of their hit Buddy.
Jolicoeur was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1968 to Haitian-American parents. He grew up in a small town on Long Island called East Massapequa.
In high school, he met Mercer and Vincent Mason, the other two members of De La Soul. In 1988, the group was formed.
An early demo caught the attention of a local producer named Prince Paul, and the band’s first album, 3 Feet High and Rising, came out in 1989. It was their most successful album in terms of sales, and many people consider it a masterpiece.
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In their first album, they set themselves apart from other artists of the time with strange wordplay and jazz and funk samples, which would become their trademark.
Those samples changed rap, but they also got the group in trouble with the law. One of the songs on 3 Feet High and Rising, “Transmitting Live from Mars,” used an uncredited sample from the Turtles. In 1991, the Turtles sued them for $2.5 million.
The case was settled out of court, but their use of samples hung over their careers for a long time and kept them from putting their music on digital platforms.
Last month, they said that their sample clearances were finally done and that their entire back catalog would be available to stream starting March 3. A photo from last year of the trio in the studio with their former champion Prince Paul has also led to rumors of new music.
“You have no idea how much pain in this last year,” the producer wrote on Twitter. “A blessing we got a chance to unite again … De La Soul forever.”
Tributes also flowed from other contemporaries. B Real – a rapper with the hip-hop group Cypress Hill – called Jolicoeur a “legend of hip hop music and culture … His music will allow him to live in our hearts and minds. All Tweets are given below-
We lost another legend of hip hop music and culture in my brother Trugoy aka Dave of De La Soul. His music will allow him to live in our hearts and minds as he is gone. But not only was he a great musician but he was a great human being. He meant a lot to us 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/5PlZWX65CF
— B Real ™ (@B_Real) February 12, 2023
De La Soul‘s Trugoy the Dove has died at age 54, just weeks before their music was set to arrive on streaming and digital platforms on March 3.
One of the great rap groups of all time, and one thing is for sure: The world will fall in love with them all over again next month. pic.twitter.com/i3Bq9ywtG9
— Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) February 12, 2023
#RestInBeats my Bro #Dave #Trugoy #DeLaSoul forever @hiphopgods pic.twitter.com/bS5thhyOA1
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) February 12, 2023
RIP TRUGOY of DE LA SOUL. A PIONEER!
— JPEGMAFIA (@jpegmafia) February 12, 2023