- 13 Feb 23
An official cause of death has not been released, but the star had been candid about his struggle with congestive heart failure in recent years.
David Jolicoeur, a founding member of the legendary American hip-hop trio De La Soul, died on Sunday at the age of 54. The beloved artist, who performed under names including Trugoy The Dove and Plug Two, was known for his lighthearted style and captivating verses.
A cause of death has not been released but the artist had been open about his struggles with congestive heart failure in recent years, which he was briefly hospitalised for in 2020. In the trio’s 2017 music video for their single ‘Royalty Capes’, Jolicoeur discloses his condition and even talks about having to wear a life vest. “It’ll shock me and hopefully bring me back from the matrix,” he said. “I’m ready just to get back to the stage. I miss it.”
Jolicoeur and his high school friends Posdnuos and Maseo formed De La Soul in Amityville, Long Island in 1988, setting the stage for a new era of hip-hop. They released their debut studio album 3 Feet High and Rising in 1989 via Tommy Boy Records, which quickly became a magnum opus. Since their inception, the critically acclaimed trio has released eight studio albums and four compilation albums that showcase their signature quirky lyrics and electric sampling, cementing the group's prominence in the alternative hip-hop and jazz rap subgenres.
The trio won their first Grammy Award in 2006 for their collaboration with Gorillaz, ‘Feel Good Inc.’, which is widely known for Jolicoeur’s verses.
The New York Times highlighted a review that critic Greg Tate had published in the paper about the trio’s 1993 album Buhloone Mindstate, distinguishing the group's place in American hip-hop. “With irreverence and imagination, De La Soul has dared to go where few hip-hop acts would follow, rejecting Five Percenter polemics and gangster rap for reflections on an array of topics: ecology, crack-addicted infants, Black suburbia, roller-skating, harassment by fans, male sexual anxiety and even gardening as a hip-hop metaphor.”
The group's last album was 2016's And the Anonymous Nobody..., which featured a slew of collaborations with artists including Little Dragon, Usher, David Byrne and Damon Albarn. This was the trio's first album since 2004's The Grind Date.
After the news of Jolicoeur’s death broke, a wave of tributes were shared on social media. Pharrell Williams posted a heartfelt message on Twitter, writing, “Sending love, light and positive vibrations to his family, The Soul and everyone whose lives have been touched by his existence.”
Trugoy Dave from De La Soul has gone up ⬆️ to be with the day of the stars with the Master.
Sending love, light and positive vibrations to his family, The Soul and everyone whose lives have been touched by his existence.
Oodles and Oodles and Oodles of O’s ✨🔥💛🎢🙌🏾🍯❤️🩹🙏🏾
— Pharrell Williams (@Pharrell) February 13, 2023
American rapper JPEGMAFIA also paid tribute on Twitter, writing, “RIP TRUGOY of DE LA SOUL. A PIONEER!”
RIP TRUGOY of DE LA SOUL. A PIONEER!
— JPEGMAFIA (@jpegmafia) February 12, 2023
Cypress Hill’s B-Real called Jolicoeur a brother and a great human being.
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
It was announced last month that six of the trio's albums would be available on streaming services this year, following complex licensing issues. On March 3rd, fans will be able to stream 3 Feet High and Rising, De La Soul Is Dead, Buhloone Mindstate, Stakes Is High, Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump, and AOI: Bionix.
The hip-hop collective were set to tour the UK in April, but it is now unclear whether these shows will continue.