David Jolicoeur, a member of the legendary hip-hop group, De La Soul, has passed away at the age of 54. Jolicoeur, who was known for his rapping skills under the stage name Trugoy the Dove, was a key member of the trio that revolutionized the hip-hop genre in the late 80s and early 90s with their eclectic samples and unique style of humor.
De La Soul’s arrival on the music scene with their debut album, “3 Feet High and Rising,” in 1989 was a turning point in the history of hip-hop. At a time when the genre was still in its nascent stages and had a confrontational image, De La Soul, three middle-class young men from Long Island, presented a refreshingly different approach with their flowery designs and music video set in a high school for their hit single “Me Myself and I.” The group’s baggy, brightly colored clothes and hippie image was a stark contrast to their peers who dressed in more traditional hip-hop attire of gold chains, black shades, and matching B-boy outfits.
Jolicoeur, who also went by the names Plug Two, Dove, and later, just Dave, was a central figure in the group’s music and had the opening lines in the hit song “Me Myself and I.” He rapped about the group’s unique style and the criticism it received, with lyrics such as “Mirror mirror on the wall/Tell me mirror, what is wrong? Can it be my De La clothes/Or is it just my De La song?”
The group’s innovative style of sampling and their close collaboration with producer Prince Paul, helped shape the future of hip-hop music and set De La Soul apart from their contemporaries. Their debut album “3 Feet High and Rising” featured samples from over 60 different recordings, including sounds from old TV shows, French language lessons, and classic funk and soul tracks. Despite its popularity, the album only reached No. 24 on the Billboard 200 chart, but its impact on the genre was immeasurable.
Throughout their career, De La Soul released several critically acclaimed albums, including “De La Soul Is Dead” (1991), “Buhloone Mindstate” (1993), and “Stakes Is High” (1996). However, the group faced legal difficulties related to the use of samples in their music, which prevented them from releasing their music in digital form for many years. The group’s legal battles with sample clearances had a significant impact on their career, limiting their access to the digital music market, which became increasingly important in the 21st century.
Recently, De La Soul cleared the samples in their music and was preparing to release their entire catalog in digital form in March. With David Jolicoeur’s passing, the hip-hop world has lost a true innovator and a pioneering figure in the genre. Jolicoeur’s contributions to De La Soul’s music and legacy will continue to inspire future generations of hip-hop artists.