Another luminary from hip-hop’s Golden Era has returned to the essence. TRUGOY The Dove (David Jude Jolicoeur), 54, of the Native Tongue’s trio known as De La Soul, died on Sunday. A cause of death was not provided, however, in recent years, he had publicly discussed his issues with congestive heart failure. In the group’s 2017 “Royalty Capes” video, he openly mentioned it.
“I’m ready just to get back to the stage. I miss that,” he said then. “I love traveling. I love being around my guys and I want that back.”
De La Soul participated in last week’s Grammy’s Hip-Hop tribute performance, minus Trugoy. The group’s 1989 debut album, “3 Feet High and Rising,” set trends by featuring conceptual skits and innovative samples, creating a blueprint that many artists soon emulated.
Jolicoeur was born in Brooklyn on Sept. 21, 1968, and relocated to Long Island as a youth. With group members Vincent Manson, aka Pasemaster Mase, and Kelvin Mercer, aka Posdnuos, he began creating music in 1988 after attending high school together in Amityville, Long Island. They signed to Tommy Boy Records. Their 1989 debut album featured production by Stesasonic’s Prince Paul and included the singles “Say No Go” and “Eye Know.” It reached No. 24 on Billboard’s 200 chart and is considered a classic.
“I think the element of that time of what was taking place in music, hip-hop, and our culture…it welcomed that and opened up minds and spirits to see and try new different things,” Trugoy told Billboard last month.
They followed up with “De La Soul Is Dead” (1991), “Buhloone Mindstate” (1993), and “Stakes Is High” (1996); 2016’s “And the Anonymous Nobody…” was their latest release. They were scheduled to perform three shows in the United Kingdom this April.
They were nominated for six Grammy Awards, winning one for best pop collaboration with vocals for “Feel Good Inc.” in 2006. “The Magic Number,” off their debut album, was featured as the outgoing track on “Spider-man: No Way Home” in 2021.
Their eclectic sound, suburban demeanor, casual sense of humor, and dress code led them to be labeled as “hip-hop hippies.”
“Originally, [Me, Myself & I] was us trying to make sure we’re saying we’re not hippies,” Trugoy told Rolling Stone in 2009. “We were just being ourselves. People are now taking the song to be, ‘OK, it’s cool to be me and I don’t have to be hard —it wasn’t really about saying that, even though the video came off like that.”
Due to legal issues, they abstained from digital services, which prevented them from reaching new audiences for years. “Breakadawn” and “Stakes Is High” were some of their popular tracks.In 2014, De La Soul released “The People” with Chuck D. At the time, Trugoy told Rolling Stone that “the lyrics are commentaries of our struggles and successes, our weaknesses and strengths…the experiences, trials and tribulations we have faced as human beings, a race and individuals,” and that “we hope [the] song will lend itself to something positive in these difficult times.”