One of the Founding Members of De La Soul Is Dead at 54

David Jude Jolicoeur, or Trugoy the Dove, had recently been suffering from heart issues
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 13, 2023 1:50 AM CST
De La Soul Co-Founder Trugoy the Dove Dead at 54
De La Soul's Kelvin Mercer, David Jude Jolicoeur and Vincent Mason, from left, perform at Rachael Ray's Feedback Party at Stubb's during the South by Southwest Music Festival on Saturday March 18, 2017, in Austin, Texas.   (Photo by Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP, File)

David Jude Jolicoeur, known widely as Trugoy the Dove and one of the founding members of the Long Island hip hop trio De La Soul, has died, the AP reports. He was 54. His representative Tony Ferguson confirmed the reports Sunday. No other information was immediately available. In recent years, Jolicoeur had said he was battling congestive heart failure, living with a LifeVest machine affixed to his person. De La Soul was part of the hip-hop tribute at the Grammy Awards last week, but Trugoy was not onstage with his fellow bandmates.

Tributes poured in on social media shortly after the news broke Sunday. “Dave! It was a honor to share so many stages with you,” wrote rapper Big Daddy Kane on Instagram. Rapper Erik Sermon posted on Instagram that “This one hurts. From Long Island from one of the best rap groups in Hiphop # Delasoul #plug2 Dave has passed away you will be missed… RIP.” Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker wrote on Twitter that, "You don’t understand what De La Soul means to me. Their existence said to me, a black geek from Connecticut that yes, hip-hop belongs to you too, and Trugoy was the balance, McCartney to Pos Lennon, Keith to his Mick. This is a huge loss.”

Jolicoeur was born in Brooklyn but raised in the Amityville area of Long Island, where he met Vincent Mason (Pasemaster Mase) and Kelvin Mercer (Posdnuos) and the three decided to form a rap group, with each taking on distinctive names. Trugoy, Jolicoeur said, was backward for “yogurt.” More recently he’d been going by Dave. De La Soul’s debut studio album 3 Feet High and Rising, produced by Prince Paul, was released in 1989 by Tommy Boy Records and praised for being a more light-hearted and positive counterpart to more charged rap offerings like N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton and Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions released just one year prior.

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Sampling everyone from Johnny Cash and Steely Dan to Hall & Oates, De La Soul signaled the beginning of alternative hip-hop. In Rolling Stone, critic Michael Azerrad called it the first “psychedelic hip-hop record.” Some even called them a hippie group, though the members didn’t quite like that. In 2010, 3 Feet High and Rising was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for its historic significance. “It’s a hip-hop masterpiece for the era in which it was released,” Jolicoeur told Billboard earlier this year. Seven more albums, six Grammy nominations, and one Grammy win followed.

(Read more De La Soul stories.)

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