While the world watched the Super Bowl LVII showdown in the Arizona desert between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles, the hip-hop world learned about the unfortunate passing of 54-year-old David “Trugoy The Dove” Jolicoeur of De La Soul. The group is a pivotal component of the ’90s hip-hop super crew the Native Tongues, who influenced sports, culture, and lifestyle to this day.
When De La Soul came out they brought Black male masculinity to a crossroads. The year before their first album, “3 Feet High and Rising,” came out in 1989 the West Coast changed the tone and tenor of the culture with the N.W.A debut album “Straight Outta Compton.” To top it off the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Detroit Pistons 4-3 to repeat their 1987 title run.
Aww man, rest well, Trugoy the Dove. De La forever. ♥️🕊️ pic.twitter.com/sdGbN7ncc2
— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) February 13, 2023
“Showtime” out of L.A. subsided to a West Coast soundtrack that was aggressive to police, exposed gang violence, and turned Eazy E into the prototype of a gangsta rapper. The culture ate it up, and all-black attire, Raiders hats, and street militancy took over from the party rhymes of the early ’80s. Then came De La Soul, the original hip-hop hippies way before the world ever heard of Kendrick Lamar and TDE. They wore colorful shirts, converted bell bottoms to straight-leg jeans and were not afraid of flat top and braid combinations, and generally felt like guys from a dorm or cul de sac.
courtside @kylekuzma. pic.twitter.com/Q8qBSQBk1a
— LeagueFits (@leaguefits) February 12, 2023
When you look at current and former athletes that are fashion rebels like Kyle Kuzma and Dwyane Wade, the confidence De La Soul infused into hip-hop culture to be yourself and push the envelope resonates with the more emboldened of its adherents.
They were safe and fun, the antithesis of N.W.A. When paired with the Jungle Brothers’ penchant for house music meets hip-hop blends and eventually the genre-defining sound of Q-Tip and A Tribe Called Quest, the Native Tongues were like an active protest to anything deemed gangsta. The trio met in high school in the Long Island town of Amityville, where, after working with other groups, they came together and were heard by Prince Paul.
Trugoy, Posdnuos, and Maseo eventually signed with Tommy Boy Records in 1989; the rest is history.
David “Dave” Jolicoeur was the steady and jovial No. 2 man of the triumvirate whose playful rhymes allowed a soft landing for rap newcomers and diehards alike.
Also known as Plug Two, in later years the founding member of the transformational hip-hop group has been candid about his health issues, from a 2017 music video for “Royalty Capes” to a 2020 Instagram Live video where he was in the hospital. The 54-year-old was dealing with congestive heart failure and spoke honestly about it. He was hoping to rejoin his brothers on the road to continue entertaining the masses.
“I’m ready just to get back to the stage,” he said in the intro to the ‘Royalty Capes” video. “I miss that. I love traveling. I love being around my guys and I want that back.”
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
The group was looking to celebrate 2023 by finally adding their first six albums to streaming services, which they still needed to have. “3 Feet High and Rising,” “De La Soul Is Dead,” “Buhloone Mindstate, Stakes Is High,” “Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump,” and “AOI: Bionix” are coming to all digital streaming platforms on March 3, which will expand their legacy to a new generation.
Trugoy’s influence is ubiquitous within the culture, and his death is a massive loss for all.