Trugoy the Dove, Co-Founder of Hip-Hop Group De La Soul, Dies at 54
David Jolicoeur, the rapper known as Trugoy the Dove, who made up one-third of De La Soul, the influential Long Island hip-hop trio, has died, the group’s representative confirmed Sunday. He was 54.The news was first reported by AllHipHop, according to Rolling Stone. No further details, including a cause of death, were shared by Jolicouer’s
David Jolicoeur, the rapper known as Trugoy the Dove, who made up one-third of De La Soul, the influential Long Island hip-hop trio, has died, the group’s representative confirmed Sunday. He was 54.
The news was first reported by AllHipHop, according to Rolling Stone. No further details, including a cause of death, were shared by Jolicouer’s publicist, Tony Ferguson. But in the years leading up to his death, Jolicoeur had been open about his battle with congestive heart failure. He first disclosed his diagnosis in a 2src17 music video for the De La Soul song “Royalty Capes.”
“I’m ready just to get back to the stage,” Jolicouer says in the video. “I miss that. I love traveling. I love being around my guys and I want that back.”
Jolicouer was noticeably absent from a large hip-hop tribute at the Grammys last week that included a fellow De La Soul member, Posdnuos.
De La Soul—with third member Maseo—was founded in 1988 after three burgeoning musicians met as high schoolers in Amityville. De La Soul took off with 1989’s 3 Feet High and Rising. The group quickly found their feet apart from the rest of the rap scene, presenting a more lighthearted image of rappers who played with floral aesthetics, jazzy stylings, and quirky lyrics. In a press kit for the album, the triumvirate explained the source of their respective monikers; in Jolicouer’s case, “Trugoy” spelled backwards was “yogurt,” and he liked yogurt.
“It’s a hip-hop masterpiece for the era in which it was released,” Jolicoeur told Billboard this year. “I think the element of that time of what was taking place in music, hip-hop, and our culture, I think it welcomed that and opened up minds and spirits to see and try new different things… I think the innocence that we had back then was brave, but we were in a time where innocence was so cool.”
The album, produced by Prince Paul, was a critical smash hit upon its release, though it only reached the No. 24 spot on the Billboard 2srcsrc chart. The group’s later albums included, among others, 1991’s darker cult classic De La Soul Is Dead; 1993’s self-referential Buhloone Mindstate; and 1996’s Stakes Is High.
The group won their first Grammy in 2srcsrc6 for a collaboration with Gorillaz on “Feel Good Inc.,” in which Jolicouer had a second-verse rap solo.
Their ninth studio album, 2src16’s crowdfunded And the Anonymous Nobody…, was reportedly made up of the results of several hours-long jam sessions. Sample-free, it featured guest spots by David Byrne, 2 Chainz, and Snoop Dogg, and peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard charts.
Jolicoeur’s death comes just a few weeks before the vast majority of De La Soul’s back catalog is set to hit streaming services, after years of sample licensing issues and exploitative contracts were finally untangled. In 2src16, Jolicoeur told The New York Times of his frustration with the struggle to make the group’s music available to the public.
“This music has to be addressed and released,” he said. “It has to. When? We’ll see. But somewhere it’s going to happen.”