David Jude Jolicoeur, De La Soul rapper Trugoy the Dove, dies at 54

He was a founding member of the Long Island hip hop trio.

SHARE David Jude Jolicoeur, De La Soul rapper Trugoy the Dove, dies at 54
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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. He was 54.

His representative Tony Ferguson confirmed reports of his death 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 Erick 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.”

Young Guru added, “Rest in peace my brother. You were loved. @plugwondelasoul I love you brother we are here for you. Smiles I love you bro. This is crazy” and DJ Semtex wrote that it was “heart wrenching news.”

“Luke Cage” showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker wrote on Twitter, “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 backwards 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.

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 De La Soul 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.

The group followed it in 1991 with “De La Soul Is Dead,” which was a bit darker and more divisive with critics, and “Stakes is High,” in 1996.

De La Soul released eight albums and in March was going to make its streaming service debut, on Spotify, Apple Music and others after a long battle with Tommy Boy Records about legal and publishing matters. The 2021 acquisition of Tommy Boy Records by Reservoir, with masters from the likes of De La Soul, Queen Latifah and Naughty By Nature, helped move things along and the full catalog was set to debut on March 3.

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