R.I.P. Prince Be

Attrell Cordes, better known as Prince Be of hip-hop/R&B duo P.M. Dawn, has died. TMZ reports that the singer passed away Friday at his New Jersey home from diabetic kidney disease. He was 46.

Cordes formed P.M. Dawn with his brother Jarrett “DJ Minutemix” Cordes in Jersey City in 1988, and three years later, they became the first black rappers to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart with their Spandau Ballet-sampling single “Set Adrift On Memory Bliss.” Their 1991 debut Of The Heart, Of The Soul And Of The Cross: The Utopian Experience and their 1993 follow-up The Bliss Album…? both went gold, although their next few albums didn’t attain the same degree of commercial success.

Cordes’ health deteriorated over the past decade with a series of strokes and a leg amputation stemming from his battle with diabetes. “Prince Be Rest In Peace Forever More/ Pain from diabetes can’t harm you anymore/ My Heart is at Peace B-Cuz U suffered so long/ Tell Grandma I said Hi & Stay Blisstatic & Strong,” reads a Facebook post from Cordes’ cousin, latter-day P.M. Dawn member Doc. G. Cordes is suvived by his wife Mary and his three children Christian, Mia, and Brandon.

Man. We did #PrinceBe dirty. Forever etched in the minds of true school hiphopers as an undeserving piñata in krs' darkest hour—actually as I write this I will say *that incident* marked the beginning of the "political correctness" period of hip hop. Or it could mark the beginning of its ending (another "Prince" example, I never see #SignOTheTimes as "the masterpiece!!!" More than I see it as "the curtain call of genius" only to show up now and then—the ending)—after "the incident" nothing was the same. Nada. (For Kris or Prince Be…actually for hip hop period but that's another story) Prince Be coulda been hip hop's Brian Wilson. Eccentric. Rich. Textured. Talented. A Sad Beauty. Melancholy….Genius? 3 Dimensional? I quietly championed him that saddens me. Why? Cause I didn't want the other kids to think I was some sappy dweeb that felt bad for the kid from *that incident*?—yeah man. In my 40s now idgaf about speculation of my "coolness" and "downess" Actually I can't be dweeby enough…but yeah man—behind closed doors I'd marvel at how his mixes were so cotdamn clean. And his harmonies on point. And his content? All that spacey metaphysical emo "nextness" that defined post aughts/modern hip hop was his lane all day. And let's just get it out in the open: De La Soul deserves a #MacarthurGenius for #EyeKnow's rhyme cadence ALONE. Glass half fool is: "why mofos bitting De La flow!?!?" Glass half full is: "duh! When you are pioneering as De La & #3FeetHighAndRising was (listen up @mtv the pubescent reviewers they hire) it's gonna INFLUENCE & shift the axis: Digable/Arrested/Roots/Kast—everyone learned from that album–It's just that #PMDawn friggin mastered that jawn perfectly. Dude I so don't wanna be the posthumous post guy—I tried to not sermonize Ali because part of me knew that everyone would wax poetic. But the itch and the thought that #PrinceBe could make an exit in silence frightens me. Cause it ain't like no one that's been in the top 10 for the last 10 years on iTunes will say anything. that's maddening. This dude was a friggin mind blowing artist who deserved better than this man….thank you comrade for your contributions to hip hop.

A photo posted by Questlove Gomez (@questlove) on

Tags: P.M. Dawn