The year 2016 has been one of the most mournful years that I can remember. So many of my musical and cultural heroes have passed away this year. Today, June 18, we lost another Prince.
It’s with great sadness that I bring you news of the death of another influential figure in hip-hop. P.M. Dawn co-founder/rapper Prince Be has passed away at the age of 46. According to PEOPLE, Prince Be died of kidney disease at a hospital in New Jersey.
Prince Be (real name Attrel Cordes) formed P.M. Dawn with his brother, Jarrett Cordes, known as both DJ Minutemix and J.C. The Eternal, in 1988 in Jersey City, N.J.
The rap duo became only the third hip-hop act ever - and first black rappers - to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1991 with their single, "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss," which utilized a sample of Spandau Ballet's "True." They achieved commercial success with their debut album, Of the Heart, Of the Soul and Of the Cross: The Utopian Experience in 1991.
P.M. Dawn's second album, The Bliss Album...?, was another gold-selling success thanks to the LP's classic ballad, "I'd Die Without You," which anchored Eddie Murphy's romantic comedy, Boomerang.
P.M. Dawn would go on to release three more albums together, but none of them would reach the commercial success of their previous efforts. Cordes and his brother would eventually split up.
Unfortunately, Prince Be will also be remembered for his infamous run-in with KRS-One. As the urban legend goes, KRS and his crew ran up onstage and shoved Prince Be off and performed "The Bridge." This is in response to an interview in Details magazine where Prince Be said "KRS-One wants to be a teacher, but a teacher of what?" Needless to say, the Blastmaster wasn't feeling that and confronted P.M. Dawn on their own turf. "I answered his question," KRS-One later told USA Today. "I'm a teacher of respect."
After the duo separated, Prince Be's health started to decline stemming from his ongoing battle with diabetes. He suffered a stroke in 2005 that paralyzed the left side of his body, and his one of his legs was amputated below the kneecap.
"Prince Be Rest In Peace forever more, Pain from Diabetes can't harm you anymore," Cordes' cousin and P.M. Dawn member Doc G wrote on the group's Facebook page following Cordes' death. "My Heart is at Peace B-Cuz U suffered so long, Tell Grandma I said Hi & Stay Blisstatic & Strong."
The Roots drummer Questlove also posted a heartfelt tribute to Prince Be who he called the "Brian Wilson of hip-hop."
"Eccentric. Rich. Textured. Talented. A Sad Beauty. Melancholy....Genius? 3 Dimensional?" he wrote in referenced to Prince Be's songwriting and musical style.
Prince Be leaves behind his wife, Mary, and three children Christian, Mia and Brandon.
I want to send my deepest condolences to Cordes’ family and friends. May he rest in peace.