Acclaimed hip hop producer Don Newkirk, known for working with groups like De La Soul, has died at the age of 56.
The cause of death was not announced, AllHipHop reported.
Hip hop artist Don Newkirk dies
The news was confirmed by Rahiem of Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five.
“It is with a heavy heart I announce the transitioning of my brother Don Newkirk,” he wrote on Facebook. “Fifty-six years young. Don Newkirk was among the first R&B artists signed to Def Jam records. My condolences go out to his family. S.I.P bro.”
Newkirk was known for his work with the jazzy rap group De La Soul and Prince Paul, who produced De La Soul’s debut album 3 Feet High and Rising.
De La Soul commemorated Newkirk, who provided voice-overs on 3 Feet High and Rising, in an Instagram post.
“Ever since high school, we all knew Don Newkirk was undoubtedly a special kind,” the post read. “Fearless in expression and just a positive, talented vessel destined for success. His voice was the final cherry on top that closed our album 3ft High and Rising. Thank you Don, may you rest peacefully fam. Our condolences go out to the family and to you @djprincepaul.”
Chuck D of Public Enemy also paid tribute to Newkirk, writing, “#RestInBeats.”
Newkirk released his debut album, Funk City, in 1989 on Def Jam’s R&B label OBR.
He was also known for working with 3rd Bass, lending a voice-over to their track “The Gas Face.”
Newkirk also composed the soundtrack for the Netflix documentary Who Killed Malcolm X with Prince Paul and was part of the short-lived group BROOKZILL!, which included Newkirk, Prince Paul, Digable Planets’ Ladybug Mecca, and Rodrigo Brandão.