Brookzill in concert new york ny
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Hip-Hop Producer & De La Soul Collaborator Don Newkirk Has Died

Hip-hop producer and musician Don Newkirk, best known for his collaborations with De La Soul and 3rd Bass, has died at 56-years-old.

Hip-hop enthusiasts are mourning the loss of legendary producer and musician Don Newkirk. On Friday (November 25), Raheim of The Furious Five confirmed news of Newkirk's death in a Facebook post, although his cause of death hasn't been revealed.

“It is with a heavy heart I announce the transitioning of my brother Don Newkirk,” Rahiem wrote. “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.”

De La Soul, who Newkirk worked with as a voiceover artist on the group's 1989 debut 3 Feet High and Rising, also went to Instagram to pay tribute to their former collaborator.

“Ever since high school, we all knew Don Newkirk was undoubtedly a special kind," read the group's post. "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.”

Newkirk was also heard as an announcer on "The Gas Face" by rap group 3rd Bass. Following his work on 3 Feet High and Rising, Newkirk released his first album Funk City on Def Jam R&B subsidiary OBR. In his later years, Newkirk was part of hip-hop ensemble Brookzill! with longtime De La Soul producer Prince Paul, Ladybug Mecca of Digable Planets and Rodrigo Brandão.

Funk City was like in a mode of me experimenting, learning instrumentation and learning how to use my voice in a different way other than just rapping,” Newkirk told AllHipHop about Funk City last year. “Because I was never a singer. I was always an MC. But I just felt like I could express what I was trying to save better with melody back then. So it came out more so as Funk City, which I think is dope because it gave people a whole different element of me.

Read tributes to Newkirk below.