Photo Credit: Johnny Nunez/WireImage
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.
\u201cMan I can\u2019t take it. Don \u201c3Feet High & Rising\u201d Game Show Announcer Newkirk transitioned?!\u201d— Plug 5. (@Plug 5.) 1669465425
\u201cAny kid that grew up a Def Jam fan and a Prince Paul fan is familiar with the work of the multitalented Don Newkirk. Sad day for heads.\u201d— Dart_Adams (@Dart_Adams) 1669439535
\u201cDon Newkirk was a great man. Damn. Love that guy. Good human being. Music Family. Rest In Peace\u201d— R.A. the Rugged Man (@R.A. the Rugged Man) 1669443056
\u201ci dont even know what to say about Don Newkirk dying. his voice is in my life in so many ways.\u201d— open michael eagle (@open michael eagle) 1669441676
\u201cThe Rock The Bells family is sad to report the passing of Don Newkirk. He was probably best known for his work with 3rd Bass, @wearedelasoul but was also part of the awesome experimental & innovative project, BROOKZILL! #RestInPower\ud83d\udd4a\u201d— Rock The Bells (@Rock The Bells) 1669479775
\u201c"Music is just expression in the purest form. Anybody can make music. Anybody" - Don Newkirk #RIPLEGEND #RIPDonnewkirk @allhiphopcom @MrChuckD @hiphopgods @KWAMEDIDIT @ambrosia4heads @RockTheBells @Princepo\u201d— Tim Einenkel (@Tim Einenkel) 1669453197
\u201cLife is crazy. Not to long ago I was picking Don Newkirk's brain about R&B Production. We talked for damn near two hours. He gave me some feedback on some stuff I was working on. Don was the cat who helped me get my first R&B album placement. Damn!\n\nRest In Power Don Newkirk\u201d— Nazir Assad (@Nazir Assad) 1669441491
\u201cHearing the sad news that artist and musician, Don Newkirk has passed away. He is known for his work (voice overs) with 3rd Bass and De La Soul. He has worked with Ladybug Mecca, Prince Paul and more. Rest in power #RIPDonNewkirk \ud83d\ude4f\ud83c\udffe\ud83d\ude4f\ud83c\udffe\u2728\u2728\u201d— hiphopbackintheday (@hiphopbackintheday) 1669482515
\u201cRIP Don Newkirk\n\nKnown for voice-overs on De La Soul's, Three Feet High and Rising, and the 3rd Bass' song, "The Gas Face" he also was on the remix to "Say No Go" by De La Soul. He also delivered the baseline, lead horn line and keyboards on Stetsasonic's "Talking All That Jazz".\u201d— Ave (@Ave) 1669485258