Pioneering Cold Chillin’ Rapper Grand Daddy I.U. Has Died

Jaelani Turner-Williams Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with…
Photo Credit: Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Queens-raised rapper Grand Daddy I.U., best known for his work on Cold Chillin’ Records, reportedly passed away on Tuesday at 54-years-old.

Hip-hop legend Grand Daddy I.U., who was best known as a member of Cold Chillin’ Records, died at 54-years-old. TMZ confirmed the news on Tuesday (December 13) after DJ Chuck Chillout broke the news on his Facebook page. I.U., real name Ayub Bey, emerged in the 1980s as an act on now-defunct label Cold Chillin’ Records among the likes of Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane, MC Shan, Roxanne Shanté and others.

Markie assisted in Bey’s signing to Cold Chillin’ Records after hearing his demo tape through Bey’s brother, Kay Cee. Bey’s 1990 debut album, Smooth Assassin, produced two hit singles, “Something New” and “Sugar Free.” The Queens-raised MC was famous for his signature tailored look, in which he often wore a suit and tie.

Smooth Assassin was followed by Bey’s 1994 sophomore album Lead Pipe, but the MC also did ghostwriting work for Markie and Shanté. Along with ghostwriting, Bey produced for fellow rap acts including Das EFX, Heltah Skeltah, KRS-One, Ice-T. Lead Pipe received little promotion, spawning Bey to release standalone 1996 single “All About Money” before taking a ten-year retirement from rapping.

In 2007, he returned with third LP Stick to the Script, followed by P.I.M.P. (Paper Is My Priority) in 2015. Before his untimely passing, Bey was a media personality and conducted interviews with underground and old-school rap entertainers on his Facebook page, his final interview being with Raheim of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five in November.

Read tributes to Granddaddy I.U. below.

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