Rapper Grand Daddy I.U., best known for his debut album Smooth Assassin and formerly signed to Cold Chillin’ Records, has passed away. He was 54. His spokeswoman, Raya, announced the information on Instagram on Tuesday, adding, “No, I’m not alright. I’m in shock.”
The statement stated, “Anyone who really knows me knows how much genuine love and respect I had for him and I’m staying quiet right now out of respect for him and his family.”
“I don’t have to share anecdotes or images to make a claim. I ask for a calm and simple transition.” Hip-hop producer Pete Rock, a close friend of the late rapper, also paid tribute to him on Instagram, stating in the caption, “Grand Daddy I.U. passed quietly in his sleep.”
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The cause of Grand Daddy I.U.’s passing has not yet been made public. His spokesman did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment right away.
The rapper, whose true name is Ayub Bey, was born on August 23, 1968, in Queens, New York, and decided to pursue a career in music after being inspired by his brother Kay Cee.
In 1989, Biz Markie signed him to the record company Cold Chillin’ Records after receiving a demo tape from him. Grand Daddy I.U.’s debut studio album, Smooth Assassin, featuring the songs “Something New” and “Sugar-Free,” was released the following year.
In the 1990s, Grand Daddy I.U. went on to make guest appearances on a number of hip-hop albums, including Positive K’s The Skills Dat Pay Da Bills and Big L’s Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous.
He released his sophomore album, Lead Pipe, in 1994 after breaking up with Markie. Stick to the Script, Grand Daddy I.U.’s third album was released in 2007. In July 2021, his most recent song, “Stay Fly,” was released.
LL Cool J paid tribute to the late rapper by uploading a picture of him on Instagram after learning of his passing. “King, rest in power. You had hip-hop in your blood, @granddaddy iu. We appreciate your contribution. 🙏🏾🕊, “In the caption, he wrote.
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