Attrell Cordes, better known as Prince Be of P.M. Dawn, has passed away at the age of 46 from kidney disease due to his struggle with diabetes. The New Jersey native was half of the ’90s R&B group with brother Jarrett Cordes. After the introduction of the Nielsen SoundScan in 1991, P.M. Dawn earned the first #1 with “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss” on the Billboard Hot 100.
The group’s first two albums went on to achieve Gold Status and last hit the charts in 1998 on the Senseless soundtrack with “Gotta Be… Movin’ on Up.”
The group was also part of one of the most epic moments in Hip Hop history, when they mentioned KRS-One to a publication in 1992 saying, “KRS-One wants to be a teacher, but a teacher of what?” Later that year, The Teacher threw Cordes off the stage at Manhattan’s Sound Factory nightclub and then went into a performance of “The Bridge.”
Overall, P.M. Dawn spawned seven Billboard Hot 100 hits after hitting the charts 25 years ago. Cordes is survived by his wife Mary and his children Christian, Mia and Brandon.
The group’s website confirmed the tragic news, “With profound sadness, the driving force of P.M. Dawn, Attrell Cordes “Prince Be” has passed. Cordes passed Friday of renal kidney disease from diabetes at a hospital in his home state of New Jersey.”
Questlove penned a poignant tribute to the late artist via Instagram.
Man. We did #PrinceBe dirty. Forever etched in the minds of true school hiphopers as an undeserving piñata in krs’ darkest hour—actually as I write this I will say *that incident* marked the beginning of the “political correctness” period of hip hop. Or it could mark the beginning of its ending (another “Prince” example, I never see #SignOTheTimes as “the masterpiece!!!” More than I see it as “the curtain call of genius” only to show up now and then—the ending)—after “the incident” nothing was the same. Nada. (For Kris or Prince Be…actually for hip hop period but that’s another story) Prince Be coulda been hip hop’s Brian Wilson. Eccentric. Rich. Textured. Talented. A Sad Beauty. Melancholy….Genius? 3 Dimensional? I quietly championed him that saddens me. Why? Cause I didn’t want the other kids to think I was some sappy dweeb that felt bad for the kid from *that incident*?—yeah man. In my 40s now idgaf about speculation of my “coolness” and “downess” Actually I can’t be dweeby enough…but yeah man—behind closed doors I’d marvel at how his mixes were so cotdamn clean. And his harmonies on point. And his content? All that spacey metaphysical emo “nextness” that defined post aughts/modern hip hop was his lane all day. And let’s just get it out in the open: De La Soul deserves a #MacarthurGenius for #EyeKnow’s rhyme cadence ALONE. Glass half fool is: “why mofos bitting De La flow!?!?” Glass half full is: “duh! When you are pioneering as De La & #3FeetHighAndRising was (listen up @mtv the pubescent reviewers they hire) it’s gonna INFLUENCE & shift the axis: Digable/Arrested/Roots/Kast—everyone learned from that album–It’s just that #PMDawn friggin mastered that jawn perfectly. Dude I so don’t wanna be the posthumous post guy—I tried to not sermonize Ali because part of me knew that everyone would wax poetic. But the itch and the thought that #PrinceBe could make an exit in silence frightens me. Cause it ain’t like no one that’s been in the top 10 for the last 10 years on iTunes will say anything. that’s maddening. This dude was a friggin mind blowing artist who deserved better than this man….thank you comrade for your contributions to hip hop.