Questlove, DJ Jazzy Jeff, 9th Wonder and numerous others have paid tribute to singer Bobby Caldwell, who passed away in his sleep at the age of 71 on Tuesday (March 14).

Music journalist A. Scott Galloway initially broke the news on Twitter, with his rep confirming that Caldwell died at his New Jersey home.

TMZ reported that Caldwell had suffered from neuropathy and a ruptured tendon in his ankle, which made him unable to walk for about five years prior to his death.

Caldwell’s music was sampled extensively across the Hip Hop landscape, with his 1978 hit “What You Won’t Do For Love” being flipped by 2Pac on both “Do For Love” and “Heaven Ain’t Hard 2 Find.”

Additionally, Common sampled Caldwell’s “Open Your Eyes” on “The Light,” which he recently performed at De La Soul’s “D.A.I.S.Y. Experience” event in New York City — as did Kendrick Lamar on “R.O.T.C. (Interlude).”

Elsewhere, The Notorious B.I.G. flipped “My Flame” on “Sky’s the Limit” while A$AP Rocky sampled “Carry On” for his track “Better Things.”

Questlove shared a lengthy tribute to the late blue-eyed soul singer on Instagram, expressing regret that he never got to hear Caldwell’s story while revealing that Common’s “The Light” — produced by the late J Dilla — almost never happened.

“I’ve told the story many a time that I told @Common that maybe we should lose the beat to ‘The Light’ cause it wasn’t ‘Dilla enough’——but Rash saw something in it man——he was like ‘naw man imma write to this’ (later found he he wrote it already) —-I wasn’t mad at it but at that time as a sophomore at ‘Dilla U’ I thought I had Dilla all figured out and NONE of his trademark characteristics were rhythmically there…where are the drunken drums?” the Roots drummer wrote.

He continued: “The odd patches….I mean he did a normal G Funk jawn cause Quik was one of his fav producers but iuuno this just sounds ‘normal’ (I’m not even gonna get into the ‘whose on first’ battle between Ohio Players & Detroit Emeralds thing that almost caused a minor rift in our brotherhood) but man I’m so glad I was wrong about this.

“And now you’re gone and I never got a chance to kick it with you & hear your story. Caldwell was the closing chapter in a generation in which record exes wanted to hide faces on album covers so perhaps maybe their artist could have a chance (listen to De La Soul’s MASTERFUL ‘Patti Duke’ on Balloone).

“Commonplace for black artists (see Smokey/Miracles ‘Mickeys Monkey’ or the Isleys ‘This Old Heart Of Mine’ covers….on on the other side NONE of us knew Gino Vanelli, Teena Marie, the literal named Average White Band——and yeah Bobby were NOT black) Man such a missed opportunity to meet a legend. Thank you for your voice and gift.”

HipHopDX sends its condolences to Bobby Caldwell’s family and friends. Check out more reactions to his passing below.


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