As an A&R man for Capitol Records in the ’60s, and one of the first composers to fuse elements of jazz, rock and R&B into one cohesive fabric, Los Angeles-born composer David Axelrod was well respected among not only his peers, but also the Hip Hop community. The news of 83-year-old Axelrod’s passing surfaced on Sunday (February 5), and although he may be physically gone, he’s left behind a vault of compelling work spanning over five decades. From De La Soul’s 1993 Buhloone Mindstate track “I Am I Be” and DJ Shadow’s 1996 Endtroducing joint “Midnight In A Perfect World” to Madlib’s 2000 offering “The Unseen” and Dr. Dre’s 1999 hit, “The Next Episode,” snippets of his original work can be found in countless compositions.

Artists who have sampled or been influenced by Axelrod’s work throughout the years paid tribute via social media, including (but not limited to) Flying Lotus, Biz Markie, DJ Shadow, DJ Premier, Questlove and El-P of Run The Jewels. 

“So sad to hear about the passing of musician/composer #DavidAxelrod,” Questlove said in an Instagram post. “He was so immersed in creativity and so pure with his arrangements he WAS hip hop. And understood and appreciated hip hop culture (most cats would get guarded about time moving on & easily take the ‘NO!!!!!!!!’ disposition if they aren’t informed. David embraced and often reached out to producers and beatmakers for cool collabos).”

At this time, it is unclear how Axelrod passed away, but one thing is for sure, he will sorely be missed.