David Axelrod passed at the age of 83 Sunday leaving an impressive legacy that has garnered respect from the whole the music community, marking him a legendary producer and composer. His cause of death is still unknown. Axelrod was garnered as a pioneer and revered wildly by the hip hop community, for his use of sampling in producing, who gave condolences publicly today, many giving their message of praise and passing through social media.
“So sad to hear about the passing of musician/composer #DavidAxelrod,” Questlove wrote on Instagram. “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). [His] appreciation for music and his ability to recognize musicianship is what I’ll take from him.”
DJ Shadow tweeted of Axelrod, “I’ll never forget meeting him for the first time in 1998. We asked him to do a remix for ‘Rabbit In Your Headlights’ off the Unkle album. David could be incredibly intimidating, & he did not suffer fools…but if he liked & respected you, he was the most loyal friend on earth. So honored to have known you David, you are a bonofide hero to an entire generation of hip-hop kids and musical dreamers.”
Axelrod can be found on many of hip-hop’s early generation songs being sampled by greats like De La Soul and Ghostface Killah. Most notably his music can be heard being sampled on Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s smash hit “Next Episode”. His abstract sound was beautiful and simple but could also be wildly complicated and dark the next moment. This obscure sound and crisp sound was quickly sought after and studied by other producers who would copy, sample and emulate his sound for years to come.
The LA born super producer influenced the lives of many and shaped the sound of an emerging hip-hop generation. The artists that based the sounds of their careers felt the shock of losing a great. Someone who looked in the opposite direction of the norm and dared to be different, Axelrod gave inspiration to so many young producers and it is clearly evident that the feeling of loss and mourning is mutual amongst the music community.