Don Newkirk’s music and voice touched vital Hip-Hop records by Stetsasonic, 3rd Bass, De La Soul, and solo releases of his longtime friend and close collaborator Prince Paul. He and Paul co-founded groups, including BROOKZILL! and Baby Elephant. The Bronx-born, Long Island, New York-raised artist has passed away. Paul was among those who confirmed the news. Questlove, Chuck D, Dante Ross, R.A. The Rugged Man, Open Mike Eagle, and BROOKZILL! band-mate Rodrigo Brandão are among those who have publicly mourned the man. No additional details of Don Newkirk’s death have been made public.
These posts have remembered a man who added impact to Stet’s “All That Jazz” and 3rd Bass’ “The Gas Face” by way of his bass, trumpet, and stunning keyboard work. Don released solo music through Def Jam Records and Columbia Records as an R&B solo artist who released Funk City in 1989. That same year, he contributed to De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising and a decade later, Paul’s audio movie A Prince Among Thieves. In 2016, Newkirk, Paul, Digable Planets’ Ladybug Mecca, and MC Rodrigo Brandão united to release BROOKZILL!’s Throwback To The Future. The Tommy Boy LP was a concept album blending the musical styles of Brazil with Hip-Hop. Some of the album was made at Don’s Georgia home.