Rapper Grand Daddy I.U. is dead at age 54

Grand Daddy I.U., a rapper who was initially signed to Cold Chillin’ Records and was best known for his first album Smooth Assassin, has passed away. He was 54.

Tuesday, his spokesperson Raya confirmed the news to PEOPLE. She also published a message on Instagram, stating, “No, I am not alright. I’m heartbroken.”

“Anyone who knows me knows how much pure love and respect I had for him, and out of respect for him and his family, I’m staying quiet right now,” the statement read. “I do not need to post pictures nor stories to profess anything. I pray for a peaceful and easy transition.”

Hip-hop producer Pete Rock, a longtime friend of the deceased rapper, also paid homage on Instagram, saying, “Grand Daddy I.U. passed away quietly in his sleep.”

Grand Daddy I.U.’s cause of death is yet unknown. “The family awaits the autopsy findings,” his spokesman told PEOPLE.

Ayub Bey, born on August 23, 1968, in Queens, New York, pursued a career in music after his brother Kay Cee pushed him to do so.

Biz Markie signed him to Cold Chillin’ Records in 1989 after listening to his demo tape. Smooth Assassin, Grand Daddy I.U.’s debut studio album, was released the following year, which featured the songs “Something New” and “Sugar-Free.”

In the 1990s, Grand Daddy I.U. appeared as a guest on several hip-hop albums, featuring Big L’s Lifestyles of the Poor and Dangerous and Positive K’s The Skills That Pay the Bills.

In 1994, after separating from Markie, he recorded his second album., Copper Pipe. Stick to the Script is the third studio album by Grand Daddy I.U., which was released in 2007. “Stay Fly,” his most recent single, was released in July 2021.

Grand Daddy I.U. Career

Born in Queens, New York, Grand Daddy I.U. was reared in Hempstead, Long Island, where his brother, also known as Kay Cee, pushed him to begin performing. He recorded a demo tape in 1989 and handed it to Biz Markie, who then signed him to Cold Chillin’ Records.

Smooth Assassin, his 1990 first album, produced two Rap Chart hits: “Something New” (number 11), which sampled James & Bobby Purify’s “I’m Yours,” and “Sugar-Free” (number 9). Always wearing a suit and tie in public, he became noted for his upscale fitted wardrobe.

During the 1990s, Grand Daddy I.U. contributed to several hip hop albums, featuring Big L’s Lifestylez of the Poor and Dangerous and Positive K’s The Skills That Pay the Bills.

Grand Daddy I.U. ghostwrote and produced for Markie and Roxanne Shanté but broke out with Markie after a publication credit disagreement about the songs on his first album.

Lead Pipe was his sophomore album, released in 1994. The album’s debut track, “Represent,” charted slightly on the U.S. Dance Singles Chart. After the 1996 release of the song “All About Money,” Grand Daddy I.U. quit rapping for nearly a decade due to the album’s lack of promotion.

Grand Daddy I.U. Cause of Death

At the moment, early remarks around his death showed that he died in his sleep.

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