August 08, the singer/songwriter and producer who collaborated with and wrote tracks for artists such as DJ Khaled, Jhené Aiko and Kehlani, died on Saturday, his record label announced.
The R&B singer, who co-wrote DJ Khaled’s chart-topper “I’m the One,” was 31.
“The entire Def Jam family mourns the tragic loss of Ray ‘August 08’ Jacobs,” a representative for Def Jam Recordings shared in a statement to USA TODAY on Tuesday. “A brilliant songwriter, an accomplished musician and a singular artist, August will remain in our memory as a beloved colleague and friend. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones.”
The Los Angeles-based music collective 88 Rising, his former record label, also paid tribute to the South LA-born artist — who also went by August Grant, though his real name was Ray Jacobs — on Tuesday.
“It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of Ray Jacobs, also known as AUGUST 08,” 88 Rising’s Instagram post reads. “RIP August the kindest and most talented genius you will be missed beyond words. Thank you for being an amazing mentor and a steadfast friend through all these years.”
The caption continued, “We are forever grateful to you and the joy you brought in every room, through every song. Your energy, guidance and care gave so much inspiration and strength that will be carried on always. Thank you for helping us be brave.”
A cause of death was not revealed. USA TODAY has reached out to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner for more information.
Big Sean, Jeleel, Vince Staples mourn August 08
Rapper Vince Staples paid homage to the singer by sharing August 08’s song “Role Models” to his Instagram Story alongside the message “rest in peace.”
Jeleel and Big Sean were among the artists who flocked to August 08’s most recent Instagram post, shared on Aug. 6, to pay tribute. “Rest in paradise brother,” Jeleel commented.
In June, August 08 released the music video for his single “Bruises,” a dance track that’s part of his latest EP, “Pretend It’s Okay.” Last year, he released the two-part album “Seasick,” whose first installment was “Towards The Sun,” which featured collaborations with Aiko, Joji and ScHoolboy Q.
“Bruises are an expression of love through all. Been through a lot of heartache in my love life but I’ve always been able to put the pieces back together and move forward,” August 08 said in a statement in June regarding the video’s release.
“This video represents love in all forms and how no matter our difference we can love through all. I love how music can connect people from all over allowing for freedom of express. I wanted to pay homage with love and respect to the art and the community.”
‘Don’t say it at my funeral; say it to me now’
In 2019, August 08 spoke to The Red Bulletin — Red Bull’s lifestyle magazine — about the inspiration behind his single “Funeral” off his debut EP, “Father,” which was released by 88rising and Red Bull Records.
“I made this beat, and the words that came out of my mouth were: ‘Don’t say it at my funeral; say it to me now,'” he told the magazine.
“Death is glorified,” he continued. “People always talk about legacy — it doesn’t mean anything if you’re dead. Life is more precious to me.”
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