Attrell ‘Prince Be’ Cordes Of P.M. Dawn Dead At 46 From Diabetes

Attrell “Prince Be” Cordes of the chart-topping hip-hop duo P.M. Dawn, died Friday following a battle with renal kidney disease. He was 46-years-old. A representative for the group confirmed his death to People.

“Prince Be Rest In Peace forever more, Pain from Diabetes can’t harm you anymore,” Cordes’ cousin and P.M. Dawn member Doc G wrote on the group’s Facebook page following Cordes’ death. “My Heart is at Peace B-Cuz U suffered so long, Tell Grandma I said Hi & Stay Blisstatic & Strong.”

Cordes formed P.M. Dawn with his brother Jarrett “DJ Minutemix” Cordes in their native Jersey City, New Jersey in 1988. They first broke through in 1991 with the #1 hit “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss,” which revolved around a sample of Spandau Ballet’s “True.” The single made them the third hip-hop act ever, and the first black rappers, to top the Billboard Hot 100 in 1991. The track appears on their critical acclaim first album, 1991’s Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience. The album achieved gold status, as did its follow-up, 1993’s The Bliss Album. Rolling Stone notes that P.M. Dawn would also achieve two more Top 10’s in “I’d Die Without You” and “Looking Through Patient Eyes.” Collaborations with international pop stars such as Boy George certainly increased their crossover appeal.

Attrell, known by his stage name Prince Be, was also credited as Prince Be the Nocturnal. The Cordes brothers released two more albums in the Nineties, 1995’s Jesus Wept and 1998’s Dearest Christian, I’m So Very Sorry for Bringing You Here. Love, Dad. P.M. Dawn also appeared on the 1993 compilation album Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix. They are credited for the 1995 remix of White Zombie’s “Blood, Milk and Sky” (Miss September Mix) on the Supersexy Swingin’ Sounds compilation album. The following year, the brothers contributed “Non-Fiction Burning” to the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Rio produced by the Red Hot Organization.

Prior to the release of their 2000 compilation album, The Best of P.M. Dawn, the brothers were embattled in a peculiar beef with KRS-ONE. Basically, the Bronx-born rapper and occasional producer didn’t appreciate P.M. Dawn’s soft, pop style, so he bumrushed their MTV-sponsored show at New York’s Sound Factory to perform his #1 hit at the time. The hijack was said to KRS-ONE’s answer to Prince Be’s comment in an interview with Details, in which he said, “KRS-One wants to be a teacher, but a teacher of what?”. It’s worth noting that long before KRS-One stepped to P.M.Dawn, Melle Mel bumrushed him on stage.


P.M.Dawn’s ballad “I’d Die Without You” first appeared on the 1992 soundtrack for the Eddie Murphy film Boomerang. In 1998, Prince Be contributed the tracks “Perfect for You” and “Gotta Be…Movin’ on Up” to the Marlon Wayans and David Spade comedy Senseless. That same year, DJ Minutemix was accused of sexually abusing a 14-year old “close relative” and was subsequently arrested. Health problems stemming from diabetes reportedly took its toll on Prince Be in 2005 when he suffered a stroke that paralyzed the left side of his body, and one of his legs was amputated below the kneecap. Despite Attrell’s health problems, the group continued to make an impact on contemporary hip-hop.

P.M. Dawn appeared on NBC’s Hit Me, Baby, One More Time, performing “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss”, and covered Puddle of Mudd’s “Blurry.” They beat the other four acts and claimed the $20,000 charitable prize, which they contributed to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Watch their performance on the show via the clip below.

[Image via Alexandra Lee | Wikimedia Commons | cropped and resized | CC BY 2.0]