August 08, Def Jam Singer and Producer, Dies at 31

South Los Angeles singer, songwriter, and producer August 08 has died at the age of 31. 88rising, the collective to which the musician previously belonged, shared the news on Instagram without disclosing a cause of death. “RIP August the kindest and most talented genius you will be missed beyond words,” the collective wrote. “Thank you for being an amazing mentor and a steadfast friend through all these years. 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.”

August 08 was born Ray Jacobs and also went by the name August Grant. He has said that he got into drumming through his mother, who, with his aunt and grandmother, got him a drum machine at a young age. By his early teenage years, he had moved in with his uncle and cousins and started to produce music. With his cousins, August 08 discovered a love for cinema, which served as an inspiration in his music. “I watched a lot of movies growing up,” he recalled in an interview last year. “That’s where all my inspiration comes from. I got to see my first Wes Anderson film and others that eventually inspired the hell out of me.”

In May 2018, August 08 released his debut EP, Father, through 88rising and Red Bull Records. “The project was really based around my father and my father left me when I was young, when I was 11 or 12 years old,” he explained ahead of the project’s release. “But I also wanted to make it a thing where everybody who’s experienced the thing I’ve experienced can relate and feel something from it. No one is talking about those feelings or having father issues. That’s why I think [lead single] ‘Funeral’ is a very important part to the puzzle of opening people up; to realize that’s a bold thing to say to someone: ‘Don’t say it at my funeral, say it to me now.’”

After Father, August 08 released the Happy Endings With an Asterisk and Emotional Cuh EPs through 88rising. He also featured on the collective’s Head in the Clouds and Head in the Clouds II compilations.

In July 2022, August 08 became the first artist to sign with Jhené Aiko’s Def Jam Recordings label venture, Allel Sound. “August is an incredible writer, singer, and artist whose music speaks to me on so many levels,” Aiko said of her signee. “As a fellow Los Angeles native, I am so proud of him. August’s talent, love for songwriting and hands on approach with his art is something I can relate to and have a great amount of respect for.” A month after his Allel Sound signing was announced, August 08 issued his debut album, Seasick, and it featured songs with Aiko, Schoolboy Q, and his fellow 88rising alumnus, Joji.

Earlier this summer, August 08 released the single “Bruises.” In a press statement about the song, the artist said, “‘Bruises’ speaks to love and how it may waiver but never completely abandons us.” A press release for the track also said that it “heralds his anxiously awaited EP, Pretend It’s Okay.”

Beyond his solo work, August 08 collaborated with Channel Tres, Jackson Wang, Ty Dolla $ign, Kyle, Duckwrth, and others. He also co-wrote DJ Khaled’s chart-topping single “I’m the One.”

In a statement shared with Pitchfork, Def Jam Recordings said, “The entire Def Jam family mourns the tragic loss of Ray ‘August 08’ Jacobs. 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.”

Originally Appeared on Pitchfork