Axelrod made his name working at Capitol Records, producing other artists and releasing a dozen albums of his own. His ability to combine soul, jazz and rock elements made him an integral figure in musical history.
Further, his music resurfaced in the '90s when samples of his work appeared in multiple hip-hop songs. As such, he became something of a hip-hop forefather.
Axelrod has been sampled by the likes of Dr. Dre, the Wu-Tang Clan, Lauryn Hill, Lil Wayne, DJ Shadow, Masta Ace and countless others. In 2001, Axelrod also teamed up with James Lavelle's Mo' Wax imprint to release a celebrated self-titled comeback album.
While we await more information on Axelrod's cause of death, you can read tributes to the late artist from various musicians below.
So sad to hear about the passing of musician/composer #DavidAxelrod. He was so immersed in creativity and so pure with his arrangements he WAS hip hop. And understood and appreciated hip hop culture (most cats would get guarded about time moving on & easily take the "NO!!!!!!!!" disposition if they aren't informed. David embraced and often reached out to producers and beatmakers for cool collabos) he appreciation for music and his ability to recognize musicianship is what I'll take from him. Rest in Melody.
Producer and composer extraordinaire David Axelrod has passed. Listening to "Songs Of Experience" on repeat for the remainder of the day.— DJ Shadow (@djshadow) February 6, 2017
I'll never forget meeting him for the first time in 1998. We asked him to do a remix for "Rabbit In Your Headlights" off the Unkle album.— DJ Shadow (@djshadow) February 6, 2017
David could be incredibly intimidating, & he did not suffer fools...but if he liked & respected you, he was the most loyal friend on earth.— DJ Shadow (@djshadow) February 6, 2017
Fuck. RIP David Axelrod.— Hudson Mohawke (@HudMo) February 5, 2017