James Laurence of Hip-Hop Production Duo Friendzone Has Died
James Laurence, one half of the Bay Area rap production duo Friendzone, has died, the Fader reports. Sunday evening, fellow musicians including Ryan Hemsworth, Clams Casino, and How to Dress Well posted tributes to the late producer to social media.
Along with producers like Clams Casino and Squadda B of Main Attrakionz, Friendzone helped define a pillowy, lo-fi style of hip-hop production that came to be known as cloud rap when it emerged around 2011. Along with their work for rappers including A$AP Rocky, Friendzone also released ten mixtapes of instrumental material, as well as their debut album DX in 2013. The Main Attrakionz song “Chuch,” which Friendzone produced for their breakout mixtape 808s and Dark Grapes II, is as good an introduction as any to the cloud rap sound.
Details regarding Laurence’s cause and time of death have not been made public. SPIN has requested comment from a representative of Friendzone. See tributes from Laurence’s contemporaries below.