Delicious Vinyl Co-Founder & Hit Producer Matt Dike Has Passed Away At Age 55

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UPDATE: While the news of Matt Dike’s death was revealed to the public yesterday (March 13), the music executive, producer, and DJ is confirmed to have died in mid-January. A report in The Los Angeles Times, which claims Dike was 56 (other sources, including Delicious Vinyl’s obituary, suggest he was 55) also confirms that he died from complications related to salivary gland cancer.

ORIGINAL MARCH 13 STORY: Just days apart, Hip-Hop has lost two important figures. This morning, it was confirmed that former Bad Boy Records breakout star Craig Mack died of heart failure yesterday (March 12), at age 46. Matt Dike, producer and co-founder of Delicious Vinyl Records, has also died. The label confirmed the news today (March 13). He was 55 years old.

Dike co-founded Delicious Vinyl with partner Mike “Floss” Ross in 1987. He was approximately 25 years old at the time. Together, the producers signed a roster that would grow to include Young M.C., Tone-Loc, The Pharcyde, Masta Ace Incorporated, and the Brand New Heavies. Dike, a New York native DJ, produced the talent alongside Ross. Together, the pair was responsible for an innovative, Pop-friendly style of sampling and programming heard on smash hits like Young M.C.’s “Bust A Move” and “Know How,” as well as Tone-Loc’s “Wild Thing” and “Funky Cold Medina.”

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The production had a strong hand in the music’s success. While Young M.C. penned the suggestive and catchy verses for both rappers, Dike and Ross pulled bits and pieces from Classic Rock, Soul, and recent Pop to sample from the pair’s vast record collections. These were sounds with which music fans across race, age, and genre preferences had familiarity. The corresponding videos targeted an MTV audience, as Tone-Loc famously spoofed Robert Palmer’s recent hit “Addicted To Love.” The formula worked, sparking Top 10 records, platinum certifications, Grammy awards, and lots of licensing. As Rap was being embraced in the mainstream, Young M.C. and Tone-Loc predated the boom that followed, including chart-topping hits from M.C. Hammer, Vanilla Ice, and Sir Mix-A-Lot.

1989 would prove to be an important year. Dike was part of the ensemble on Beastie Boys’ sophomore Paul’s Boutique. In fact, much of the sophomore album from the late MCA, Ad-Rock, and Mike D was recorded in the DJ/producer’s living-room, reportedly with some of him on the sampler. Along with Dust Brothers (Mike “E.Z. Mike” Simpson and John “King Gizmo” King), Dike worked with the group and their longtime engineer Mario C. (aka Mario Caldonato). Although it was not a success upon release, Paul’s Boutique achieved double-platinum certification within a decade. The groundbreaking album boasts more than 105 samples. It also marked a sonic and thematic shift for the Beasties after a blockbuster tenure at Def Jam Records with Rick Rubin.

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Paul’s Boutique is the lone intersection of the Beasties, Dike, and The Dust Brothers. Mario C. stayed on to produce the trio into the 1990s and beyond. The Dust Brothers duo later found mainstream success with Beck and Hanson, while Dike’s trajectory soon headed away from music.

Matt subsequently made remixes for The Pharcyde, Aerosmith, Mellow Man Ace, and Def Jef. However, he would ultimately make an exit after just three years producing hits. According to an obituary written by Peter Relic on the label site, “Matt Dike left Delicious Vinyl in 1992, relinquishing sole ownership to Michael Ross, who retains ownership to this day. Living in a mansion in Echo Park that allegedly once belonged to silent film star Fatty Arbuckle, Dike retreated from public life.”

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Outside of music, Dike maintained a friendship with painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. He is responsible for bringing the late master to Los Angeles for the first time in 1983.

The obituary does not specify the cause of death, but reports, “Matt Dike passed away at home [in Los Angeles] after a brief illness, with his brother Lane and sister Vikyana at his side. He is survived by his siblings, and his nephew Matthew.”

Ambrosia For Heads extends condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Matt Dike.