Former Death Row Records Singer Jewell Has Passed Away
Jewell is an R&B singer-songwriter who made hits with Dr. Dre, Tha Dogg Pound, N.W.A., and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. According to collaborator and former label-mate Daz Dillinger, the former Death Row Records artist born Jewell Caples has passed away this morning (May 6). No cause of death has been made public. In March, Jewell shared on Instagram that she had recently had eight pounds of fluid in her heart, lungs, and legs. In a prayerful IG message, she wrote, “I almost died! [I] was supposed to be airlifted to another facility. God [reversed] my symptoms extended me some grace! And gave me more time with my family and friends!”
In a 2021 interview with The Art Of Dialogue, Jewell described her contributions to music. She recalls singing on N.W.A.’s “I’d Rather F*ck You.” Jewell followed collaborating producer Dr. Dre from Eazy E’s Ruthless Records to a fledgling Death Row Records. After solo work on the Deep Cover soundtrack, she appeared on “Let Me Ride” and “B*tches Ain’t Sh*t” from Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. The singer then followed with “What’s My Name” and “Gin And Juice” from Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggystyle. By the mid-1990s, Jewell featured on Tha Dogg Pound’s “What Would You Do?” and Snoop’s “Murder Was The Case.” “Mostly every song I ever did, I wrote my own lyrics [and] it was a hit,” she asserted in a late 2021 interview. In 1995, Jewell’s own song, the DJ Quik co-produced “Woman To Woman,” reached #72 on the Billboard Top 100. Despite the traction from the Murder Was The Case soundtrack single, Jewell’s slated debut album, Black Diamond, remained shelved until the label sold in the 2000s. After some time away, Jewell later rejoined Death Row for Tupac’s All Eyez On Me double album.
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Notably, the Chicago, Illinois native insists she sang on another hit, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s “Foe Tha Love Of $.” The singer says that Bone gave credit to Shatasha Williams. Williams reunited with Bone at last year’s Verzuz against Three 6 Mafia.
Jewell met Suge Knight in Torrance, California, where N.W.A. was recording. At the time, Knight was a bodyguard for the Compton group. Through an introduction to Dre, Jewell began recording with Ruthless. She told The Art Of Dialogue that she and The D.O.C. were the first artists signed to Future Shock, a precursor to Death Row. “I was never seen, but my voice was heard,” Jewell shared, referring to her downplayed role at Dre and Suge’s label. The singer attributed that to her physique. “I was a juicy girl, and they wanted a slim-jim,” she quipped. “So you never really saw me in any videos.” After serving three months for an attempted murder charge, Jewell says she lost weight and became more prominent. “I was a skinny girl when I came out, so they put me in the ‘What Would You Do?’ video.” She added, “I was never upset with the process, but I was mad that my album really never came out.”
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In 2021, Jewell described tensions at Death Row Records after she flew to meet Puff Daddy. The Bad Boy Records CEO reportedly recruited Jewell to write for Total, including a trip to New York City. The singer says she attended the VIBE magazine party, and exchanged conversation with the Bad Boy camp just moments before Biggie Smalls was fatally shot. In 1998, Jewell reunited with Snoop and Dre outside of Death Row on “Just Dippin.'”
In 2011, Jewell self-published a memoir, My Blood My Sweat My Tears. Death Row’s former owner, WideAwake, released a companion soundtrack, as well as a version of Black Diamond. Her passing follows another Death Row artist and former N.W.A. affiliate, CPO Boss Hogg, who passed in January.
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Ambrosia For Heads extends condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Jewell.
#BonusBeat: Jewell’s late 2021 interview with The Art Of Dialogue: