Prince Ital Joe died on an Arizona highway May 16, while en route to his home in Los Angeles. He was thrown from the car he was traveling in after the tire blew. Police reports stated that Prince Ital Joe was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident. The vehicles seat belt-wearing driver was not injured, and another passenger who reportedly was not wearing a seat belt is listed in critical condition.
The 38-year-old native from the English and French patois-speaking West Indian island of Dominica was one of the first reggae chanters to achieve fame in hip-hop music. A devout Rastafarian who survived the street life and gang violence, Prince Ital made a legendary appearance as a Jamaican posse don in the 1989 Steven Seagal film "Marked For Death." Prince Ital Joe recorded with such artists as 2Pac, Marky Mark, Coolio, Daz and Snoop Doggy Dogg. The hit single "Respect" from the Dogg Pound’s controversial 1995 Dogg Food LP (Death Row) is infused with Joe’s rough and ready raggamuffining. In his lifetime, Prince Ital Joe opened for such reggae legends as Jimmy Cliff, Ziggy Marley, and Steel Pulse. The one-stop culture shop Jah Juice that Prince Ital Joe owned and operated at the corner of Hollywood and Cahuenga boulevards, was a Hollywood fixture for more than a decade.
Prince Ital Joe’s first single "Poverty Sucks" went to No. 1 in 1986 on the UK reggae charts. His collaborative 1994-released album with Marky Mark Wahlberg on the In The Streets LP (EastWest) also helped establish Prince Ital Joe as an international superstar by charting at No. 1 in Germany. The"Happy People" and "United" singles from that album were used on the soundtrack for the ’94 motion picture "Renaissance Man" starring Danny DiVito.
The still untitled last album Prince Ital Joe record is scheduled for posthumous release on the independent label Status Records in June. It will feature appearances by Coolio, Daz Dillenger, and YoYo. Prince Ital Joe is survived by his wife, a daughter, his mother, and three brothers.