top of page

Attrell Cordes

Born:     May 15, 1970
Place of Birth:  Jersey City, NJ
Died:   June 17, 2016
Place of Death:  Neptune, NJ

Zodiac Sign:  Taurus

Attrell Stephen Cordes, Jr. aka Prince Be was an American rapper, musician, singer and record producer. Cordes was the lead vocalist of the hip hop group P.M. Dawn, which he formed in 1988 with his brother, Jarrett Cordes, also known by DJ Minutemix. Cordes, as the frontman and lyricist for P.M. Dawn, became known for blending rap with singing, as well as ethereal beats and aspects of mysticism and crypto-Christian imagery, to his songs. In 2016, The New York Times called both Cordes and P.M. Dawn "both underappreciated and quietly influential."

Cordes, known on stage as Prince Be, formed P.M. Dawn with his younger brother, Jarrett Cordes, a.k.a. DJ Minutemix, in Jersey City in 1988. The duo created their first demo using $600 that Attrell Cordes had earned while working at a homeless shelter as a nighttime security guard. Attrell Cordes was one of first artists to blend and transition between rap and singing, often in the same song, within his music.


The duo released their first single, "Ode to a Forgetful Mind", in 1989. In 1991, P.M. Dawn released their gold-certified debut album, Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience, much of which was written and produced by Attrell Cordes. The album, a critical and commercial success, was led by the first single, "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss", in which Prince Be and DJ Minutemix sampled Spandau Ballet's 1983 hit, "True", with co-writing credits for Gary Kemp and Attrell Cordes. "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" became the first single by a black rap group to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and only the third rap artist to reach to the top of that chart overall.


Cordes endured several serious health problems, including diabetes for more than twenty years. He suffered several strokes, including one in 2005 which resulted in partial paralysis on the left side of his body. One of his legs had to be partially amputated below the knee due to gangrene. He had been living in nursing homes during recent years as his health deteriorated.

Despite his health setbacks, Attrell Cordes and P.M. Dawn have a strong influence on contemporary rap, including the cloud rap branch of the genre.

Attrell Cordes died from kidney failure, a complication of his diabetes, at Jersey Shore University Medical Center on Neptune City, New Jersey, on June 17, 2016, at the age of 46. He was survived by his wife, Mary Sierra-Cordes and three children: Mia, Christian and Brandon.  Source.

bottom of page