Caples appeared on albums by 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, and Dr. Dre during the ’90s.
Jewell, the R&B singer who earned the nickname “The First Lady Of Death Row Records” for her performances on classic West Coast hip-hop tracks in the 1990s, has died. Jewell’s former Death Row labelmate Daz Dillinger announced her death on Instagram on Friday morning. On her own Instagram, she reported being hospitalized with fluid in her heart, lungs, and legs two months ago, but no cause of death has been announced. She was 53.
Born Jewell Caples in Chicago in 1968, Jewell made her name with a run of releases and features for Death Row, the massively successful Los Angeles-based rap label whose roster also included Dr. Dre, Snoop Doggy Dogg, and 2Pac at its peak. Her gospel-inflected vocals drifted through some of the label’s most recognizable songs, though her 1995 album Black Diamond was shelved until 2011, long after Death Row went bankrupt and was auctioned to new ownership.
Jewell’s 1994 cover of Shirley Brown’s “Woman To Woman,” from the soundtrack to Snoop Dogg’s Murder Was The Case short film, hit #72 on the Billboard Hot 100. Jewell sang on multiple songs on Dre’s game-changing 1992 classic The Chronic, including “Fuck Wit Dre Day,” “Let Me Ride,” and “Bitches Ain’t Shit,” and also appeared on Snoop’s blockbuster 1993 debut Doggystyle and 2Pac’s 1996 double album All Eyez On Me. Her Dre-produced “Love Or Lust” appeared on the Deep Cover soundtrack, and two more Jewell songs appeared on the soundtrack for Above The Rim. She also collaborated with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, K-Ci & JoJo, Kool G Rap, Prodigy, Redman, Benzino, and others. In 2011, Jewell self-published the memoir My Blood My Sweat My Tears, in which she shared her theories on Tupac Shakur’s murder and raised questions about Dr. Dre’s sexuality.
Below, revisit some of Jewell’s music.