August 08, L.A. singer-songwriter who worked with Justin Bieber and Jhené Aiko, dies at 31

An R&B singer-songwriter in a denim jacket in front of a red gate
August 08.
(Def Jam Recordings)
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August 08, the South L.A. singer and songwriter who penned hits for Justin Bieber and DJ Khaled, has died. He was 31.

The news was announced on Instagram by his former record label, 88 Rising, and confirmed by his current label, Def Jam Recordings.

A cause of death was not given.

“The entire Def Jam family mourns the tragic loss of Ray ‘August 08’ Jacobs,” the label said in a statement. “A brilliant songwriter, an accomplished musician and a singular artist, August will remain in our memory as a beloved colleague and friend.”


Jacobs’ sister, LaSherry “Joy” McKinney, posted in a video that her brother died Saturday.

Peers throughout the music world paid tribute on Tuesday.

“I’m so heartbroken,” songwriter Bonnie McKee wrote on Instagram. “August you are so talented and I was loving watching your star rise. We only did one song together but damn I was so impressed … You were so kind and a genuine pleasure to work with.”

August 08 was a favorite co-writer for major acts like Bieber (“Sorry”), DJ Khaled (“I’m the One”), Quavo and Chance the Rapper. His 2022 LP, “Seasick,” released on Def Jam in conjunction with Jhené Aiko’s Allel Sound imprint, featured collaborations with Aiko, Schoolboy Q and Joji.

Ray Davon Jacobs was born on Jan. 2, 1992. In an interview, he said his family came from Compton and that he grew up in Lynwood and Long Beach. He discovered music through his extended family and childhood friends like Sheldon Young, a.k.a. producer Channel Tres. Jacobs’ music drew from R&B and club music, which gave a wide palette for his sleek, lonesome vocals. Recent singles like this year’s “Bruises” pulled from the same Black house music traditions that have captivated Beyoncé and Drake.

August 08 came to prominence as a solo artist as an early member of the 88 Rising artist collective, which produces L.A.’s Head in the Clouds festival. He appeared on tracks with 88 Rising peers Higher Brothers, Joji and Rich Brian, and released his debut solo EP “Father” in 2018 through the collective’s label.

“No one is talking about ... having father issues,” he told Complex that year. ”That’s why I think [the single] ‘Funeral’ is a very important part to the puzzle of opening people up, to realize that’s a bold thing to say to someone: ‘Don’t say it at my funeral, say it to me now.’”

He would go on to release several EPs and the albums “Emotional CUH” in 2020 and “Seasick” in 2022.

At the time of his signing, Aiko described August 08 as “an incredible writer, singer and artist whose music speaks to me on so many levels.”


Jacobs is survived by his mother and two sisters.