Jersey Club music pioneer DJ Tim Dolla dies at 39

The Jersey Club music scene mourns one of its own.

DJ Tim Dolla has passed away.

Dolla, born Timothy Foster, grew up in Newark, where he helped create and develop sound in the early 2000s. He was 39.

His family posted an announcement for the funeral on social media on Monday and did not share a cause of death. Fellow DJs and producers first announced his death on July 14.

Dolla, who also released music as Mista Foster, was part of the Jersey Club Brick Bandits crew.

Jersey Club, a genre known for both remixing popular hip-hop and R&B songs into dance thrills and producing hard-hitting original music, can range from 128 beats per minute to 150+.

At first, Newark producers and DJs, like Dolla’s Jersey Club pioneering DJ Tameil, put their own regional stamp on the music of the Baltimore Club. What started as the Brick City Club eventually became the Jersey Club as more of the music came from places outside of Newark.

Dolla spoke to NJ Advance Media in October about seeing the sound he helped create become a global hit, from MySpace diss tracks and challenges between DJs and rival producers in Newark to TikTok dances, Drake albums and beyond.

One of Dolla’s biggest hits, dating back to the 2000s, is the mighty “Swing Dat” club banger. It wasn’t designed to go viral in the early days of YouTube, but that’s exactly what happened.

“It was filler,” Dolla said of the origins of the lively track, which features vocal calls from DJ Lilman and a sample from an early Baltimore Club break. “We did it so you don’t have to stay on the mic during a party.”

The song is now a Jersey Club classic that still gets people moving.

“It was an organic thing that we were doing in the party,” said Dolla, who lived in North Plainfield and spent her formative years at Arts High School and Essex County College. “We just took that doing it on the party element and put it on the record. So now you can have the same feeling and reaction every time you listen to the record, wherever you go.

“It was just a piece of Newark on the track,” he laughed. “And it wasn’t even that long. It was just something we did, and looped it twice and that was it.

“Hit it 2 the Beat,” Dolla’s collaboration with DJ Wallah, also made waves.

The video contains profanity

Mike V, one of Dolla’s closest associates in the Brick Bandits, remembered Dolla on Instagram, paying tribute to a friend who was always joking and whose positive influence had a ripple effect on those around him.

“He was (an) unstoppable force to be reckoned with, a trailblazer who helped lead our Jersey Club movement,” he said. “Tim was an ambassador of culture, teaching and mentoring many people throughout his journey as a DJ/producer. He was an icon even if he didn’t consider himself one. He was the champion of the people who , many times cheered for you much louder than he did for himself Tim’s goal was to make everyone around him better, I believe he did.

DJ Tameil shared a photo with Dolla from their youth.

Other Jersey Club stars commemorated Dolla as someone who cultivated their talents and vowed to keep her spirit – and the music – alive.

DJ and producer Nadus, aka Rahshon Bright, called him a superhero, mentor, big brother and sensei in an Instagram post – someone who always “left the door open” for him. Dolla’s musical influence has taken him from Newark to gigs around the world.

“For much of my teens through my early twenties, this man and his best friends let us into their safe space and made it OUR safe space,” Nadus said. “No matter where any of this has taken any of us, it never felt like a big enough thank you.”

“Every time I thought I was getting better, on your heels, even you pushed the bar a little more,” he said. “I was living on your shoulder… Thank you for saving my life.”

Another Jersey Club creative force, DJ Sliink, aka Stacey White, echoed Nadus’ sentiment.

“You saved my life, you saved a lot of people,” he said in an Instagram post, adding that he wouldn’t have a music career without Dolla’s example.

And the club pioneer was still making his own music.

In June, Dolla, under the name Mista Foster, released remixes of Nigerian singer Tems’ song “Higher” and Beyoncé’s popular house music-inspired single “Break My Soul”. In 2020, he released an album called “Unreleased”.

The Brick Bandits will reunite for a celebration of Dolla’s life from 5 p.m. to midnight Wednesday, July 27 at Mister East, 2401 N. Wood Ave. in Roselle.

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Amy Kuperinsky can be reached at akuperinsky@njadvancemedia.com and followed at @AmyKup on Twitter.

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