Music

The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead 

Ranker Hip Hop
Originally by
Updated May 1, 2020 68.3k votes 13.6k voters 198.6k views 43 items

List Rules Vote up the hip hop artists who made the greatest bodies of work before they died

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The Notorious B.I.G. once rapped, "I wonder if I died / Would tears come to her eyes / Forgive me for my disrespect / Forgive me for my lies." Biggie, we forgive you. Several famous rappers and hip-hop stars have unfortunately passed away. This list ranks the best of them. Some of these musicians were shot during an illegal activity, while others died of natural causes. Two famous rappers are suspected to have died in conjunction with the East/West rap rivalry of the 1990s.

Who is the best rapper who is already dead? Tupac Shakur tops our list. Tupac died on September 13, 1996 after being shot in Las Vegas. He was 25 years old. The Notorious B.I.G. died on March 9, 1997 after being murdered in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. Though many believe that his death was retaliation for the murder of Tupac, no arrests have been made in correlation with either murder. 

Adam Yauch, aka, MCA of the Beastie Boys, died on May 4, 2012 after a three year battle with cancer. He was 47 years old. On August 25, 2001, Aaliyah was killed, along with eight others, when her flight to the Bahamas crashed shortly after takeoff. She was 22 years old.

Are you surprised that so many famous rappers have died? Take a look at this list and share your thoughts in the comments section.

list ordered by
1
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
Genre: Hip hop music, Political hip hop & Gangsta rap; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: All Eyez on Me, Me Against the World, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, Still I Rise, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z..., + more

Tupac Shakur died on September 13, 1996 after being shot in Las Vegas. He was 25 years old.

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2
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
Genre: Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop & East Coast hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again, Duets: The Final Chapter, Greatest Hits, + more

The Notorious B.I.G. died on March 9, 1997 after being shot in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. Many believe that his death was a retaliation for Tupac's death in their ongoing East Coast/West Coast rivalry. 

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3
Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
Genre: Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop & Gangsta rap; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Eazy-Duz-It, It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa, Eternal E, Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin’ Compton, 5150: Home 4 tha Sick, + more

In 1995, NWA rapper Eazy-E was diagnosed with AIDS when he went to the hospital to treat what he thought was asthma. He died from complications from AIDS less than a month later.

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4
Nate Dogg is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
Genre: Hip hop music, Pop music & Neo soul; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Music & Me, Welcome To The Dogg House, G-Funk Classics, Vol. 1 & 2, Nate Dogg, + more

Nate Dogg died March 15, 2011 due to complications with multiple strokes. He was 41 years old.

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The Best Nate Dogg Albums of All Time #1,065 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #27 of 255 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

5
Big L is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
r-a-menizz added

Albums: The Big Picture, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, Children of the Corn: The Collector's Edition, The Archives 1996–2000, Harlem's Finest – A Freestyle History, + more

On February 15, 1999, Big L was killed in his native Harlem after being shot nine times in the face and chest in a drive-by shooting. 

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The Best Big L Songs #67 of 255 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #90 of 214 The Best New School Rappers

6
Big Pun is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
Genre: Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop & East Coast hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Capital Punishment, Yeeeah Baby, Endangered Species, The Legacy: The Best of Big Pun, It's So Hard, + more

Big Pun died on February 7, 2000 after suffering a fatal heart attack in New York. He struggled with maintaining a healthy weight for much of his life.

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7
Ol' Dirty Bastard is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
Genre: Hip hop music, Rap music & Hardcore hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, The Trials and Tribulations of Russell Jones, Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are), A Son Unique, Nigga Please, + more

Ol' Dirty Bastard died on November 13, 2004 from a drug overdose at the age of 35.

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8
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
Genre: Hip hop music, Pop music & Neo soul; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Aaliyah, One in a Million, I Care 4 U, Age Ain't Nothing but a Number, Back & Forth, + more

On August 25, 2001, Aaliyah and eight others were killed when her airplane crashed shortly after takeoff. She was 22 years old. 

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9
Proof is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
Proof Genre: Hip hop music and Midwest hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Searching for Jerry Garcia, Grown Man Shit, I Miss the Hip Hop Shop, Time A Tell

Proof was shot and killed in Detroit on April 11, 2006. He was 32 years old.

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10
Prodigy is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
Jay Clayton added Genre: Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop & East Coast hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: H.N.I.C., Return of the Mac, H.N.I.C. Pt. 2, Albert Einstein, Product of the 80's, + more

Prodigy died June 20 2017 in Las Vegas N.V. at the age of 42 ... he died from a lifelong Battlle with Sickle-Cell Anaemia Disease, the average life expectancy ranges form 40 to 60 for people who suffer of this disease 

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11
XXXTentacion is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead

XXXTentacion was tragically shot and killed while sitting in a car in Florida on June 18, 2018. 

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The Best XXXTentacion Songs, Ranked #24 of 255 The Greatest Rappers Of All Timelisted on The Complete List of Rappers Who've Been in Prison

12
Lisa Lopes is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
Genre: Hip hop music, Pop music & Rap music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Supernova, Eye Legacy, N.I.N.A, The Block Party, Forever... The EP

Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes was involved in a fatal car accident in Honduras on April 25, 2002. A documentary, entitled The Last Days of Left Eye, was made in commemeration.

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#440 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever #248 of 255 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #5 of 294 The Greatest Women Rappers of All Time

13
Nipsey Hussle is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
Nipsey Hussle Genre: Hip hop music, Gangsta rap & G-funk; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Marathon Continues, The Marathon, You Broke, Crenshaw, All Get Right, + more

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The Best Nipsey Hussle Albums & Mixtapes, Ranked #1,846 of 2,044 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #41 of 214 The Best New School Rappers

14
Guru is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
Genre: Hip hop music, Jazz rap & Jazz; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Jazzmatazz, Volume 1, Guru's Jazzmatazz, Vol. 4: The Hip Hop Jazz Messenger: Back to the Future, Baldhead Slick and Da Click, + more

Guru died on April 19, 2010 after falling into a coma after having surgery due to cardiac arrest.

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#195 of 255 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #870 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #71 of 206 The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time

15
Phife Dawg is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
Boris Daems added Phife Dawg Genre: Hip hop music and East Coast hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Ventilation: Da LP, Flawless

On March 22, 2016, Phife Dawg died from complications relating to diabetes at age 45. 

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16
Heavy D is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
Genre: Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B & New jack swing; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Vibes, Waterbed Hev, Heavy, We Got Our Own Thang, This Is Your Night, + more

Heavy D died on November 8, 2011 after experiencing a a pulmonary embolism. He was 44 years old.

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17
Jam Master Jay is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
Genre: Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop & Gangsta rap; Nationality: United States of America
Jason Mizell, aka, Jam Master Jay, was shot and killed on October 30, 2002. His murder remains unsolved.

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18
Mac Dre is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
RichardBeecher added Genre: Hip hop music, Gangsta rap & G-funk; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Genie of the Lamp, Don't Hate The Player, Hate The Game, Pill Clinton, It's Not What You Say... It's How You Say It, + more

On November 1, 2004, Mac Dre died in a drive by shooting.

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19
Capital STEEZ is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
Carlos Antonio Navarro Aguirre added Capital STEEZ

Albums: King Steelo

On December 23, 2012, Capital STEEZ committed suicide by jumping off the rooftop of Cinematic Music Group headquarters in New York. 

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20
J Dilla is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
Genre: Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop & Neo soul; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Donuts, The Shining, Jay Stay Paid, Ruff Draft, Welcome 2 Detroit, + more

J Dilla died as the result of a blood disease on February 10, 2006.

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21
Soulja Slim is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
Genre: Hip hop music, Horrorcore & Hardcore hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Streets Made Me, Years Later... A Few Months After, Years Later, Greatest Hitz, Give It 2 'Em Raw

Soulja Slim died on November 26, 2003 after being shot four times in New Orleans. He was 26 years old.

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22
Pimp C is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
r-a-menizz added Genre: Hip hop music, Horrorcore & Gangsta rap; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Naked Soul of Sweet Jones, Pimpalation, The Sweet James Jones Stories, Greatest Hits, What Up, + more

On December 4, 2007, Pimp C was found dead in his West Hollywood hotel room due to "purple drank" overdose.

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23
Sean Price is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
openmind added

Albums: Monkey Barz, Jesus Price Supastar, Hood Anthems, Mic Tyson, Donkey Sean Jr. (Mixed by P.F. Cuttin), + more

On August 8, 2015, Sean Price died in his sleep at age 43 due to unknown reasons. 

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#222 of 255 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #121 of 206 The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time #111 of 235 The Best New York Rappers

24
Lil Snupe is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
Lil Snupe died after being shot in the chest on June 20, 2013.
25
Adam Yauch is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Rappers Who Are Already Dead
Genre: Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop & Rap rock; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Drum Machine

Adam Yauch, aka, MCA of the Beastie Boys, died on May 4, 2012 after a three year battle with cancer. He was 47 years old.

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