Biggie Smalls once rapped, "It don't make sense / Goin' to Heaven with the goodie goodies / Dressed in white / I like black Timbs and black hoodies." Biggie, we hope that wherever you and these other dead rappers end up in the afterlife, you're allowed to wear your Timberland boots. Over the years, several successful rappers have perished before their time due to murder, drug overdoses, natural causes, and a variety of other reasons. Some rappers were shot, while others perished from cancer and heart attacks.
Who is the best-known rapper who has left us? Which of these fallen lyrical poets had the greatest impact on today's top hip hop releases? Tupac Shakur tops our list. Tupac Shakur perished on September 13, 1996, at age 25, after being shot in Las Vegas a few days earlier. The case remains unsolved to this day. The Notorious B.I.G., who many believe was involved with Tupac's demise, passed on March 9, 1997, at age 24, after being shot in an SUV. As with Pac, Biggie's case is also unsolved.
Several famous rappers have perished after losing their battles with cancer. Adam Yauch, AKA MCA from the Beastie Boys, passed on May 4, 2012, at age 47, after succumbing to a cancerous parotid gland and lymph node. Guru, best known for being a part of the duo Gang Starr with DJ Premier, passed on April 19, 2010, at age 48, from cancer.
Are you surprised that so many rappers have died? Pour one out for your homies.
Lil Marlo, birth name Rudolph Johnson, was shot and killed on the evening of July 11th. His body was discovered after police responded to a call about a supposed car accident on an Atlanta highway. Page Six reported that "He is believed to have been shot while driving," and he was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was then brought to the The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office the following morning for inspection.
The circumstances were still being investigated at the time of the report, and neither suspects nor motive were revealed.
On June 19th, E! News reported that rapper Tray Savage had been shot dead in Chicago. He was 26. In the article, they write that "Multiple outlets report that Tray was driving his girlfriend to her house in the area at the time of the shooting." and noted the statement from the Chicago PD that he had been "shot in the neck and shoulder." There were no suspects at the time of the report, and an investigation was being held.
Savage is known not just for solo ventures but also for being a member of Chief Keef's Glo Gang.
New York-based rapper Fred the Godson died April 23, 2020, after contracting the coronavirus. He was 35. The producer and musician, whose real name is Frederick Thomas, posted a photo on Instagram of himself in the hospital in early April, confirming his diagnosis and wearing a ventilator.
Fred the Godson was a frequent collaborator who worked with artists like Diddy, Meek Mill, and Pusha T. In 2020, he released a solo album and a collaboration album with Jay Pharoah titled Training Day. He is survived by his wife, LeeAnn Jemmott, and their two children.
Birthplace: New York City, NY
On February 19, 2020, Brooklyn rapper Bashar Barakah Jackson, better known as Pop Smoke, was pronounced dead at a hospital in West Hollywood. He was 20 years old.
Rolling Stone, among others, reported that this was a murder that occurred during a home invasion by two masked gunmen. Police were called to the home at 4:20 that morning but the gunmen were not caught and law enforcement has not publicly identified possible suspects.
In response to Pop Smoke's passing, there has been an outpouring of support online from both fans and fellow industry members, with rappers such as Nicki Minaj writing, "Rest In Peace, Pop," and Republic Records releasing the statement, "Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family, friends and fans, as we mourn this loss together."
Age: Dec. at 20 (1999-2020)
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York