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Rappers Who Died Young

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 infamous rapper death 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.

Bookmark this list for young rappers that died recently - as we'll keep updating the list - as well as memorable stars like Tupac and Biggie. It's always sad to see that a young rapper passed away. Pop Smoke and XXXTentacion were some of the youngest deceased rappers to be added to the list. 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.

  • J $tash

    Rapper J $tash - real name Justin Joseph - died on January 1, 2022, in an apparent murder-suicide. He was 28.

    Cops heard a report of domestic violence around on New Year’s Day, and when deputies arrived they found the bodies of Joseph, and Jeanette Gallegos at the scene, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told People. Joseph had reportedly had an argument with Gallegos, who he had been dating for around a year, and locked the pair in the master bedroom. Gallegos has three sons, who were at the scene, though reportedly none of them were hurt. 

    The police investigation is ongoing. 

    • Age: Dec. at 28 (1993-2022)
  • Photo: Drakeo the Ruler / YouTube

    West Coast rapper Drakeo the Ruler - real name Darrell Caldwell - died on December 19, 2021, after being fatally stabbed in an altercation backstage at a Los Angeles music festival, where he had been scheduled to perform. He was 28.

    His publicist, Scott Jawson, confirmed his death to CNN. "I can confirm his passing, but am in shock and unable to share any further details at this time. I'll be releasing a statement from his family as soon as we're able," Jawson said.

    Drakeo released "I am Mr. Mosely" in 2015. He was known for his laid-back rapping style, and slang. However, his career kept being impacted by legal troubles. He was arrested in 2017 on a weapons charge, and again in 2018, in relation to the murder of a 24-year-old man. He was held at Men's Central Jail in Los Angeles County for several years, even releasing the album Thank You for Using GTL from behind bars. He released several more mixtapes after being released from jail, including The Truth Hurts.

    Read more:

    CNN, Los Angeles Times

    • Age: Dec. at 28 (1993-2021)
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, CA
  • Slim 400

    Rapper Slim 400 was shot and killed on December 9, 2021, in Inglewood. Many reported that he was 33 at time of death, but cops later said he was 34, per NBC News.

    The shooting occurred on the 8600 block of 7th Avenue at around 7:50 p.m., and the Inglewood Police Department identified the victim as Slim 400 - real name Vincent Cohran. Paramedics treated the rapper on site before the L.A. County Fire Department took him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Inglewood police have said it is an ongoing investigation. 

    Slim 400 released his debut single "Turn Up" in 2013, after he was discovered by the Pu$haz Ink label, which is now defunct. He collaborated with late rapper Young Dolph on the 2019 single "Shake Back." Just hours before the shooting, Slim 400 had dropped a music video for his song "Caviar Gold."

    Slim 400 had previously been shot in Compton in 2019. He had surgery to survive the attack. 

    • Age: Dec. at 34
    • Birthplace: Frankfurt, West Germany
  • Photo: Slyguy1255 / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0

    Young Dolph died in a shooting in Memphis, Tennessee on November 17, 2021. He was 36.

    “All of us at APA are shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden and tragic loss of our dear friend and client, Young Dolph. The world has lost an icon, a great man and beloved artist who has been taken too soon. His dedication, drive, hard work, and loyalty to all those around him always came first and he will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this most difficult time," a representative from APA Agency said in a statement to Variety

    The shooting took place at Makeda’s Homemade Cookies in South Memphis. The store owner said Young Dolph walked in to buy cookies when someone drove up, shot, and killed him around 1 p.m., FOX News 13 reported. The rapper had previously been shot in September 2017, outside of a store in Hollywood. 

    • Age: Dec. at 36 (1985-2021)
    • Birthplace: Chicago, IL

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