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.

  • Takeoff
    Photo: thecomeupshow / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    Takeoff passed away on November 1, 2022. The youngest member of rap group, Migos, was found dead outside of a bowling alley in Downtown Houston, he suffered a gunshot wound. He was 28. 

    Takeoff, whose full name was Kirshnik Khari Ball, was a part of a rap trio that included his uncle, Quavo, and his cousin, Offset. The rap trio dominated the rap scene and parties around the world with their catchy, party anthems like “Bad and Boujee,” “Stir Fry,” “Motorsport,” “Versace," “T-Shirt,” “Walk It Talk It” and more. They've been releasing music together for 15 years. 

    Takeoff released some solo music as well with successful solo album “The Last Rocket.” He also collaborated with his uncle Quavo on new album “Only Built For Infinity Links” which was released on October 7, 2022. 

    “When you’re around Takeoff, there’s a sense of peacefulness about his aura,” Mr. Findling, a lawyer for Takeoff, said. “He listens to you, he looks at you, he’s more focused on what you have to say than what he has to say. The world was starting to learn about Takeoff. It was his time to shine.”

    Read More: NYT, CNN

  • PnB Rock
    Photo: Philadelphia 76ers / Facebook

    PnB Rock was fatally shot during a robbery on September 12, 2022. He was 30. 

    A the end of the 2010s, PnB Rock burst onto the scene with two albums  2017's “Catch These Vibes” and 2019's “TrapStar Turnt PopStar.” PnB Rock had eight songs on the Billboard Hot 100 between 2016 and 2019, four of which were in 2019. The rapper had been featured on hits like 2017's “Everyday We Lit” with YFN Lucci, 2018's “Dangerous” with Meek Mill and Jeremih. In 2019, he had two star-studded collaborations one being with Lil Baby, Layton Greene, and City Girls on “Leave Em Alone," and the other with Ed Sheeran and Chance the Rapper on “Cross Me.” 

    Police believe that an Instagram post from PnB Rock was what alerted the robbers to his location.

    Read More: CNN, LA Times


    • Age: Dec. at 30 (1991-2022)
    • Birthplace: Germantown, Philadelphia, PA, USA
  • JayDaYoungan
    Photo: worldstarhiphop / YouTube

    JayDaYoungan passed away after sustaining gunshot wounds. He was 24. 

    The Louisiana rapper was known for songs like “23 Island” and “Elimination.” In 2017, was in the running for a spot in XXL’s prestigious annual Freshman cover, which spotlights hip-hop’s rising talent. That same year he also dropped “The Real Jumpman 23” which made it to No. 86 on the Billboard 200. 

    Read More: Complex, LA Times

    • Age: Dec. at 24 (1998-2022)
    • Birthplace: Bogalusa, Louisiana, United States
  • Trouble - real name Mariel Semonte Orr - passed away on June 5, 2022, after being shot during a home invasion in Conyers, GA. He was 34.

    His label, Def Jam Recordings, confirmed his death on Instagram that same day. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the children, loved ones, and fans of Trouble. A true voice for his city, and an inspiration to the community he proudly represented. RIP Skoob,” the statement read

    Trouble was apparently at the house of an unidentified female companion when Jamichael Jones, who is wanted on allegation of murder, broke into the home. An information officer with the Rockdale County Sheriff's Department said Jones and Orr did not know each other, but Jones had previously been involved in a “domestic dispute” with the woman who lived in the house.

    • Age: Dec. at 34 (1987-2022)
    • Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia
  • 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)
  • Drakeo the Ruler
    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