The hip-hop world has been shocked by the news about the deaths of music acts these few couples of years and it doesn’t get easier. Some were murdered and some have overdosed. Whether fame brought them uncalled for attention or unavoidable tragedies, we want to celebrate them because for many, they were just starting out with so much more to offer. From 2Pac to Mac Miller, we will always remember their place in music. They may no longer be around but we will still have their music.
Eazy-ESeptember 7, 1964 – March 26, 1995
Compton’s very own Eazy-E from the controversial hip-hop group N.W.A. was sadly diagnosed with AIDS. Before he was signed to Ruthless Records, Eazy-E had a difficult childhood to become a drug dealer. His whole life changed upon the success of N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton released in 1988. He later died from the complications of AIDS shortly after he announced it to the public.
Tupac ShakurJune 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996
Tupac Shakur or also known as 2Pac and Makaveli is still one of the greatest rappers of all-time with a thriving music and movie career. Tupac was involved in a drive-by shot after leaving a boxing match in Las Vegas in September 1996. The 25-year old was rushed to the hospital but unfortunately died six days later. His music and charisma continue to live on until today.
The Notorious B.I.G.May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997
After attending a party by Vibe Magazine, The Notorious B.I.G. was shot in an SUV at the age of 24. To fans, he was known as Biggie Smalls and was just about to release second album Life After Death, in which was released later to become one of the best hip-hop albums ever released. Biggie’s rhymes are still unmatchable until today.
Big PunisherNovember 10, 1971 – February 7, 2000
Big Punisher A.K.A. Big Pun was a member of the Terror Squad with Fat Joe left us at the age of 28 due to heart failure. He gave us an incredible debut album Capital Punishment in 1998, but his battle with obese caused him to suffer from a heart attack. Big Pun left a great mark for the Latino community in hip-hop.
Left Eye May 27, 1971 – April 25, 2002
Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes is the L to female R&B group TLC with T-Boz and Chilli. She was driving in Honduras with a few friends but she was the only one who didn’t survive. Left Eye was such a quirky character on and off stage, which left the music industry in shock to lose such a talented gem.
Ol’ Dirty BastardNovember 15, 1968 – November 13, 2004
This member of the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan is one of the most interesting characters with such a unique style from his personality to his rhymes. Ol’ Dirty Bastard died at the age of 35 due to a drug overdose at Wu-Tang Clan’s recording studio. He will never be forgotten as an important piece in the rap group, as well as his solo work to his classic collaboration on the remix of Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy.
Heavy DMay 24, 1967 – November 8, 2011
Jamaican-born rapper Heavy D from the group Heavy D & the Boyz died at the age of 44. With a string of hit songs dated from the group’s first album Living Large in 1987 until his last solo album Love Opus in 2011, Heavy D collapsed outside his home in Beverly Hills and believed to be caused by a pulmonary embolism.
ProdigyNovember 2, 1974 – June 20, 2017
The one-half of hip-hop duo Mobb Depp was hospitalised after performing at the Art of Rap Tour in Las Vegas when he got hospitalised but died a few days later due to his sickle-cell anemia. Whether it was his music with Mobb Deep or his solo projects, Prodigy remains as one of the most respected artists in hip-hop.
XXXTentacionJanuary 23, 1998 – June 18, 2018
XXXTentacion released his album titled ? in March 2018 and it received amazing reviews but was unfortunately shot and killed three months later. The 20-year old rapper was in South Florida shopping for motorcycles when it happened. XXXTentacion may have been surrounded with many allegations, but his presence in hip-hop music was indefinite and he had so much to offer.
Mac MillerJanuary 19, 1992 – September 7, 2018
Only 26 years old, rapper Mac Miller died from an apparent drug overdose at his house at San Fernando Valley. He released his last album Swimming just one month before his death. Despite the rumours surrounding Mac Miller’s death, he has always been known for his great music and a great lyricist who is gone too soon.
Writer | Kevin Yeoh
Kevin was the former editor of two music and lifestyle platforms in Malaysia. He is an all-round music enthusiast from the '90's R&B to K-Pop.