List of Rappers Who Died Unexpectedly

Photo: Ron Galella (Getty Images)

Rappers have always been known for their flashy and sometimes dangerous lifestyle. During the 90s, rap music was probably at its peak with the infamous East-West Coast feud where the main opponents were the late Tupac Shakur and his former friend Notorious B.I.G. Before them, the masters of rap were, no doubt, NWA and the irreplaceable Run-D.M.C., both of which suffered tragic losses. So, let’s take a look at a list of rappers who left us suddenly and gave quite a blow to the rap and hip-hop genre.


We’ll start the list off with one of the greatest rappers who ever lived, Tupac Shakur, better known as just 2Pac. Born in 1971, Tupac rose to fame in the early 90s, thanks to his sharp tongue and authoritative voice. He rapped about the discrimination of the races, mistreatment of the poor and government’s misuse of power. However, most people now recognize him for his feuds with Cristopher Wallace, a.k.a. Notorious B.I.G. who belonged to a different rap “faction.” Tupac was unfortunately shot in 1996 in Las Vegas, as he was coming back from a boxing match with his friend and producer Suge Knight. Although it was never actually discovered who actually pulled up to their Sudan and shot those fatal bullets, it is believed that it had something to do with his East Coast enemies. Either way, he is still missed.

Notorious B.I.G.

On the other side of one of the most famous feuds in rap history was Christopher Wallace, better known by his stage name Notorious B.I.G. Biggie and 2Pac were once good friends, despite the fact that they were from the opposite sides of the country. However, rumors, jealousy, and many other factors turned them to sworn enemies that would not only dis each other on their tracks but also make threats outside of music. Despite being his rapping nemesis, Biggie was truly devastated when he heard the news about 2Pac’s passing. He suffered a similar fate just a couple of years later. In March 1997, he was gunned down by an unknown assailant in a blue suit with a blue-steel gun. After his death, the war between the West and the East pretty much died out.

Jam Master Jay

Brooklyn-born, Jason Mizell rose to fame in the 80s under the nickname Jam Master Jay and as part of the extremely influential hip-hop group called Run-D.M.C. He was the group’s DJ and created all those timeless riffs that brought hip-hop music to the mainstream and fortified Run-D.M.C. as one of the most important groups in the genre’s history. Jam Master Jay was a multi-instrumentalist who started playing trumpet when he was just three years old. He got into the DJ-ing when he was 13. In 1982, he met two high-school graduates, Joseph Simmons and Daryll McDaniels and they would eventually become the famed Run-D.M.C. In 2002, Jam Master Jay was shot by an unknown person in a studio in Queens. Unfortunately, the murderer was never discovered.


We’ve mentioned NWA as one of the most influential groups in the history of rap. The group that was formed in 1986 had 6 prominent members, all of whom went on to make their own amazing careers. One of the members was also Eric Wright, better known by the name Eazy-E. According to many people, he was the godfather of gangsta rap. However, in 1995, Eazy-E was diagnosed with AIDS to the shock of his family and friends. He announced it in March, made peace with his old rivals, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, and died about a month after he was diagnosed.

What do you think about this list of rappers who died unexpectedly? Is there anyone who you would like to add to the list?


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