Dealing with loss is one of the toughest parts of life, whether it’s a close loved one or an artist you deeply admire and connect with.
We all remember the moments when heard the sad news about a beloved artist passing on, and the grief hits harder when it is a totally unexpected event.
Quick disclaimer: This list is focused on the past few years in hip-hop, so don’t get mad that I left out some departed icons from the past. I know that Biggie, Pac, Nate Dogg, and ODB are all in the hip-hop hall of fame for eternity!
Let’s talk about the latest legends who left us too soon.
Everyone knew that Juice WRLD, born Jarad Anthony Higgins, lived life on the edge.
He started experimenting with various substances at an early age, and his love for music was always interconnected with the party lifestyle, for better or worse.
Juice started making music on his phone in high school, and make a big splash on Soundcloud when the platform was a blossoming hip-hop scene.
It didn’t take long before he got recognized globally for collabs with Sheck Wes, Lil Uzi Vert and other major icons.
In a heartbreaking turn of events, Juice passed away after a private flight in Chicago in December of 2019. We will never forget his one-of-a-kind presence on the scene.
The career of Jahseh Dwyane Ricardo Onfroy was always shrouded in mystery and controversy, but his music kept fans hooked across the world.
He explored genres all over the map, blending hip hop with rock and electronic elements like nobody before. His gigantic record sales backed up the popularity and innovation of his music.
It was a major tragedy for the rap community to hear that XXX was fatally shot in Florida, in June of 2018. Fans everywhere mourned his death and showed support on Instagram with one of the most widely shared posts of all time.
XXXTentacion lived the life he described in his lyrics: dangerous and without fear. Regardless of what you think of him personally, his great music will live on.
Few hip hop artists see the incredible development and adaptation that Mac Miller displayed throughout his (way too short) career.
Starting out as a loudmouth Pittsburgh party rapper, Mac morphed into many different vocal and production roles over the next few years, gaining popularity and acclaim with each release.
He explored emo rap, electronic beats and even R&B from one album to the next, all while staying open and vulnerable about his fame and his fears.
When did Mac Miller die? It broke the collective heart of the music world when he passed away from a drug overdose on September 7th, 2018. Mac was taken from us far too soon, but we will always treasure his art.
He may not have reached mainstream popularity before his death, but Bashar Barakah Jackson was definitely on his way to stardom. Sadly, Pop Smoke’s life was tragically cut short.
Known as an innovator who combined New York and U.K. styles of hip hop, Jackson only had a handful of tracks released before his death.
Still, critics lauded his distinct approach to intercontinental rap and production. His murder in February of 2020 robbed us all of a very promising career.
This Los Angeles icon was known for entrepreneurship and activism along with his rap skills.
While Nipsey Hussle was a bit older at the time of his death than some of the other rappers on this list, 33 years old is still way too soon to go.
He dropped tons of mixtapes and dazzled fans with his celebrity glow. Nipsey’s murder struck a chord worldwide in March of 2019.
Let’s hope all our favorite rappers stay safe and continue to make amazing music for a long time to come!