Drug use is a common feature in the world of rap. Tragically, drug overdoses have taken the lives of several legendary rappers.
In this article, we take a look at some of the most famous rappers who overdosed on drugs. Some of these rappers struggled with addiction. In most cases, the deaths were accidental. Each rapper on this list has their own story with drugs. Unfortunately, they all share the same tragic ending.
Let’s find out more about some of the rappers who overdosed and tragically lost their lives.
Date of death: 9 April 2021
DMX is one of the most iconic rappers of the golden age. The legendary rapper, real name Earl Simmons, died in the midst of the Covid crisis on 9 April 2021, aged 50.
The official cause of DMX’s death was a cocaine-induced heart attack that caused a lack of blood circulation to his brain.
The rapper was admitted to hospital on 2 April, where he was placed on a ventilator. However, he was diagnosed brain-dead early on, and did not wake up from his coma.
In an official statement, his family said, “He loved his family with all of his heart, and we cherish the times we spent with him. Earl’s music inspired countless fans across the world, and his iconic legacy will live on forever.”
Date of death: 7 September 2018
Drug: fentanyl, cocaine, and alcohol
Mac Miller, born Malcolm James McCormick, is one of several young rappers who built a cult following before his untimely death on 7 September 2018.
Mac Miller died at home in Los Angeles from an accidental drug overdose of cocaine, fentanyl, and alcohol. Three men were charged in connection with the death. The dealers sold Miller prescription painkillers that were laced with the powerful opiate fentanyl.
Earlier on, on the day of his death, Mac had been tweeting about his forthcoming tour. “The show is going to be special every night,” he said.
Just over a year after his death, his brilliant album Circles was released posthumously in January 2020 to critical acclaim. He continues to be regarded as one of the foremost white rappers of all time.
Date of death: 8 December 2019
Drug: oxycodone and codeine
Juice WRLD, real name Jarad Anthony Higgins, was flying aboard a private jet from Los Angeles to Chicago when he overdosed on Percocet pills that he was trying to hide from the police.
Police were waiting to intercept the plane at Chicago, and upon finding this out, the emo rapper allegedly swallowed several of the pills. His death was the result of toxic levels of oxycodone and codeine present in his system.
The young rapper struggled with substance abuse and drug addiction – topics that he regularly touched upon in his music.
His mother, Carmella Wallace, established Live Free 999 after his death, to support young people struggling with addiction, anxiety, and depression.
Date of death: 15 November 2017
Drug: fentanyl and Xanax
Lil Peep was a rising star with a cult following. The emo rapper regularly discussed his struggles with drug addiction in his music, as well as in social media posts.
Lil Peep died of a drug overdose on his tour bus in Tuscon, Arizona. The Pima County Office of the medical examiner confirmed that Peep died of a fentanyl and Xanax overdose. He also tested positive for benzodiazepines, Tramadol, cocaine and marijuana. He tested negative for alcohol.
Tragically, it seemed that touring took its toll on Lil Peep, who posted an image of himself on Instagram that same day with what appear to be two pills on his tongue, with the caption “fucc it.” The medical examiner confirmed the death as accidental.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard
Date of death: 13 November 2017
Drug: cocaine and Tramadol
Ol’ Dirty Bastard became legendary as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan, thanks to his distinctive vocal style. One of the core members of the group, he was cousins with GZA and RZA.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard died of an accidental drug overdose from the combined effects of cocaine and Tramadol, according to a spokesperson for the New York City medical examiner’s office. The drugs caused him to have a heart attack, with the rapper losing his life two days before his 37th birthday.
ODB had numerous drug-related legal issues, and went through a sad decline in his last few weeks, with one journalist noting, “”it was difficult for observers to tell whether Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s wildly erratic behavior was the result of serious drug problems or genuine mental instability.”
His legacy lives on both through his work with Wu-Tang Clan and his highly regarded solo projects.
Date of death: 28 September 2022
Drug: fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine
Legendary rapper Coolio is best known for his iconic song ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ (1995), although that track only scratches the surface of the gangsta rapper’s impressive discography.
The Los Angeles coroner’s report revealed the cause of his death was an accidental overdose from the effects of fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine. The drugs reportedly caused a cardiac arrest.
Although the circumstances of his death were tragic, at least fans can know that Coolio, unlike some of the younger artists on this list, was able to enjoy a hugely successful and long musical career that spanned three decades.
Date of death: 1 January 2020
Drug: fentanyl and ethanol
Lexii Alijai, born Alexis Alijai Lynch, was a promising young female rapper before her untimely death at the turn of 2020. She released her debut mixtape Super Sweet 16s on her sixteenth birthday, and was a regular collaborator with Kehlani. Her biggest hits include ‘Anthony’ and ‘Hoodie SZN.’
The young rapper died from an accidental drug overdose in a hotel room in Minneapolis, the Hennepin County medical examiner’s office confirmed. The toxicology report revealed that the death resulted from a mix of fentanyl and ethanol.
Lexii’s tragic death highlights growing concerns about the effects of the powerful opioid fentanyl.
Date of death: 1 January 2023
Drug: fentanyl, cocaine, and alcohol
Lola Chantrelle Mitchell, better known as Gangsta Boo, rose to prominence as part of Three 6 Mafia. The acclaimed female rapper also enjoyed a successful career, released three albums in the late 90s and 00s, and collaborating with the likes of OutKast, Eminem, Run the Jewels, Latto, and fellow Memphis rapper GloRilla.
On 1 January 2023, Gangsta Boo was found dead on the porch of her mother’s home in Memphis, Tennessee. She died of an accidental drug overdose, caused by fentanyl, cocaine, and alcohol.
Not long before her death, Gangsta Boo had announced she was on the verge of releasing her fourth studio album, The BooPrint. Her death came as a huge shock to fans who acknowledged her as a pioneering female rapper.
Date of death: 8 April 2020
Chynna Rogers, best known simply as Chynna, was a promising young rapper before her tragic death on 8 April 2020, several weeks into the Covid crisis.
Chynna was affiliated with A$AP Mob, and A$AP Yams, the founder of A$AP Mob who also tragically died from an overdose, was her mentor.
After starting out as a model, Chynna turned to her true passion for music with the release of her 2013 single ‘Selfie.’
Both in her music, and in an interview with Pitchfork she discussed her struggles with opioid addiction.
Chynna was found unresponsive at her home in Philadelphia on 8 April 2020, and a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health confirmed that she died from an accidental drug overdose. The drugs that caused her death have not been officially revealed.
Date of death: 18 January 2015
Drug: opiates and benzodiazepines
A$AP Yams was the founder of the influential rap collective A$AP Mob, which has spawned the likes of the hugely successful A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg. Yams has been credited as the “business brain behind Rocky’s fame.”
Yams was found unresponsive in his Brooklyn apartment on the morning of 18 January 2015. The New York City chief medical examiner stated that the cause of A$AP Yam’s death was an accidental drug overdose, with opiates and benzodiazepines found in his system.
Yams’ associates in A$AP Mob have discussed that the visionary founder of the collective had ongoing struggles with substance abuse. In an interview, A$AP Rocky claimed that Yams did not die of an overdose. However, official reports seem clear on the matter.
The tragic story of these rappers who overdosed highlights the risks of drug use, with each one of these cases notably reported as accidental.
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