20 Rappers Who Died Too Young

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There have been too many great rappers who died young. This list pays tribute to just a few of them.

It’s no secret that the world of rap can be a dangerous place. Whether by violence, accidental drug overdoses, suicide, or other tragedies, dozens of promising rappers died before even reaching 30.

This list commemorates some of those rappers whose careers were just getting started before their time on earth was up. Many of them made a huge impact in just a few short years.

Let’s find out more about some of these legendary rappers who died young.

20. Capital STEEZ

Age: 19
Cause of death: Suicide

Courtney Everald “Jamal” Dewar jr, known by his stage name Capital STEEZ, was a talented young rapper and founding member of the Brooklyn-based Pro Era rap collective. 

His thought-provoking lyrics and conscious messages resonated with fans who recognized his potential as a rising star in the hip-hop scene. His first solo mixtape, AmeriKKKan Korruption, received universal acclaim and features many of his Pro Era teammates.

Sadly, Capital STEEZ took his own life at the age of 19, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire his peers and fans. His posthumous album King Capital was planned to release on the 5th anniversary of the rapper’s death but was delayed for legal reasons. 

19. Camoflauge

Age: 21
Cause of death: Murder

Camoflauge, born Jason Johnson, was a talented rapper hailing from Savannah, Georgia. He first gained recognition in the late 1990s with his debut album Crime Pays (with Crime Affiliates) which showcased his gritty, raw, and street-oriented style. 

Camoflauge’s music resonated with listeners as he tackled the harsh realities of life in the hood, providing a voice for the struggles faced by many in his community. He continued to release well-received mixtapes and albums, solidifying his reputation as a rising star in the Southern hip-hop scene.

Tragically, Camoflauge’s career came to an abrupt end on May 19, 2003, when the young rapper died.

At the age of 21, he was shot and killed outside Pure Pain recording studio in Savannah, Georgia.

18. Lexii Alijai

Lexii Alijai

Age: 21
Cause of death: Overdose

Lexii Alijai began her music career at a young age, showcasing her skills through freestyles and covers on social media platforms. Alijai gained widespread attention with her mixtapes and original tracks, which demonstrated her lyricism and storytelling ability. 

Alijai’s music delved into personal struggles, relationships, and societal issues and as her career continued to flourish, she collaborated with prominent artists like Kehlani, further solidifying her place in the hip-hop community.

On 1st January 2020, Alijai overdosed on fentanyl and ethanol at the age of 21. Her passing served as a stark reminder of the toll mental health challenges and the pressures of the music industry can take on young artists.

17. ASAP Yams 

asap yams

Age: 26
Cause of death: Overdose

ASAP Yams, born Steven Rodriguez, was one of the co-founders of the influential hip-hop collective ASAP Mob. Yams was known for his keen eye for talent and his role as the group’s creative director.

He played a significant part in shaping the sound and image of ASAP Mob, which went on to become one of the most prominent rap groups in the 2010s. Yams was credited with helping to launch the careers of artists like ASAP Rocky and ASAP Ferg, guiding their rise to stardom with his visionary ideas and strategic moves.

ASAP Yams was found dead at the age of 26, ruled as an overdose due to mixed drug intoxication. However, other ASAP Mob members claimed he died through sleep apnea which caused asphyxiating through vomit.

16. Lil Loaded

lil loaded

Age: 20
Cause of death: Suicide

Lil Loaded was a rising young rapper from Dallas, Texas who gained widespread attention and recognition in 2019 with the release of his breakout single ‘6locc 6a6y,’ which quickly went viral and garnered millions of views on YouTube. The track was certified gold in May 2021. 

Lil Loaded continued to build on his success, releasing more music including the single ‘Gang Unit,’ and several mixtapes. The rapper’s team posthumously released ‘Cell Tales’ on the first anniversary of his death.

The rapper died by suicide via a gunshot wound to the head in 2021 at the age of 20. He was, tragically, found by his mother.

15. Big L

Age: 24
Cause of death: Murder

Hailing from Harlem, New York, Big L, aka Lamont Coleman, gained recognition in the early 1990s through his impressive freestyle abilities and strong wordplay, becoming a standout figure in the underground hip-hop scene. 

Big L’s breakthrough came with his debut album Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous in 1995, which debuted at No. 22 on the US R&B/Hip-Hip Albums chart. As a member of the Diggin’ in the Crates (D.I.T.C.) crew, Big L collaborated with other notable artists, further solidifying his influence on the rap community.

On 15th February, the rapper died young. Big L was shot nine times and killed via a drive-by shooting. His childhood friend, Gerard Woodley, was the perpetrator.

14. Chynna

chynna

Age: 25
Cause of death: Overdose

Chynna Rogers, known simply as Chynna, was a talented young rapper and model whose career showed great promise. She initially gained attention as a model before transitioning into music, mostly known for being associated with the ASAP Mob. 

Chynna’s unique blend of dark, introspective lyrics and ethereal beats garnered her a growing fan base within the underground rap scene. Her music often explored themes of mental health, addiction, and the complexities of modern life, allowing her to connect with listeners on a deeply personal level. 

Sadly, Chynna lost her life at the peak of her career, passing away from an accidental drug overdose at just 25 years old.

13. King Von

king von

Age: 26
Cause of death: Murder

Hailing from Chicago, King Von, was known for his gritty storytelling and raw lyricism. He garnered attention with his authentic street narratives and truthful descriptions of his experiences growing up in the city’s tough neighbourhoods.

King Von’s career took off in 2018 with the release of his breakout single ‘Crazy Story,’ which was praised by critics for its vivid storytelling. The rapper went on to release three studio albums and two mixtapes throughout his brief career.

In 2020, King Von got involved in an altercation in Atlanta, Georgia where he was shot multiple times and later passed away in hospital from his injuries. He died too young.

12. Eazy-E

eazy e

Age: 30
Cause of death: HIV/AIDS

Eric Lynn Wright, known as Eazy-E, was a pioneering rapper and entrepreneur who played a pivotal role in shaping the West Coast hip-hop scene as a co-founder of rap collective N.W.A.

Eazy-E’s raw and unapologetic lyrics and distinctive high-pitched voice made him a standout member of the group. N.W.A’s groundbreaking album Straight Outta Compton challenged societal norms and shed light on the realities of inner-city life, catapulting the group to national fame.

Eazy-E’s solo career also flourished, and he co-founded Ruthless Records, which became a prominent label in the genre.

On 24th February 1995, Wright was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and died just one month later after releasing a final statement to his fans.

11. Young Dolph

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Age: 36
Cause of death: Murder

Young Dolph, born Adolph Robert Thornton Jr., began his music career in the early 2000s, independently releasing a series of mixtapes that gained him a dedicated underground following. 

His gritty street-oriented lyrics, charismatic flow, and entrepreneurial spirit soon caught the attention of the hip-hop community, leading to major collaborations with prominent artists and the release of successful albums. His album Rich Slave peaked at No. 4 on the US Billboard Chart and reached No. 1 on The Independent Albums chart.  

Young Dolph’s life came to an end in 2021 whilst visiting a bakery in his hometown as two men gunned the rapper down from a car, killing him on site.

10. Nipsey Hussle

Age: 33
Cause of death: Murder

Nipsey Hussle, born Ermias Joseph Asghedom, gained early recognition for his mixtapes and independent releases, showcasing his lyrical prowess and commitment to authentic storytelling.

It was with the release of his critically acclaimed mixtape The Marathon and its sequel The Marathon Continues that Hussel’s career reached new heights, garnering national attention and a loyal fan base.

On 31st March 2019, Nipsel Hussel was shot over 10 times in the car park outside of his clothing store, Marathon Clothing, in LA. It is believed that the attack was motivated by a personal matter as the rapper knew the perpetrator.

9. Pop Smoke

pop smoke

Age: 20
Cause of death: Murder

Bashar Barakah Jackson, known professionally as Pop Smoke, was a young rising star in the hip-hop world known for his distinctive deep voice and commanding presence on the mic.

The rapper burst onto the scene in 2019 with his breakout single ‘Welcome to the Party,’ which quickly became a massive hit and solidified his place as a leading figure in the drill music genre. 

Pop Smoke’s raw and energetic delivery, coupled with his captivating storytelling, earned him critical acclaim and a dedicated fan base. In 2021, the rapper was nominated for ten Billboard Music Awards, winning five.

Sadly, Pop Smoke’s career was cut short when he was shot in his flat by three armed intruders at just 20 years old.

8. Lil Peep

best lil peep songs

Age: 21
Cause of death: Overdose

In 2017, Lil Peep released his debut studio album Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1, which was met with critical acclaim and commercial success.

The album showcased his versatility as an artist, blending elements of emo, punk, and hip-hop into a unique and compelling sound.

Tracks like ‘Awful Things’ and ‘Benz Truck’ became hits, reaching millions of streams and earning Lil Peep a growing fan base worldwide.

Lil Peep’s live performances were known for their intense energy and emotional connection with fans, which was reflected in his music, collaborating with artists such as Marshmello and XXXTentacion.

In 2017, Lil Peep was found dead on his tour bus, believed to have overdosed from pain medication and sedatives.

The rapper died at the young age of just 21.

7. Aaliyah

aaliyah

Age: 22
Cause of death: Aeroplane Crash

Aaliyah Dana Haughton, known simply as Aaliyah, first gained recognition in the early 1990s with her debut album Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number, which was produced by R. Kelly.

The album showcased Aaliyah’s smooth vocals, confident presence, and undeniable talent at just 15 years old. 

In 1996, Aaliyah’s sophomore album One in a Million became a critical and commercial triumph, selling 8 million copies worldwide. The album’s tracks, ‘If Your Girl Only Knew,’ and ‘4 Page Letter’ became hits, and One in a Million remains one of her most celebrated works to this day.

In 2001, after filming a music video, Aaliyah and multiple members of her team were killed when her plane crashed and caught fire shortly after take off.

6. Juice WRLD

juice wrld love songs

Age: 21
Cause of death: Overdose

Jarad Anthony Higgins, known professionally as Juice WRLD first gained widespread attention in 2018 with the release of his debut single ‘Lucid Dreams,’ which became certified diamond.

The song’s commercial success and viral popularity catapulted Juice WRLD into the mainstream, and he quickly became one of the leading figures in the emo rap and SoundCloud rap movements. 

His debut album Goodbye & Good Riddance further solidified his status as a rising star, debuting at No. 15 on the US Billboard 200 Chart and has now sold a million album-equivalent units in the US. 

The young rapper died after overdosing on oxycodone and codeine which he ingested while on a private jet flying from LA to Chicago.

5. XXXTentacion

best xxxtentacion songs

Age: 20
Cause of death: Murder

XXXTentacion, whose real name was Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy, was a controversial and influential rapper, singer, and songwriter who gained initial recognition in 2017 with his breakout single ‘Look at Me!’ which became a viral hit and is now certified triple-platinum. 

His debut album, 17, revealed a more vulnerable and introspective side of him, exploring themes of depression, anxiety, and emotional struggles. The album went triple-platinum and reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200.

X is one of the best-known rappers who died young in recent times.

In 2018, Onfoy was involved in an altercation where two men approached him while he was sitting behind the wheel of an SUV. The two men then shot the rapper and stole a bag containing $50,000.

4. Mac Miller

mac miller best songs

Age: 26
Cause of death: Overdose

Mac Miller achieved remarkable success throughout his career. He first gained attention in the hip-hop scene with his mixtapes, most notably K.I.D.S and Best Day Ever, which showcased his witty wordplay and laid-back style.

Mac Miller’s official debut album, Blue Slide Park, made history as the first independently released album to top the Billboard 200 chart. Three singles charted on the Billboard 100 and the album was certified gold.

He went on to even greater success with iconic albums including Watching Movies With The Sound Off, and Swimming, before the posthumous release of Circles.

Millier passed away from an accidental drug overdose on 7th November 2018 which sent shock waves across the music industry. His music is still held in high esteem by rappers and rap fans alike.

3. Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes

Age: 30
Cause of death: Car Accident

Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was a dynamic and iconic rapper, singer, and songwriter best known as a member of the legendary girl group TLC. As one-third of TLC, she played a crucial role in the group’s immense success during the 1990s.

The group’s debut album Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip introduced Left Eye’s fiery rapping style, while their album CrazySexyCool solidified their status as one of the best-selling girl groups of all time.

The album earned them four Grammy Awards nominations and sold over 23 million copies worldwide.

Tragically, Lopes was involved in a car accident when swerving to avoid an oncoming car. The rapper was killed instantly as her injuries were so severe.

2. The Notorious B.I.G

Age: 24
Cause of death: Murder

Christopher Wallace, known as The Notorious B.I.G., rose to prominence in the early 1990s with his debut album, Ready to Die. The album was a critical and commercial success, producing hit singles like “Juicy” and “Big Poppa” that became anthems for a generation.

Throughout his short career, Wallace was nominated for 22 awards, 14 of which he won including 3 Billboard Music Awards and 1 MTV Video Music Award. 

In 1997, Wallace was fatally shot by an unknown man in a Chevy Impala. The rapper was pronounced dead later that night. His album Life After Death was posthumously released and went to No.1 on the Billboard 200.

To this day, Biggie – who was so young when he died – is regarded as one of the most iconic figures in rap music.

1. Tupac Shakur 

conscious rappers

Age: 25
Cause of death: Murder

Tupac Shakur, often referred to simply as Tupac, was an iconic rapper, actor, and poet whose career left an indelible mark on the world of hip-hop.

He first gained attention as a member of the Digital Underground in the early 1990s, but it was his debut solo album, 2Pacalypse Now, that thrust him into the spotlight. His second album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z, emphasises his political views. The album, which features multiple collaborations, debuted at No. 24.  

In 1996, Tupac was involved in a drive-by shooting where an unknown gunman fired into the rapper’s car, shooting him four times, leading to his passing away from internal bleeding.

Although he lived to just 25 years old, Tupac remains one of the most influential rappers of all time, and is always remembered as one of the great rappers who died young.


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