Gun violence has plagued the world of rap and hip-hop since its early years. Sadly, some of the greatest rappers in history were shot and killed.
A whole host of rappers have tragically lost their lives to acts of retaliation, gang disputes, or even random acts of violence. Whilst some artists have been lucky enough to escape with their lives, some of the genre’s finest have perished at the end of a gun.
Let’s find out more about the tragedies behind these famous rappers who were shot and killed.
On 10 February 2023, Cape Town-born rapper AKA was shot dead as part of a drive-by shooting in Durban, South Africa – outside of Yugo Nightclub after leaving a party.
Before the shooting, AKA happened to post his location on Instagram. Following a meal, he ventured out of the restaurant with his bodyguard and an associate.
AKA was shot a total of six times and his injuries proved fatal. The rapper died aged 35 along with his friend, but the bodyguard survived. Police stated he was shot at close range as part of a contract killing.
19. Freaky Tah
On the night of 28 March 1999, rapper Freaky Tah left Mr. Cheeks’ birthday party with friends William Brown and Thomas Roman.
Whilst heading towards an exit of the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Queens, New York, Lost Boyz member Freaky Tah was fatally shot by a man eventually named as Kelvin Jones.
Police previously reported a masked gunman ambushed the rapper, shot him once in the head and then fled on foot. The wounded Freaky Tah was rushed to Jamaica Hospital where he eventually died aged 27.
18. PnB Rock
On the afternoon of 12 September 2022, PnB Rock was fatally shot multiple times at Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘N Waffles in South Los Angeles.
At the restaurant, he was approached by a shooter with whom there was a dispute, law enforcement officials stated.
The gunman also robbed PnB Rock, stealing multiple items before fleeing in a vehicle. Officials said it was unclear whether the person pulling the trigger was behind the wheel or not. He died at the age of 30.
A father and his teenage son were charged with the rapper’s murder – Freddie Lee Trone with his son not publicly named.
17. Sindhu Moose Wala
The rapper’s death came just a day after his security was scaled back by State Party Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as part of a “VIP culture” reducing agenda.
Punjab officials confirmed Sidhu’s SUV was targeted by gunmen as he drove through the districts of Jhawahar Ke village in Mansa with two other associates.
Moose Wala was reported to have left his house at around 4.30 in the afternoon. An hour later, two vehicles that had been tracking them finally intercepted his car and opened fire causing the rapper fatal injuries. In the days that followed numerous suspects were identified in connection with the shooting.
16. Chinx Drugz
During the early hours of 17 May 2015, soon after one of his shows in Brooklyn, rapper Chinx Drugz drove back towards Queens with a friend.
Whilst waiting at a red light on Queens Boulevard, a car pulled up alongside his silver Porsche and from what appeared to be close range, an attacker fired shots through the half-open driver’s side window.
Officials would later find a 9-millimetre shell casing on the front seat inside his Porsche. Chinx Drugz was hit at least eight times. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center but the rapper lost his life at the age of 31. His friend, later named as Antar Alziadi, survived the attack. In 2017, two men were charged with Chinx’s murder.
15. Tray Savage
On the 19th June 2020, 26-year-old rapper Tray Savage was shot and killed in Chicago. The young rapper was signed to Chief Keef’s Glo Gang label.
According to officials, he was driving when the attacker opened fire, several bullets hitting Savage in both the neck and shoulder. His vehicle then collided with three parked cars.
The rapper arrived at the University of Chicago Medical Center but was later pronounced dead. In 2021, a suspect was charged with Savage’s murder.
At a Los Angeles shopping mall on 19 May 2009, 21-year-old American rapper Dolla was shot and killed.
The rapper reportedly become involved in a conflict whilst waiting outside the Beverley Centre near West Hollywood. He was hit by gunfire and fatally wounded.
The LA Times named 23-year-old Aubrey Berry as the man arrested on suspicion of murder whilst boarding a plane at Los Angeles International Airport.
On 11 April 2006, following an argument during a game of billiards at the CCC Club on 8 Mile Road in Detroit, rapper Proof was shot three times by the club’s bouncer Mario Etheridge.
He was struck once in the head and twice in the chest. A friend of Eminem, 35-year old Proof was killed and announced dead on arrival at Conner Creek Medical Center in the early hours of the morning.
The venue was found to be operating illegally after closing time. Reportedly, another thirty-five-year-old man was also shot during the incident.
12. Jimmy Wopo
During the afternoon of 19 June 2018, Jimmy Wopo was fatally wounded by gunfire in the Pittsburgh neighbourhood where the rapper had made his name.
Aged just 21, Wopo was discovered inside his car with gunshot wounds alongside another wounded man.
The rapper was taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital where he later died from his injuries. No suspects were named and no arrests were made.
11. Bankroll Fresh
Atlanta-born Bankroll Fresh was shot and killed on 4 March 2016 whilst inside a recording studio.
Reportedly more than fifty shell casings were recovered from both inside and outside the Street Execs Studios. Bankroll Fresh later died from his gunshot wounds at an Atlanta area hospital.
Fellow rapper No Plug came forward as the shooter and claimed he took aim at Bankroll Fresh as an act of self-defence.
10. Jam Master Jay
In the early evening of 30 October 2002, the rapper known as Jam Master Jay was fatally wounded when an attacker opened fire in their New York City recording studio on Merrick Boulevard in Queens.
The 28-year old was pronounced dead at the scene. Another man, Urieco Rinco, was also shot in the incident but his injuries were deemed non-life threatening.
It is claimed that up to six people witnessed the shooting with three men charged. The rapper is survived by his wife and three children.
9. King Von
The rapper King Von died age 26 following a shooting on the morning of 6 November 2020 outside the Monaco Hookah Lounge nightclub in Atlanta, Georgia, after police became involved in an altercation.
In total, three people were killed and three injured in the incident. Atlanta police officials stated that they didn’t believe the rapper was shot by police but rather in a shootout before the police were involved.
It was later revealed a man named Timothy Leeks from Savannah, Georgia, was initially charged with his murder before being released on bail.
Best known as part of hip-hop group Migos, rapper Takeoff was shot and killed on the morning of 1 November 2022 at the age of 28. A fight reportedly escalated over a dice game during a private party at 810 Billiards & Bowling in Houston.
Local police and firefighters arrived on location at around 2:40 in the morning when members of the public heard gunfire from the bar’s balcony.
Despite not being a public speaker, a rep from the venue stepped forward to confirm the rapper’s death to the Associated Press. A suspect has since been arrested and charged over the killing.
7. Big L
At around 20:30 on the evening of 15 February 1999, rapper Big L was shot and killed at 45 West 139th Street in Harlem.
Aged just 24, he had been brutally shot a total of nine times both in the face and chest as part of a drive-by shooting. One of Big L’s childhood friends called Gerard Woodley was arrested for the crime three months later.
Woodley was later released, but was himself gunned down in 2016.
6. Young Dolph
On 17 November 2021, rap superstar Young Dolph lost his life when he was shot and killed in his hometown of Memphis at the age of 36.
The rapper was buying cookies from Makeda’s Butter Cookies when at around 13:00 the gunman pulled up in a car and shot through the shop window.
Young Dolph was hit a total of 22 times in his left chest, left abdomen, right chin, neck, right shoulder, both arms and multiple times in his back. A year after the shooting news broke of four murder suspects surrendering to officials.
5. Pop Smoke
Pop Smoke was tragically shot and killed on 19 February 2020. The shooting was part of an apparent armed robbery. Police responded to reports at 04:55 and arrived on the scene six minutes later.
They found the twenty-year-old man shot at his home before being taken to hospital and later pronounced dead.
Officers confirmed that an unknown number of suspects had entered the property in West Hollywood on the night of the shooting. An 18-year old man, who was 15 at the time, later admitted to the murder.
4. Nipsey Hussle
Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed on 31 March 2019 outside of his clothing store in south Los Angeles. The 33 year-old rapper and entrepreneur was hit multiple times before being rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Los Angeles Police Officials stated the shooting was reported in the early hours around 3am.
Three further victims were transported to a hospital where one of them was pronounced dead. Two other people were wounded in the shooting. A man named Eric R.Holder was convicted of the rapper’s murder in 2022.
Rapper and singer XXXTentacion was shot and killed outside a motor sports store in Deerfield Beach, Florida on the afternoon of 18 June 2018. He was one of the youngest victims of gun violence within the rapping community aged just 20.
Graphic videos were shared on social media showing the rapper’s body slumped in the driver’s seat of a black BMW sports car with a member of the general public attempting to take his pulse.
XXXTentacion was reportedly approached by two armed men around 16:00 as part of an apparent robbery. An attacker fired a gun and hit the rapper before driving away in a dark-coloured S.U.V.
He was taken to a local hospital but pronounced dead just after 17:30. Michael Boatwright along with his accomplices Trayvon Newsome, Dedrick Williams and Robert Allen were all named as participants in the murder.
2. The Notorious B.I.G
On the morning of 9 March 1997, 24-year-old Notorious B.I.G was shot and killed in an apparent drive-by shooting. He was the second high profile rapper killed within a six month period following the death of Tupac Shakur.
The gangsta rap artist left a busy party and was sitting in a vehicle at the intersection of Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard in California when a car drove by and began firing numerous shots.
A member of the public rushed Notorious B.I.G to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where the rapper was pronounced dead, the police confirmed.
Interestingly, Tupac Shakur had previously accused him of involvement in a recent robbery where Shakur was shot and had $40,000 in jewellery stolen.
The Notorious B.I.G.’s murder case remains unresolved until this day.
1. Tupac Shakur
On 13 September 1996, the iconic and controversial rapper and actor Tupac Shakur was shot and killed.
During the night in question he was leaving a high-profile boxing match between Mike Tyson and Bruce Seldon at the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas Valley.
Reportedly, a Cadillac pulled up alongside his BMW and opened fire with Shakur being hit four times.
He was rushed to the University Medical Center in Las Vegas and was in critical condition, eventually dying from his wounds at the age of 25, amidst rumours that his feud with The Notorious B.I.G may have been a catalyst for the hit.
To this day, despite a host of suspects being named, the case remains unsolved.
You might also be interested in: