Rappers sometimes give off the mystique that they are going to make music forever. As fans a lot of the time we believe they will too. Death is no stranger to Hip Hop Culture and not everyone is a victim of violence. Some Rappers, even in their young age, have died from medical issues. From Big L to DJ Roc Raida anyone participating in the culture is more susceptible to death and dying than the average person. Living in the spotlight, having various opportunities, and a more than hectic work schedule there comes a lot of stress mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. All of that energy can take a toll on a person’s life and some seek their own way out by subsequently overdosing or overmedicating in some way. There are accidents that happen on tour as it did with Troy Dixon of Heavy D and the Boyz.
Shooting deaths are the most prevalent way to kill someone which is a reflection of one of this country’s overall problems. The flow of illegal guns and those illegal guns being flooded into Black and Brown communities. The easy access people have to legal guns. Women also participate in Hip Hop Culture but, the death of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes scared the culture and made us remember that none of us are escaping death. Capital Steez and Chris Lighty (allegedly) committed suicide and now the memories they created are brought up every year on social media. Once for your birthday and again as a celebration of life. How many Rappers today would be relegated to a social media post and how many would leave a legacy of good business, good music, and good character? If a young rapper wants to really be remembered they have to have all three of those things and be that consistently. Make an impact like the people mentioned here did because if they hadn’t made an impact they wouldn’t be in the conversation. Eazy E, Jam Master Jay, 2Pac, Notorious. B.I.G., Nipsey Hussle, and everyone in between should be remembered every day and not just when the internet reminds us.
G.U.R.U., Phife Dawg, O.D.B., and Nate Dogg all gave their lives to the culture and the legacy they left behind has immersed their style into the culture and their style is now the norm. Even in memoriam we have to pay respect to them and the paths they laid. With the recent death of Nipsey Hussle I think a lot of people realized that being a Rapper can be considered a dangerous job. Not necessarily because there’s always violence going on but because a Rapper is seen as a target to a lot of criminals. Traveling from city to city, not always being aware of your surroundings, and having to depend on others for your safety can bring up a lot of safety issues. Working in the industry comes with its legal parameters and you might have to sacrifice your life by not defending your own. People die every day and Rappers are not immortal.
“I reminisce so you never forget this.” – C. L. Smooth (They Reminisce Over You)