As the year nears its end, it’s time to look back at the Hip-Hop acts we lost in 2021.
From industry icons like DMX, Shock G and Biz Markie, to artists like Young Dolph who were still rising within the culture, this year’s list is a sobering reminder that tomorrow isn’t promised for any of us, and even those who seem to be at the top of their game can fall victim to the harsh realities of street violence or personal issues.
Earlier this year, Dolph caught up with Hot 107.9 in Atlanta for an exclusive interview. During the chat, the rapper gave his predictions for the NBA Finals, his views on navigating life and career during the pandemic, investing money in companies and fully embracing the role of label boss by signing new artists.
As always, our thoughts and prayers are with those closest to the artists in today’s gallery. Let’s look toward the new year with hopes that we all navigate through the next 12 months and beyond in safety, peace and with respect for the lives of others – as well as our own.
Check out the gallery below.
1. Kangol KidSource:WENN
Kangol Kid was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and immediately started chemotherapy. Unfortunately, his condition worsened toward the end of the year, and in October, he was hospitalized in preparation for surgery. On Saturday (Dec. 18) famed New York City promoter Van Silk confirmed his passing. Kangol Kid got his start in the industry as a breakdancer, but soon became a shining star as part of the U.T.F.O collective. The group enjoyed success and notoriety as one of the top rap and dance acts in the nation.
2. DMXSource:Victoria Said It/Carissa McGraw
The Yonkers, New York rapper changed the climate of Hip-Hop with his classic debut album, It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot. A far cry from the flashy feel that permeated rap in the late 90s, he represented a more gritty sound, and quickly became one of the genres top acts. Sadly, we lost X on April 9, 2021 from a cocaine-induced heart attack that caused a lack of blood circulation to his brain.
3. Young DolphSource:StarterCAM / Hotspotatl.com
Representing Memphis, Young Dolph preached independence and financial security in his raps and interviews. No stranger to the streets, Dolph never allowed his fame to keep him away from the people, as he remained close to his stomping grounds up until the day he was fatally gunned down on November 17, 2021.
4. Black RobSource:Getty
The former Bad Boy rapper, best known for the smash hit “Whoa!,” saw tough times after he faded from the limelight. Money troubles and health issues plagued Rob in later years, and on April 17, 2021, news broke that he had died at the age of 52 due to kidney failure.
5. Biz MarkieSource:Getty
Hip-Hop loved Biz Markie, and he loved it back. His biggest hit, “Just A Friend,” has been featured in commercials, television and film. Animated and charismatic with a playful nature, Biz tapped into to fun-loving party vibe of the culture, and it was with great sadness that the world learned that on June 17, he had passed away following complications from a stroke. He was 57 years old.
6. Shock GSource:Getty
In the early 90s, Shock G, part of the group Digital Underground, scored a massive party hit with “The Humpty Dance.” His chemistry and close friendship with Tupac helped spark the rap gem “I Get Around,” and he remained active in the game years after his commercial peak. Sadly, Shock G passed on April 22, 2021 from an accidental drug overdose. He was 57 years old.
7. Prince Markie Dee of The Fat BoysSource:Getty
The jovial Hip-Hop group The Fat Boys fully embraced their larger-than-life personas. In addition to music, they were one of the first rap groups to star in their own feature film. Though their run was short-lived, they helped set a blueprint for future artists in the genre, proving that crossover appeal could open the doors for rappers beyond the stage. One of the group’s members, Prince Markie Dee, passed away on February 18, 2021, one day before his 53rd birthday.
8. Slim 400Source:Getty
The West Coast artist was shot and killed on December 8, 2021 in Inglewood, California. Signed to YG’s label, Slim 400 was born in Europe and raised in Compton and was best known for songs like “Goapele,” and “Piru,” featuring YG and Redrum 187.
9. Chucky TrillSource:Instagram
Houston rapper Chucky Trill was still on the come up, when, in March 2021, news broke that he had been killed in Atlanta. According to reports, he was in town for All-Star Weekend and had been gunned down during a highway shooting. Authorities found the 33-year-old rapper inside a stopped vehicle and he was taken to an area hospital where he died from his injuries.
10. Lil Loaded
Texas rapper Lil Loaded was only 20 years old when he took his own life. Best known for the record “6locc 6a6y,” Loaded posted a cryptic message on his Instagram page prior to his death, commenting that he was ready for his “heart and soul” to “join” God.
“Dear most high,” he wrote. “Please forgive me for my shortcomings and all the times I’ve fell short of making you proud and being appreciative of the blessings that have been put in my life (sic).”
18veno was declared dead on January 24, 2021 at a hospital in South Carolina. According to reports, he was killed inside of a home. When police arrived on the scene, they discovered two teens suffering from gunshot wounds.
“I still don’t think we have the respect we need,” he said during an interview Lyrical Lemonade, while discussing South Carolina artists. “We ain’t on like we’re supposed to be, yet. It’s up to us at this point—it’s up to the artists that SC has right now. I wanna be one of the ones that helps put us on at a worldwide level.”
12. Baby CEO
A protégé of Chicago rapper Fredo Santana and a member of the Savage Squad crew, Baby CEO lost his life to gun violence on January 19, 2021 at the age of 20. The Memphis artist first gained attention in 2015 for a controversial music video that appeared to glorify crime and street life.
13. Boog The Bandit
The up-and-coming female rapper from Columbus, Ohio was shot and killed during an attempted robbery in east Columbus on May 20, 2021. The 26-year-old had just released “Heart Away,” a new song and music video, on the day she was murdered. A suspect, Kyson Murphy, age 22, was later arraigned in connection with the fatal shooting
14. Drakeo the RulerSource:Getty
According to reports, Drakeo, real name Darrell Caldwell, was killed in his hometown of Los Angeles on Saturday (Dec 18) after he was stabbed with a knife. The incident took place near the Banc of California Stadium in Exposition Park, during the Once Upon a Time in L.A. concert where Drakeo and other artists, including Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent, were set to perform.