Rap pioneer Gil Scott-Heron’s poignantly sang in his 1971 song “Home Is Where The Hatred Is” that his ghetto origin is “filled with pain and it might not be such a bad idea if I never went home again.” Street violence has been ingrained in the underbelly of the Hip Hop culture since its inception. As rappers look to get love from their hometown bredren, many have sadly become cautionary tales after fateful episodes of returning to their hood.
In 2017, the Center for Disease and Prevention Contro revealed that the mortality rate of blacks in the age groups of 18 to 34 and 35 to 49 are nine and five times higher than their white counterparts from homicide. Sadly, as Mississippi rapper Lil Lonnie was gaining momentum in his short-lived career, he became an addition to this statistic when he was murdered at age 22 in his hometown of Jackson, Mississippi last month.
As this trend continues to grow, we’ve compiled 15 other rappers who have been killed in their own hometown or neighborhood over the past 20 years.
Big L remains in the conversation of one of the greatest MCs in rap history. His inimitable multi-layered wordplay and high register vocal style were highly influential for the Eminem’s of the world, and his Harlem-bred flamboyant swag echoes two decades later within fellow Harlemites Dave East and A$AP Rocky. Just one year after Big L released the final classic single of his career “Ebonics,” Harlem’s MVP was tragically gunned down at age 24 in a drive-by shooting in his neighborhood on February 11, 1999. As one of the progenitors of Hip Hop’s horrorcore subgenre, Lamont Coleman sadly couldn’t escape the impetuous “lifestyles of the poor and dangerous” that ultimately took his life.
Although no one was ever charged with the crime, the man long rumored to have pulled the trigger was killed during Summer ‘16.
When Doe B signed to T.I.’s Grand Hustle imprint in 2012, the girthy Alabama native was set to make noise for the Cotton State like his predecessors Mr. Bigg and Yelawolf. But Doe B found it hard to dodge the perils of street life in his home city of Montgomery. After being shot in the eye at age 17 as a result of multiple street beefs (his signature eye patch would only add to his hardcore aesthetic) he was shot for a final time in a Montgomery nightclub on December 28, 2013.
Earlier this year, the assailant in Doe B’s murder case was sentenced to 85 years in prison for murdering two other victims in the incident.
No Limit and Cash Money were among the dominant rap record labels that spearheaded the southern rap tour de force on the Billboard charts into the new millennium. Each imprint pushed the New Orleans post-bounce sound and “bling” movement, but the two rivals went without a collaboration for most of their glory years. The only men that brought both labels together were Cash Money’s Juvenile and No Limit deceased rapper Soulja Slim via the somber-toned track, “Slow Motion” in 2004.
Soulja Slim was shot and killed on the front lawn of his parent’s New Orleans home on November 26, 2003 at just 26-years-young. In the wake of Slim’s death, “Slow Motion” gained steam on urban radio and reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and remains the sole No. 1 of Juvenile’s lengthy career, and it was Cash Money’s first hit to reach No. 1 as well.
His suspected killer was arrested but never convicted but eventually, found himself murdered years later.
This dreadlocked rapper was gaining traction in the early 2000s as an independent artist who hailed from Savannah, Georgia. Camoflauge made a name for himself through his group Crime Affiliates and additional solo projects, including I, Represent which sold 50,000 on Pure Pain Records. As Camoflauge began to attain recognition in major rap magazines for his solo artist work, haters became to infiltrate his life in the worst way.
In May 2003 as the 21-year-old gangsta rapper was walking with his young son outside the Pure Pain Studio in Savannah, Camoflauge was murdered in a drive-by shooting. His son was unharmed during the incident and his killer was never found.
His kids, however have carried on his Hip Hop legacy.
Bankroll Fresh was one of Atlanta’s most beloved trap rappers before his untimely demise. His most notable hit singles “Walk In” featuring Travis Porter and Boochie, “Hot Boy,” and collaborations with super producers Metro Boomin and Mike Will Made-It gave him legitimacy outside of just his A-Town folklore. Fresh gained the most attention for his career after he was shot to death outside the Street Execs studio in northwest Atlanta on March 4, 2016.
The case gained notoriety not only due to police finding an estimated 50 shell cases at the crime scene, but also the fact that his childhood friend and fellow Atlanta rapper No Plug, who admitted that he shot Fresh in self-defense during a Vlad TV interview. No Plug still has not been arrested as a suspect in connection with the shooting.
Chinx earned his stripes in New York’s hardcore Hip Hop and mixtape circuit during the late 2000s and was co-signed by French Montana to join his Coke Boys crew. Lionel Pickens seemed destined to be the next to bring Coke Boys to the next level until he was killed at age 31 just blocks from his residence on May 17, 2015. The Cocaine Riot rapper had an album set to release his debut studio album Welcome To JFK, an homage to the airport located in Queens that dropped later that year. Another album of recorded material prior to his death titled Legends Never Die was posthumously released in 2016.
Even though two suspects were apprehended at the tail end of 2017, his murder case remains unsolved for now.
Fat Pat & Big Hawk
The Screwed Up Click helped coin the archetypal term and production style for Houston Hip Hop’s “chopped and screwed” sound by way of the late DJ Screw. The S.U.C.’s rappers deserve the credit for rappers who adopted that sound years later, including Fat Pat who was shot and killed in their native city in 1998.
Following Fat Pat’s death, his brother Big Hawk continued to make music with fellow H-Town rappers like Trae The Truth, Paul Wall, and the late Pimp C. Despite the fact Hawk would preach non-violence in his homage to DJ Screw and Fat Pat in the 2006 track “Swang” with Trae The Truth, Hawk was shot multiple times outside a friend’s house in South Houston on May 3 that same year where he was later pronounced dead at age 36.
Neither of the Hawkins Brothers’ murders has reached a resolution.
Slim Dunkin was a childhood friend of Waka Flocka Flame who initially showcased his rhyme talents on Waka’s debut studio album Flockaveli in 2010. Dunkin’s profile increased as a member of Gucci Mane’s Brick Squad 1017 that same year with his song “Twitter That.” But after an alleged verbal riff over candy in Dunkin’s hometown of Atlanta, Slim Dunkin was fatally shot in the chest in a recording studio while in preparation for a music video on December 11, 2011.
Multiple witness reports named rapper Young Vito as the shooter in the incident. During the case’s trial, Vito was acquitted of the murder charges, but was found guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a handgun, which led to a 25-year prison sentence.
In 2012, up-and-coming rapper Lil JoJo was a rival to one of the most revered figures of Chicago’s “drill” rap music scene, Chief Keef. Lil JoJo was a known to be affiliated with Chicago street gang Gangster Disciples, and was mostly known for his single “BDK (3hunnak).” It was a diss track; an acronym that stood for “Black Disciple Killers,” and was aimed at fellow Chi-Town rappers Lil Durk, Chief Keef, and Keef’s associate Lil Reese.
On September 4, 2012, shortly after Jojo allegedly posted a tweet with his location marked, Jojo was shot and killed by an unknown shooter in his Southside Chicago neighborhood. The 18-year-old rapper’s gang supposedly changed their name to “JoJo World.”
After news spread about the death of JoJo, Chief Keef egregiously mocked him by tweeting in laughter, raising awareness to the level of desensitized violence Chicago kids had been subjected to.
In the video for Eminem’s 2004 single “Toy Soldiers,” there is a scene that features D12 co-founder and the Shady Records honcho’s former hypeman Proof getting caught in a hail of gunfire. This scene in the visual became prescient for one of the most celebrated MCs in Detroit’s history.
During a pool game at the CCC nightclub located on 8 Mile Road in Detroit on April 11, 2006, Proof (born DeShaun Holton) reportedly got into an altercation with another man named Keith Bender that ended eerily similar to that aforementioned scene in the “Toy Soldiers” video. The most accurate account of that dreadful night says Proof was shot and killed by onlooker and Bender’s cousin, Mario Etheridge before he shot Bender (who later died eight days later).
On the contrary, which one of the men was acting in self-defense against the other remains an unsolved mystery no match for even Robert Stack.
In his 32 years of life, Proof was known for his droll sense of humor, daredevil personality, and uncanny freestyle ability for battle rapping. And his death was a clear catalyst that led to Eminem’s drug abuse that almost cost him his life shortly after.
After Meek Mill rose to fame earlier this decade, the Dreamchasers movement was born and he signed a teenage MC from Jonesboro, Louisiana named Lil Snupe. The 18-year-old rapper showed promise with his southern grit and East Coast-style delivery and proved the Rick Ross protégé had an ear for talent.
But Lil Snupe’s career and life were cut short on June 20, 2013, during a fateful video game in Winnfield, Louisiana, just over 20 miles from his hometown. Snupe and a 36-year-old man named Tony Holden reportedly got into an argument during a video game and Snupe was ultimately shot twice in the chest.
After Snupe was murdered, Holden turned himself into Winnfield police and was eventually sentenced for being a felon in possession of a firearm but Snupe’s mother thinks there’s another man who was just as guilty.
Hailing from Queens, New York, Lost Boyz were one of hottest rap groups to emerge in the mid-90s. Their string of hit singles including “Lifestyles of the Rich & Shameless,” “Music Makes Me High,” “The Yearn,” “Jeeps, Lex, Coupe, Beamers, and Benz,” and “Me & My Crazy World” had catchy hooks and infectious beats that played as New York’s answer to the party anthems of New Jersey’s Naughty By Nature. Besides their frontman Mr. Cheeks, the group’s most memorable voice on the tracks was the hoarse lion-roaring style of their hypeman/rapper Freaky Tah.
But when Freaky Tah was assassinated in a Queens drive-by shooting following Mr. Cheeks’ birthday party on March 28, 1999, it steered LB’s narrative arc into a thousand problems. The group never saw the same success after they released their 1997 album Love, Peace & Nappiness and the group split up two years later.
Tah’s killer, Kelvin Jones would plead guilty to the murder but it came as a consequence of another man getting murdered in a mistaken identity tragedy.
After Detroit rap outfit Doughboy Cashout formed in 2006, they were ready to live up to their name after years of hard work when Jeezy signed them to his CTE label in 2013. One of the group’s standout rappers was Doughboy Roc, the self-proclaimed Mayor of the Mo.
While waiting on his big break under The Snowman’s watch, Doughboy Roc was gunned down in broad daylight at 3:30 p.m. on October 9, 2017, while sitting in his car on the west side of Detroit. He was just 29-years-old. At the time of his death, he was the target of a DEA probe. His killer has yet to be brought to justice.
A Tribe Called Quest and Leaders Of The New School’s posse cut “Scenario” remains one of rap’s all-time greatest posse cuts. The intensity of the punchy snares and uptempo swing of the song’s remix is set off by the chutzpah and gruff of Kid Hood. The Hollis, Queens rapper was a relatively unknown Native Tongue affiliate on the rise as the next in line from the legendary collective.
Shortly before the “Scenario (Remix)” single was released, Kid Hood was shot in the chest as he fought with two unknown men in Harlem in 1992. Hence, Busta Rhymes’ eulogy at the start of the track about “seven MCs is in the physical form and one in spiritual essence.”