How Many Rappers Have Died in 2019?
When Crenshaw rapper Nipsey Hussle was gunned down in front of his south Los Angeles garment store last Sunday, a lot of people started talking about how brief the career — and life — of a hip hop artist can be. Although tragic, Hussle’s death is not the first to hit rap fans hard in 2019.
January rap deaths
The year was not even a week old when Vincent “Veeno Gunna” Sanders was killed with a bullet to the chest on a St. Louis street. According to witnesses, the 35-year-old rapper was defending his niece from unwanted advances when the January 6 altercation occurred at the intersection of Chippewa St. and South Broadway. After police detectives obtained surveillance video from a nearby convenience store, Christopher Rainey, age 42, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
Puerto Rico’s first openly homosexual Latin Trap rapper was riddled with bullets as he rode his motorbike on a busy San Juan boulevard in the early morning hours of January 10. Only 24 years old at the time of his murder, Kevin Fret vied in several local music competitions before releasing his breakout hit, “Soy Asi” (“I’m Like This”) in April 2018. So far, no one has been arrested in the murder, says CBS News.
The same day that Fret died, 31-year-old rapper Jimmiel Spillman-Ingram was shot to death in Tampa, Florida. Known to her fans as Nina Ross Da Boss, Ingram was a popular local rap artist as well as the mother of six young kids ranging in age from 2 months to 11 years old. Ingram’s mother-in-law, Yolanda Baker, told Rolling Out magazine that she believes the mother of her grandchildren was “in the wrong place at the wrong time” and not the intended target.
On January 16, Willie “Boss Goon” Addison walked out of a rap show and into a hail of gunfire. According to First Coast News, the 25-year-old rapper had performed at a Jacksonville strip club just hours before he and five companions were peppered with bullets in a drive-by shooting on Emerson Street. Addison was the only fatality in the incident which remains under investigation.
On January 22, Terrance Lamont Kinard posted a video on YouTube. Four days later, the former high school sports star who rapped under the name of T. Kizer Tha Dummy was shot to death at an El Paso house party. According to Heavy, the murdered rapper was just 20 years old.
The bullet-riddled body of West Palm Beach rapper, Jayo Sama, was found in the passenger seat of a car not far from Palm Lakes High School on January 27. In December, Sama announced on his Instagram page that he and his ladylove, Sofia Veronica, were preparing to welcome a baby boy this year. That same month, Sama released a video, “You Sleep,” that was dedicated to his friends who’d already died. At the time of his death, Sama was 22 years old.
February rapper deaths
On the night of February 9, Willie “Willie Bo” McCoy was shot by Vallejo, California police at least a dozen times while he was passed out in his car at a Taco Bell restaurant. A disturbing video shows that police may have fired well before demanding that the sleeping rapper show his hands, claims The Guardian. Bo’s YouTube video, “Song for You” has been viewed almost 300,000 times since his untimely death. The aspiring rapper was just 20 years old.
Tauhid “TaTachapo” Collins was shot dead in southwest Philadelphia on the night of Feb. 15, 2019. Ironically, the 17-year-old rapper’s mom graduated from nursing school on the same day her son was murdered. Although rushed to the hospital within minutes of the shooting, the young rapper succumbed to his injuries.
March deaths in the rap world
Antwon Fields, who rapped as “Lil Mister” and “Lil Woppa,” took a bullet to the head in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood on the evening of March 25. The 24-year-old hip hop artist was recognized as a prime contributor to the drill rap scene, dropping his first hit single, “No Lackin” in 2012. At the time of this writing, no suspects have been named in the murder.
On March 25, rapping family man Akhiym “Tech 9” Mickens died of undisclosed causes in Philadelphia. Although foul play is not yet been confirmed in this case, the 32-year-old rapper’s sister was murdered in 2009, explains Heavy magazine.
On the final day in March, Ermias “Nipsey Hussle” Aghedom was gunned down in Los Angeles. According to authorities, the case was definitely gang-related. A few days after the bloody shooting, a suspect named Eric Holder was taken into custody in nearby Bellfower, California. According to TMZ, Hussle’s final tweet lauded his opinion that having strong enemies can be a blessing.
Sadly, a lot of rap music touts violence and glorifies gun play. Will this recent spate of dead rappers change anything? Probably not. Nonetheless, it’s a shame to see so much talent come to a tragic end at an early age.