March 9, 2012, marks the 15th anniversary of the murder of rap artist the Notorious B.I.G. (aka Biggie Smalls), who was shot four times by the driver of another vehicle as he waited at a red light after leaving a party in Los Angeles. The List this week looks at 20 notable rappers, many who lyricized the gun-glamorizing lifestyle and were gunned down at a young age.
- 20. M-Bone (Montae Talbert) — Died May 15, 2011 at age 22. Talbert was a member of the band Cali Swag District. His dance moves in the video “Teach Me How to Dougie” were mimicked by everyone from Michelle Obama to Kate Upton. He was fatally shot while sitting in a car outside a liquor store in Inglewood, Calif.
- 19. Anthony J. Vital — Died Oct, 15, 2006, at age 28. Vital’s body was found in a field in Lawrence, Kan. He was a member of the local rap group Da BombSquad. The group’s first album, “Timz Up,” was released in 2001. A man was convicted for the shooting in 2011.
- 18. Seagram (real name: Seagram Miller) — Died July 31, 1996, at age 26. Miller was killed in a drive-by shooting in Oakland, Calif. His debut album, “The Dark Roads,” was hard-edged gangsta rap. The killing remains unsolved.
- 17. Magnolia Shorty (Renetta Yemika Lowe) — Died Dec. 20, 2010, at age 28. Lowe came from the dangerous New Orleans’ Magnolia Projects. She was signed to Lil Wayne’s Cash Money label. She was shot numerous times in a car in New Orleans. A passenger in the car also was killed. Lowe's husband, Carl Bridgewater, was gunned down a year later. The killings remain unsolved.
- 16. Kadafi (Yafeu Fula) — Died Nov. 10, 1996, at age 19. Fula was a founding member of Tha Outlawz and a childhood friend of rapper Tupac Shakur, aka 2Pac. He was in the same car when Shakur was gunned down. Two months after Shakur’s death, Fula was found shot in the head in Orange, N.J. He was wearing a bulletproof vest. The killer was never found.
- 15. Bugz (Karnail Pitts) — Died May 21, 1999, at age 21. Pitts was an up-and-coming rap star and a member of D12 with his friend Eminem. He was shot twice in the back and run over by a four-wheel-drive vehicle after stepping in to break up a skirmish in Detroit. The murder remains unsolved.
- 14. Mac Dre (Andre Hicks) — Died Nov. 1, 2004, at age 34. The Oakland, Calif.-born hard-core rapper spent five years in prison for bank robbery in Fresno. He was fatally shot while driving on a freeway in Kansas City, Mo. His suspected killer, Anthony Watkins, 22, was later found dead, shot 20 times.
- 13. Soulja Slim (James Tapp) — Died Nov. 26, 2003, at age 26. Tapp died from gunshots to his face and chest in New Orleans. He collaborated on songs with fellow rapper Juvenile, whose album “Juve the Great” reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. His suspected assailant, Garelle Smith, was found slain in 2011.
- 12. Scott La Rock — Died Aug. 27, 1987, at age: 24. La Rock was shot while driving in a Jeep in the South Bronx, N.Y. He was the first high-profile rapper to be gunned down in his own community. He was the original DJ of the hip-hop group Boogie Down Productions. Two men were charged with the murder but later acquitted.
- 11. Camoflauge (Jason Johnson) — Died May 19, 2003, at age 21. Johnson was fatally shot while walking with his toddler son outside his studio in Savannah, Ga. His solo album “I Represent” sold more than 50,000 copies. His suspected killer was convicted for another murder.
- 10. Fat Pat (Patrick Lamark Hawkins) Died Feb. 3, 1998, at age 27. Hawkins was fatally shot in the corridor of a Houston apartment. His song “Tops Drop” reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart in 1998. The murder remains unsolved. His brother, rapper Big Hawk, was gunned down and killed in 2006.
- 9. Freaky Tah (Raymond Rogers) — Died March 28, 1999, at age 27. Rogers was a member of the hit hip-hop group the Lost Boyz. He was shot in the back of the head and killed as he left a party in Queens, N.Y. The Lost Boyz’s single “Renee” reached No. 33 on Billboard Hot 100 chart. A suspect pleaded guilty to the murder.
- 8. Stretch (Randy Walker) — Died Nov. 30, 1995, at age 27. Walker was chased by three people in another car and shot several times while he was driving his minivan In Queens, N.Y. He was a rap singer with the band Live Squad. His murder, which is unsolved, came exactly a year — almost to the hour — after he escaped injury the night his friend Tupac Shakur was shot and wounded at a Times Square recording studio on Nov. 30, 1994.
- 7. Slim Dunkin (Mario Hamilton) — Died Dec. 16, 2011, at age 24. Hamilton was fatally shot at an Atlanta recording studio. Vinson Hardimon, known as rapper Young Vito, surrendered to Atlanta police for the shooting.
- 6. Proof (DeShaun Holton) — Died April 11, 2006, at age 33. Holton was a close friend of Eminem’s and a member of the group D12. He appeared in Eminem’s film “8 Mile.” He was fatally shot at the CCC Club in Detroit by Mario Etheridge. During the dispute, Holton shot and killed Etheridge’s 35-year-old cousin Keith Bender. Police said Etheridge acted lawfully in defense of another man.
- 5. Big L (Lamont Coleman) — Died Feb. 15, 1999, at age 24. Coleman was shot seven times in the head and chest and killed on 139th Street, just blocks away from his Harlem, N.Y., home. His posthumously released album “The Big Picture” sold 72,549 copies in the first week. Gerard Woodley, 29, was charged with the murder but was later released because of lack of evidence.
- 4. Big Hawk (John Edward Hawkins) — Died: May 1, 2006, at age 36. Hawkins’ 2001 album “Hawk” reached No. 45 on Billboard’s rap chart. He was fatally shot outside a home in south Houston. He was a member of the late DJ Screw’s rap group the Screwed Up Click and brother to rapper Fat Pat, who was killed in 1998. His killing remains unsolved.
- 3. Jam Master Jay (Jason Mizell) — Died Oct. 30, 2002, at age 37. Mizell was part of the pioneering rap trio Run DMC. He was fatally shot killed in a recording studio in Queens, N.Y. Run DMC is widely credited with helping bring hip-hop into music’s mainstream, including the group’s smash collaboration with Aerosmith on the 1980s standard “Walk This Way.” The murder is still unsolved.
- 2. The Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace) — Died March 9, 1997, at age 24. Wallace, also known as Biggie Smalls, was fatally shot after a party at Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. He was one of the most influential hip-hop artists of the 1990s, selling millions of albums. Although no one was ever charged, the murder is believed to have been related to the so-called East Coast vs. West Coast “rap wars” between the Notorious B.I.G.’s Bad Boy Records (East) and Marion “Suge” Knight’s Death Row Records (West).
- 1. 2Pac (Tupac Shakur) — Died Sept. 13, 1996, at age 25. Shakur was shot while riding in a car driven by Death Row Records founder Marion “Suge” Knight in Las Vegas. He died six days later. He recorded multimillion-seller albums “2Pacalypse Now” and “All Eyez on Me.” The album “2Pacalypse Now” sold more than 400,000 copies and includes several lyrics in which police officers are killed. Shakur died six months before rival rapper the Notorious B.I.G was fatally shot.
Compiled by John Haydon
Sources: Associated Press, Boston Globe, thenewblackmagazine.com, therapup.net, CBS, Time magazine and Wikipedia
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