Shootings in the history of rap

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The death of XXXTentacion – one of the biggest names in SoundCloud rap, who was loved by his fans but reviled for alleged violent domestic abuse – has shocked hip hop followers.

With the murder of another US rapper, Jimmy Wopo, reported just a few hours after XXXTentacion’s killing, here are some major hip-hop artists killed or seriously injured in shootings and violence.

June 2018
Jimmy Wopo

The 21-year-old Pittsburgh rising star was killed on the same day as XXXTentacion, in a drive-by shooting in the town where he grew up and had earned a large fan base.

He started rapping as a child to earn money from adults in his neighbourhood, according to interviews, and flourished in a studio run by his local church. His most successful track was Elm Street, on which he documented life in Pittsburgh.

Fellow rappers Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller, who are from the same US town, posted tributes to Wopo after his death.

Wopo has been shot twice before – and has told journalists that the first time it happened he sought revenge, but that later he changed his perspective and had more hope for his own life.

June 2018
XXXTentacion

The 20-year-old, real name Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, was murdered on Monday.

Detectives say they are searching for suspects after he was shot in the front seat of a luxury sports car in Florida, in what they suspect could be an armed robbery.

Combining elements of emo and hip-hop in his music, XXXTentancion was perhaps the leading star in the SoundCloud rap genre and tracks like SAD! had upwards of 250 million Spotify streams.

He was also the perpetrator of shocking violence.

He was jailed in 2015 for breaching the terms of his house arrest amid allegations of domestic abuse of his then-pregnant girlfriend – who described being kept prisoner, strangled and severely beaten by her partner – and he has spoken openly about attempting to kill a cellmate in a homophobic attack while he was in prison.

Despite this, his first album secured SoundCloud rap its first Billboard number 1 and praise and grief followed his death.

Kanye West tweeted: “rest in peace… I never told you how much you inspired me when you were here.”

October 2002
Jam Master Jay

Olel Right (L) and Lionel Frazer (R) look at a wall of flowers and cards outside a music studio in Queens, New York 31 October, 2002 where former Run DMC member Jason Mizell, who was also known as DJ Jam Master Jay, was shot and killed late 30 October. There was no immediate word on the motive for the shooting of Jam Master Jay who was in his studio in New York's Queens neighborhood with another man. The other unidentified man suffers from a wound in the arm. AFP PHOTO/Mat Shootings in the history of rap Shootings in the history of rap skynews jam master jay murders 4340480

Killed in Queens, New York, at the age of 37, Jam Master Jay is remembered as a pivotal figure in the rise of 1980s hip hop.

Real name Jason Mizell, he was the DJ for Run-DMC, a group that since its 1981 formation had pioneered East Coast hip hop and scratch, and that became famous for tracks like It’s Like That and Walk This Way.

NEW YORK - AUGUST 29: (FILE PHOTO) Jason Mizell, 'Jam Master Jay' of Run DMC, arrives at Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs and Guy Osery's 'The Greatest Party Of All Time' presented by RBK at Cipriani August 29, 2002 in New York City. Jam Master Jay, whose given name is Jason Mizell, was shot and killed inside a Queens, New York studio October 30, 2002, according to a group representive. Police, who say two unidentified men were shot around 7:30 p.m. local time, have confirmed that one man was dead on arriv Shootings in the history of rap Shootings in the history of rap skynews jam master jay rap 4340481

The band toured with the Beastie Boys, made their album Raising Hell one of the biggest selling in hip hop of all time, and helped bring the genre into the mainstream.

At the time of his death Mizell had been focusing on Jam Master Jay records, the label he founded and which is best known for signing 50 Cent and Onyx.

His murder remains unsolved. In the aftermath, Run-DMC officially disbanded – and rap star Ice Cube said the reputation of hip hop suffered: the Jam Master Jay Foundation for Music was later created in his name by his wife and closest friends.

October 2001
The Game

The Game is now considered an instrumental force in West Coast rap, and crucial to its revival in the 2000s.

He was signed by Dr Dre and, in the course of a tumultuous relationship with G-Unit and figures including 50 Cent, created widely celebrated albums including The Documentary and LAX.

His best known tracks include How We Do and 100, featuring Drake.

He wasn’t a rapper when he was shot in 2001, however. Then, he went by the name Jayceon Taylor and was a drug dealer in the California city of Compton. He slipped into a coma for three days after being gunned down at his home – and decided to become a rapper during his recovery period.

He also now runs a 60 days of fitness programme which offers workout and meal plans for subscribers.

May 2000
50 Cent

The shooting and surivial of rapper 50 Cent is one of the best known stories of recent rap history.

US rapper Curtis '50cent' Jackson speaks at the launch of his headphone range from SMS audio at the 52nd edition of the 'IFA' trade fair in Berlin on August 30, 2012. IFA, the world's largest consumer electronics and home appliances fair opens to the public from August 31st to September 5, 2012.AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/GettyImages) Shootings in the history of rap Shootings in the history of rap skynews fifty cent curtis jackson 4340490

50 Cent – real name Curtis Jackson – was shot nine times in the Queens neighbourhood of New York while his grandmother planted flowers in the garden nearby. He was shot in his hands and face, and legs, which were broken in three places.

“It doesn’t hurt as much as what people imagine it hurts,” he told Oprah in an interview in 2012. He believes the man who shot him died shortly after the incident, and another man who paid him was jailed.

Jackson was dropped by his label during the five months it took him to recover, but later went on to become one of the world’s biggest rappers.

March 1997
The Notorious B.I.G.

At the age of 24, The Notorious B.I.G. – real name Christopher Wallace – was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles.

His death was an explosive development in the ongoing West Coast-East Coast feud in hip hop. Biggie – as he was known – created hits including Mo Money Mo Problems and Hypnotize, on albums including Life After Death and Ready To Die.

He’s praised for both a smooth, funky sound and lyrics about lawlessness and struggle in tough inner city circumstances, and worked closely with Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs.

The circumstances around killing are still shrouded in mystery: Biggie had previously spoken of deep paranoia around “getting [his] brains blown out” and reportedly slept with a gun under his mattress.

Wallace married singer and songwriter Faith Evans in 1994, and was survived by two children. His family have filed a lawsuit holding Los Angeles Police responsible for his murder, but officers have claimed a feud between rival record labels is to blame.

September 1996
Tupac Shakur

A wall dedicated to the memory of US rapper Tupac Shakur is seen on May 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. Twenty years after his death, Tupac still reigns. Other rappers have succeeded him in stardom, and promotional efforts around Tupac have been haphazard, but the artist who died at age 25 on September 13, 1996, in Las Vegas, maintains a hold that is among the most enduring in recent times. / AFP / VALERIE MACON / TO GO WITH AFP STORY by Shaun TANDON, '20 years on, Tupac reigns as potent gl Shootings in the history of rap Shootings in the history of rap skynews tupac wall shootings 4340503

Tupac Shakur was a trailblazer in West Coast hip hop, famous for hits including Dear Mama, Changes and California Love – on the iconic album All Eyez on Me – which tackled issues like street violence, inner city poverty and race.

Moving from Baltimore to California, he quickly became a star of West Coast rap and later became a key player in the West-East coast rivalry, with an enduring conflict with The Notorious B.I.G.

Records he made during a career of just five years have sold more than 75 million worldwide.

Tupac was killed in 1996 at 25 years old, in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, where he was watching a Mike Tyson fight with Death Row Records co-founder Marion “Suge” Knight.

He left a legacy in music and culture that shows little sign of dimming. That the murder is still unsolved – all we know is that he was shot several times by gunman in another car – has proved fertile ground for speculation that Tupac isn’t dead after all.



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