Rappers we lost in 2019

We look up to them, keep tabs on their every move and listen to their music day in and day out. So it's always sad and shocking to hear that a rapper has passed on. Unfortunately, a large number of emcees have died in 2019, from a Grammy-nominated rapper who was killed in a place where he felt safest, to a Florida rapper with provincial hits, to an LGBTQ-identifying rapper who helped put Latin Trap on the map.

While it's disappointing that many of these rap stars died without a chance to live long lives, fans can find solace in the fact that their faves left behind unforgettable legacies and work that can be replayed as many times as they like. With that, let's take a closer look at and memorialize the rappers who passed away in 2019.

Get a kleenex (or three) if you want, because this might get sad.

Nipsey Hussle

Nipsey Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, was highly-regarded for his 2018 Grammy-nominated album Victory Lap, but his business acumen and philanthropy work were just as important. After all, it's not everyday that you hear of someone selling their mixtapes for $100 apiece while opening STEM centers for the youth in Los Angeles. He was all about providing resources to his Crenshaw neighborhood — the same area where he lost his life.

According to NBC News, the 33-year-old was outside his store, The Marathon Clothing, on March 31, 2019 when he was fatally shot. By Monday, April 1, 2019 the LAPD identified a possible suspect in the shooting, who escaped the scene with the help of "an unidentified female" accomplice, according to CNN. At the time of this writing, they were both still at large.  

His death was widely mourned by members of the hip hop world, including Drake, who wrote on Instagram that Hussle had been having the "best run;" Fat Joe, who called him "a beautiful guy since day 1;" and Insecure creator Issa Rae, who said that Hussle had "inspired" her to invest into black communities.

He is survived by two children and his longtime girlfriend, actress Lauren London.


England lost a good one on Feb. 9, 2019. That morning, rapper Cadet, whose real name is Blaine Johnson tragically died in a car crash. According to the Britain's Press Association (via CNN), Cadet was en route to a performance at a Keele University in Staffordshire, when the taxi he was traveling in collided with a van. As of this writing, it's unclear which vehicle caused the impact. While the drivers of the vehicles made it out (although they were taken to a hospital with "serious injuries"), Cadet "died at the scene," according to a police statement obtained by CapitalXtra.

Cadet was apparently just starting to attract widespread attention. "Was chatting to [him] only last week about how excited [he was]  for some festivals this summer," fellow musician Example tweeted after learning of Cadet's death. Music producer Manny Norte added that the 28-year-old "couldn't stop smiling" at all of the opportunities he had been getting before his death. "RIP Cadet," he concluded.

Kevin Fret

Puerto Rican rapper Kevin Fret, who was once described as "Latin Trap's first openly gay pioneer" by Paper Magazine, was on a mission to lambast homophobia in the urbano market. He did so through tunes like "Soy Asi," which translates to "I'm this way" (via NBC News), a song that has earned more than 3 million views on YouTube. But before he could really spread his message, something bad happened.

According to El Nuevo Dia (via Billboard), Fret was shot in the early hours of Jan. 10, 2019 as he was riding his motorcycle through Puerto Rico. The 24-year-old was then transported to a hospital, where he died. "Kevin was an artistic soul, a big-hearted dreamer. His passion was music, and still had a lot to do," his manager Eduardo Rodriguez said in a statement following the shooting. "This violence must stop. There are no words that describe the feeling we have and the pain that causes us to know that a person with so many dreams has to go. We must all unite in these difficult times, and ask for much peace for our beloved Puerto Rico."

At the time of this writing, it appears that police have yet to arrest any suspects.

Trap House

Tikey Patterson, who went by the moniker "Trap House" was seen as a legend in Phoenix, Arizona. Over the course of his 10-year career, he made a name for himself after opening for 50 Cent, E-40 and Nas (via the Arizona Republic). He was also known for his philanthropic efforts. "He was more than a leader in the music community," Justus Samuel, the founder of the local label Respect The Underground told the Phoenix New Times. "He was a leader in the urban community. He just had a voice, and he used it."

Sadly, Trap House was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in the summer of 2018, which has a survival rate of 3 percent (via the Phoenix New Times). A GoFundMe was soon created to help raise money for his medical fees and living expenses while going through treatment, but he lost his battle with the disease just months later, on January 19, 2019. He was just 35 years old. 

Tech 9

If you were to ask a hip hop fan who their favorite battle rappers are, there's a good chance they'd have Tech 9 on their list. The Philadelphia-bred artist, who was born Akhiym Mickens, could go toe-to-toe with anyone — and he did, battling fellow rap wordsmiths such as Arsenal, and T-Rex (via XXL). He counted some of the biggest stars in the music industry as fans, including Kendrick Lamar and Lupe Fiasco, but he would pass away at the age of 32 before achieving mainstream success.

His death was first announced by a friend, rapper Buttah From-Da Block, on March 25, 2019 through Facebook. "Unfortunately we haven't fully figured the cause of death we are still waiting on the autopsy," Buttah told Newsweek. "We are praying that it was natural causes. He had no signs of harm done to his body." 

At the time of his death, Tech 9 was allegedly awaiting trial on a "child pornography charge and related offenses," according to Philly Voice. He was originally also "charged with unlawful sexual contact with a minor, indecent assault, corruption of minors, and harassment," stemming from allegations related to "the daughter of a woman [he] was dating," however, two of the indecent assault charges were later dropped. In response to the charges, Mickens' lawyer said, "Circumstances surrounding the timing of the actual accusation seem to me to be an act of retaliation rather than … an actual incident that happened."

Nina Ross Da Boss

Nina Ross Da Boss was Tampa, Fla.'s best kept secret. She had tens of thousands of fans, a trove of catchy singles and freestyles, and popular mixtapes like 2012's "The Only S**t Poppin." It's a real shame that the rest of the world didn't get to know her.

According to WFLA, Nina, whose real name was Jimmiel Spillman-Ingram, was the one of the victims of a double homicide that occurred on January 8, 2019. The outlet reported that details were limited, but that the rapper had been with an unidentified male when she was fatally shot. "Spillman-Ingram's car was found crashed into a nearby home and caused some minor damage," WFLA also reported. It appears that the case is still open at the time of this writing. Authorities have asked anyone who may have information to call 813-231-6130.

The 31-year-old is survived by six children, who ranged in age from 2 months old to 11 years old at the time of her death.

Willie Bo

"Song for You" rapper Willie Bo, also known as Willie McCoy, had just gotten back to his native California from a tour when he was shot and killed by six police officers. According to police, they responded to a call on Feb. 9, 2019 regarding an "unresponsive" man in the drive-thru of a Vallejo Taco Bell and arrived to find Bo lying in his car with a gun on his lap. Police say that they tried to open his door, but it was locked. They positioned vehicles behind Bo's car as it was still in drive. However, the 21-year-old became alert, at which point the officers started to yell commands, such as "show me your hands." Instead, they say, Bo reached for his gun, resulting in police firing their weapons at him. According to The Guardian, Bo was hit 25 times, including in the face and chest. He died at the scene.

However, Bo's family has rejected that story, telling the same outlet that body cam footage shows that he was never actually alert. They plan to file a lawsuit against the officers and police department.

Bushwick Bill

Beloved rapper Bushwick Bill, a member of the legendary Houston group Geto Boys, passed away on June 9, 2019 after battling pancreatic cancer. Bill, whose real name was Richard Shaw, told TMZ in May 2019 that he had been diagnosed three months prior, which came as a shock because doctors initially said that a mass on his pancreas was benign.

Despite the grave diagnosis, Bill told tab, "It's not like I'm afraid of dying, because … you know, I died and came back already in June 19, 1991, so I know what it's like on the other side." Speaking to KUSF about the near-death experience, Bill said at the time he was a "homicidal maniac with suicidal tendencies," and that he shot at his "girl" and their "three-month-old baby" in order to provoke her into shooting him back. She did, and according to Bill, he was declared dead and was "being prepped for autopsy" when he awoke in the morgue. He ended up losing his right eye — a gruesome injury the Geto Boys exploited for their iconic We Can't Be Stopped album cover

According to TMZ, Bill was set to perform in Texas just a day before his death, but he missed the show because he was hospitalized. A publicist for the "Damn It Feels Good to Be A Gangsta" rapper said that Bill died at the hospital, surrounded by his family. His son, Javon, told the outlet that Bill's last words were, "I will love you forever."

He was 52.