The topic of death has been popular in music, regardless of the genre. In rock and roll, for example, there’s The Doors. Just check out the lyrics to the song “The End” off the group’s first LP: “This is the end/My only friend, the end/Of our elaborate plans, the end/Of everything that stands, the end.” When Creem magazine (via waiting-forthe-sun.net) asked Jim Morrison, who died in 1971 at age 27, about the song, he said, “It’s strange that people fear death, the pain is over. Yeah, I guess it is a friend.”
Then there’s The Band Perry, who in 2010 scored a country hit with their song “If I Die Young.” In the smash single, Kimberly Perry sings, “If I die young, bury me in satin. Lay me down on a bed of roses. Sink me in the river at dawn/Send me away with the words of a love song.”
In hip-hop it’s no different, as there’s been a bevy of rappers who’ve addressed the topic of death, whether in song form, in interviews, or on social media. Sadly, some have accurately predicted their death, like Georgia rapper Dolla, who was shot and killed in 2009 in Los Angeles, Calif. In his song “Georgia Nights” he rapped, “My poppa died by the gun, I’ll die by the gun/And if I ever have a son he’ll probably die by the same.” So which other rappers have eerily foretold their fate? Read on to learn more.
Juice Wrld predicted his death in a song
Shock and sadness are certainly two words that can be used to describe people’s reaction to Chicago rapper and singer Juice Wrld dying on Dec. 8, 2019, in Oak Lawn, Ill. at 21 years old. The Chicago Tribune reported that he died from an accidental drug overdose after going into cardiac arrest. The “Lucid Dreams” crooner didn’t shy away from his battle with addiction, and in 2019 on the No Jumper podcast, he spoke about first being introduced to drugs. “It was something that I was into early, lowkey, due to music, ’cause I was a music head, so like in sixth grade, seventh grade, I’m hearing songs about sipping lean,” said Juice Wrld, mentioning the drink made of cough syrup, Sprite, and, at times, hard candy, referenced by a lot of rappers in songs. Juice Wrld also named Atlanta rapper Future as someone who influenced him to experiment with drugs, telling the podcast host that his music made him want to “sip lean at, like, 11, 12 years old.”
Juice Wrld also referenced his drug problem in his music, on songs like “Lean Wit Me,” “Different,” and, “Legends.” “What’s the 27 club?/We ain’t making it past 21/I been going through paranoia/So I always gotta keep a gun,” he sings on “Legends,” referencing the group of artists who’ve died at age 27, like Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, and Amy Winehouse.
XXXTentacion talked about his death on Instagram Live
XXXTentacion was tragically gunned down on June 18, 2018, in Deerfield Beach, Fla. in a robbery attempt and seemed to predict his death in an Instagram Live video. He was just 20 years old when he was murdered. The Instagram clip was posted on Twitter by one of his fans in 2018, although it’s unknown when it was actually made. “If worse thing comes to worst, and I f***ing die or some sh*t and I’m not able to see out my dreams, I at least want to know that the kids perceived my message and were able to make something of themselves and able to take my message and use it and turn it into something positive and to at least have a good life,” the rapper said.
Before he made that video, XXXTentacion, born Jahseh Onfroy, made a name for himself by addressing topics like loneliness and depression, while connecting with fans who said they related to his music. Despite having legal troubles, including being arrested for domestic battery in 2016, XXXTentacion’s name kept growing in the music industry. He released two projects before his death: 17, which came out in 2017 and his LP ?, released the following year. In less than a month after XXXTentacion’s death, the AP reported suspects Dedrick Williams, Michael Boatwright, Robert Allen, and Trayvon Newsome had been indicted for the shooting.
Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes felt guilt before her death
The day of April 25, 2002 was a dark day in the music world and especially for fans of TLC, the pop trio who rose to fame in the early ’90s. That was the day that its member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was killed in a car crash at age 30 while in La Ceiba, Honduras. It would be Left Eye’s second car accident in a matter of weeks: According to the Seattle Post-Intelligence, “Lisa Lopes was in a van that struck and killed a 10-year-old Honduran boy in an accident” less than a month before she died.
Speaking about Left Eye’s final days in REELZ’s docuseries Autopsy: Lisa Left Eye Lopes, her brother Ronald Lopes said she associated the boy’s death with her own. “I think Lisa felt like death was coming and you know, maybe it got this boy by accident instead of her,” said Ronald, according to Star.
Several months before her death, it was reported that Left Eye signed a record deal with Tha Row, a label started by Suge Knight after he launched Death Row Records. There were reported tensions between Left Eye and her group members Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas around that time, which Thomas talked about after Left Eye’s death. “She was our sister,” Thomas said on CNN’s TalkBack Live in 2002. “You know sisters argue, and they kiss and make up and that’s just how our relationship was … We’ll always be a group.”
Mac Miller compared himself to another celebrity
Mac Miller was adored by legions of fans. If there’s any doubt of that, one wouldn’t have to look any further than the long lines that existed at exhibitions held for the rapper in various U.S. cities after his death. So when Miller died on September 7, 2018, from an accidental drug overdose at 26 years old, a lot of people mourned him and shared their sadness both on and offline. The Swimming rapper was often candid about his drug use and in 2015 told Billboard that he was afraid that drugs would kill him. “It just eats at your mind, doing drugs every single day, every second,” he explained.
And whether it’s on songs like “100 Grandkids” or “Happy Birthday,” Miller also opened up about his struggles with substance abuse in his music. He predicted his death in his song “What Do You Do,” as well, off his 2014 mixtape Faces and mentioned another celebrity in the process. “A drug habit like Philip Hoffman will probably put me in a coffin,” rapped Miller. Philip Seymour Hoffman died of “acute mixed drug intoxication,” according to CNN. He was 46 years old and was found in his New York City apartment with a hypodermic needle stuck in his arm.
Big L brought up dying while telling a story
By the time the mid-90s rolled around, there was a new crop of rap stars in New York City that replaced the ones from the previous decade. So instead of artists like Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, and KRS-One being the talk of the five boroughs and beyond, people like The Notorious B.I.G. and Nas were heavily discussed, as was an up-and-coming rapper named Jay-Z, who you might have heard of. Around that time, there was also a rapper from Harlem named Big L, who in 1999 was shot and killed in his neighborhood at 24 years old. From early on in his career, it was evident that Big L was a talented lyricist, as he possessed incredible wordplay, his writing was overflowing with wit and his storytelling was chock full of vivid details, like in his song “Casualties of a Dice Game.”
The cut was released posthumously in August of 2000 on Big L’s sophomore release The Big Picture, where the rapper tells a story of being in a shootout after playing dice and gambling. “Now I can hear the sirens, that means here comes the Jakes but it’s too late/I’m knocking on the pearly gates,” he raps. In 1999 a man named Gerard Woodley was arrested for killing Big L but wasn’t convicted and the case was thrown out, as reported by Revolt. Woodley, who was the rapper’s childhood friend, was killed in 2016.
Tupac Shakur predicted his death more than once
There have been a lot of rap artists who’ve died far too young but not many have reached mythical status after dying like Tupac Shakur. On September 7, 1996, the rapper and actor was shot in Las Vegas while driving with the former head of Death Row Records Suge Knight. Shakur died less than one week later at University Medical Center of Southern Nevada at 25 years old. Throughout much of his career, he talked openly about death or used it in imagery, as he did in his video for “I Ain’t Mad at Cha.” In those visuals, Shakur shows himself being shot and killed after leaving a party with actor Bokeem Woodbine. The video was released shortly after Shakur’s death.
“It was even more eerie because we shot it probably six months before it was released. About a week or two after he passed [and] they dropped it,” Woodbine told XXL in 2011. “And I was like, ‘Wow, I don’t even have the words for it.’ Even to this day, it’s definitely eerie.” The “Dear Mama” rapper also seemed to predict his death during a 1994 interview with Entertainment Weekly‘s Benjamin Svetkey, who asked him where he sees himself in 15 years. “Best case [scenario]? In a cemetery,” Shakur answered, according to BET. “Not in a cemetery sprinkled, in ashes smoked up by my homies.”
Proof rapped about dying inside of a club
Proof was known to be a staple in Detroit’s hip-hop scene before becoming famous. He was also a standout member of the group D12 and Eminem’s best friend. As Rolling Stone reported, Proof was tragically gunned down on April 11, 2006, at C.C.C. club on Detroit’s 8 Mile. Before his death, he predicted his fate in a song titled “40 OZ.” “I’m in the club to beef, you gotta murder me dead,” he rapped. That same Rolling Stone report says that Proof — born DeShaun Holton — got into a verbal altercation in the club with a man named Keith Bender Jr. over a pool game around 4:30 a.m. Proof allegedly shot Bender. Then, Bender’s cousin, Mario Etheridge, who was the club’s bouncer, opened fire on Proof. Bender also died from the incident.
Days later, MTV reported that “the rapper’s lawyer refuted police reports that he shot first.” And around that same time, Eminem broke his silence on his friend’s death. “You don’t know where to begin when you lose somebody who’s been such a big part of your life for so long. Proof and I were brothers,” said Eminem in a statement obtained by MTV. “He pushed me to become who I am. Without Proof’s guidance and encouragement there would have been a Marshall Mathers, but probably not an Eminem and certainly never a Slim Shady … He will be missed as a friend, father and both the heart and ambassador of Detroit hip-hop.”
Prodigy talked about seeing a dark shadow
Mobb Deep member Prodigy, who was known for crafting gritty street tales that were just as vivid as any crime drama seen on the big screen, had sickle cell anemia, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe as “A group of inherited red blood cell disorders.” When one has the illness, their cells don’t get enough oxygen and then change into the shape of a sickle. The illness is known to cause a lot of pain as well, something that the New York rapper talked a lot about. Prodigy died on June 20, 2017, in Las Vegas at 42 years old from accidentally choking on an egg in the hospital. He was hospitalized for sickle cell at the time, according to TMZ.
In 2017, The Infamous rhymer talked about seeing a mysterious figure during an interview on VICELAND’s The Therapist. Prodigy didn’t say that he thought the image meant death was coming for him but it scared him nonetheless. “When I laid down to go to sleep, all the lights was off in my room, and I’m laying there, and I seen a black shadow walk across my room,” he said. “The only way I can describe what it looked like, it looked like a black Spider-Man.” The clip is said to be Prodigy’s final interview on video before his death.
Lil Peep may have been crying out for help
Lil Peep died on November 15, 2017, at 21 years old in an accidental drug overdose in Tucson, Arizona, as TMZ reported. The rapper, who was in Tucson to play a concert at the time, predicted his death in a song, where he also seemed to be crying out. “I need help real soon, I’ma die in my room,” sings Peep on “Tonight.” According to TMZ, the Pima County Medical Examiner said the actual cause of death was “combined toxic effects of fentanyl and alprazolam.” Fentanyl, Xanax, cocaine, and the painkiller Tramadol were found in the rapper’s system.
Peep spoke about drug use during an interview with i-D in 2017 and said he was getting somewhat of a grip on his addiction. “I have horrible anxiety,” he explained. “That’s why I took a Xanax before this interview. I used to abuse it really badly, like 20 pills a day, having seizures in my sleep … I don’t abuse it anymore. It’s just when I have something like a concert or an interview … if I’m nervous, I’ll just do one and I’m chill. I was really bad earlier this year, and last year, and the year before that. I feel better now. Being in London helps a lot, away from LA. All the drugs are free in LA. I mean, they’re still free here, there’s just less of them.”
The Notorious B.I.G. spoke about his death in music and interviews
The Notorious B.I.G. pretty much talked about his death from the start of his career. The rap legend was gunned down in Los Angeles, Calif. on March 9, 1997, at age 24 while leaving a party at Petersen Automotive Museum. His first album, considered a classic, is titled Ready To Die, so that’s one big example of death being a consistent topic for the rapper. On that particular LP, he rapped about death on songs like “Suicidal Thoughts.”
Then B.I.G’s second album Life After Death was released a little over two weeks after his death and it includes songs like “You’re Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You).” But one can easily call an interview that was shown on A&E’s Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G as his biggest prediction about his death. “I think somebody is trying to kill me,” he said. “I be waking up paranoid. I be really scared … That’s just the way I am.”
To this day, there still hasn’t been any arrests in B.I.G’s murder, although multiple theories on who was behind the shooting have been presented in interviews and documentaries. Sean “Diddy” Combs, who signed the rapper to his Bad Boy Record label, was in a separate vehicle when he was killed. “I think I’ll always feel some sort of responsibility because I’m in this thing with him,” Combs said on The Wendy Williams Show in 2017. “He’s my artist.”
Young Greatness spoke about possible threats against him
Theodore Joseph Jones III, known in rap circles as Young Greatness, was shot and killed in October of 2018 in his hometown of New Orleans. The rapper, who had record deals with Quality Control Music and Cash Money Records, reportedly moved to Houston because of the damage left by Hurricane Katrina. According to NBC’s WDSU, he was back in town for a funeral.
Greatness was apparently concerned for his safety in New Orleans but still decided to return. He talked about heading home during a 2018 interview with VladTV, despite hearing about violent threats against him. He also brought up the possibility of being killed in that conversation. “If I have to go see my kids or I have to go see my auntie or I have to see my grandmother or my mother, that’s what I’m going to do,” said the Southern-raised artist. “I don’t care who’s saying they’re going to do what. I’m going to have to die going out brave.”
In March of 2019, The Times-Picayune reported that three individuals were arrested for the murder: Donald Reaux, who was 38 at the time of the report, as well as Donny Maxwell and Lovance Wix, who were 18 and 16 years old respectively when they were indicted.
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