While it's easy to feel personally connected to these artists through their tunes, it's
always difficult to believe when some of the most legendary or promising musicians pass
Unfortunately, 2018 has already seen the untimely deaths of a long list of influential rappers.
Although these stars are no longer with us, their art, and their performances are forever
etched into our memories.
Here are the rappers we lost in 2018.
Controversial Florida rapper Jahseh "XXXTentacion" Onfroy first found fame with the track "Look
The song was initially a sleeper hit upon its release to SoundCloud in 2015, but when
it was re-released in early 2017, it received mainstream attention.
But Onfroy's rise, further accelerated by multiple Billboard-charting hits and his Number
1 album Question Mark, wasn't without drama.
By early 2018, the rapper was embroiled in legal issues tied to his ex-girlfriend, including
charges of domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, aggravated battery of
a pregnant woman, and witness tampering, according to Pitchfork.
He maintained his innocence, but never saw his day in court.
Onfroy was gunned down at a motorcycle shop in Florida on June 18th, 2018.
According to TMZ, the 20-year-old was shot in the neck and appeared to die instantly
in what law enforcement said was possibly a robbery gone wrong.
"If I'm gonna die or ever be a sacrifice, I wanna make sure that my life made at least
5 million kids happy.”
Twenty-nine-year-old Louis Robinson Junior, a.k.a., Louis BadAzz, received his first taste
of fame with his 2015 song "Let Me Thru Dis B," which amassed more than 3 million views
But sadly, tragedy would strike just three years later.
Robinson was shot in broad daylight in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on May 2nd, 2018.
He was rushed to a nearby hospital, but died about an hour later, according to an ABC News
His mother, Elizabeth Robinson, pleaded for an end to gun violence, telling The Advocate,
"It's just got to stop.
I don't want anybody to go retaliate or somebody else get killed.…It's just not worth it."
"My name's Smoke Dawg, I'm from Regent Park, and I make music to tell my story from where
Canadian rapper Jahvante Smart, better known as Smoke Dawg, broke out with 2015's "Trap
But his exposure increased in 2017, when he toured alongside Drake on the Boy Meets World
Unfortunately, Smoke Dawg's ascension to stardom was cut short when he was killed in a violent
triple shooting outside a Toronto nightclub on June 30th, 2018.
Following the news of Smart's death, Drake posted of his friend: "I wish peace would
wash over our city.
So much talent and so many stories we never get to see play out.
Rest up Smoke."
A new Jersey born rapper, Craig Mack's legacy will always be connected to the 1994 hit "Flava
In lYa Ear" which put Sean "Diddy" Combs' iconic Bad Boy label on the map.
"Ari told me rap was in trouble.
I got a hit on the cell.
So I came back to the rescue and now I'm here.”
The track peaked at Number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned platinum certification.
But by 1995, Mack and his debut album, Project: Funk da World, were eclipsed by his labelmate,
The Notorious B.I.G., whose critically-acclaimed Ready to Die was released just a week before
Mack was subsequently dropped from Bad Boy, releasing his second album, Operation: Get
Down, in 1997 to little fanfare.
He eventually left the industry, and later left his home in New York to join a "hyper-conservative
religious" community in South Carolina, where he spent the remaining years of his life.
According to Newsweek, Mack passed away from congestive heart failure on March 12th, 2018,
at 46 years old.
The hip hop community was rocked by the sudden death of Kevin Smith, the legendary rapper
and DJ known as Lovebug Starski, on February 8th, 2018.
He was just 57 years old when he passed away at his home in Las Vegas from a heart attack,
according to HipHopDX.
"The thing that would always follow this man wherever he goes is, nobody rocks the fever
like Lovebug Starski.”
Starski was widely credited with coining the phrase "hip hop" when the genre was still
in its infancy, using it in his rhymes throughout the '70s and '80s.
He went on to release multiple records in the '80s, including "Amityville," "Do the
Right Thing," and "You've Gotta Believe," but Starski was ultimately overshadowed by
other artists, and he arguably never got the recognition he deserved.
Thankfully, he was immortalized on The Notorious B.I.G.'s classic '94 hit, "Juicy," in which
"Who ever thought that hip-hop would take it this far?
Peace to Ron G, Brucie B, Kid Capri, Funkmaster Flex, Lovebug Starski."
Rest in peace, Lovebug.
It was no secret that Chicago drill rapper Derrick "Fredo Santana" Coleman, the older
cousin of rapper Chief Keef, battled drugs for years.
Fellow rapper Vic Mensa posted on Instagram,
"He spoke about his drug use and trying to escape the PTSD he had from growing up in
the hood, surrounded by violence.
I call it post traumatic streets disorder."
"But you know that's a good thing, you know?
Like I get to be myself, you feel me?
I ain't gotta be in the streets all day every day like I used to be."
By October 2017, Santana's lifestyle reportedly landed him in a hospital for liver and kidney
According to XXL, some speculated his health problems were tied to his alleged habit of
drinking "lean", a mixture of prescription cough syrup and soda that can result in liver
failure or seizures after prolonged use.
Sadly, Santana never made a full recovery.
According to TMZ, the 27-year-old was found dead in his home following a "fatal seizure"
on January 19th, 2018.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please call the Substance Abuse
and Mental Health Administration's 24/7 National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.