The Art And Profiteering Of Death: 100 Rappers Who Were Murdered

The Art And Profiteering Of Death: 100 Rappers Who Were Murdered

rappers murdered

Photo: (L-R) Drakeo the Ruler (Walik Goshorn/MediaPunch /IPX), FBG Cash in his video for "YB Flow" (Official FBGCash via YouTube), Young Dolph (mpi04/MediaPunch /IPX) Dayvon "King Von" Bennett (provided to NPR courtesy of the artist).

There’s a half-joke that being a hip-hop artist is the most dangerous job in the world, based on the growing list of rappers who were murdered. Looking back over the 40-plus years of the genre and reviewing the numerous murders of hop-hip artists – big and small – the saying seems more true than not. In some cases, after the death of an artist, his fame ironically sees a boost with some profiteering of the death and the art left behind.

Los Angeles has been named the deadliest city for hip-hop artists, according to an analysis of data compiled by the news platform L.A. Taco.

More than 90 deaths — at least three-fourths of rappers killed since 1987 — died in the cities where they grew up. And since the mid-1980s, at least eight rappers have been killed in Los Angeles, but when you include the cities of Compton and Inglewood, that total increases to at least 11.

L.A. isn’t the only place where hip-hop artists find their lives at risk. Many hip-hop artists have been murdered in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York City, among other places.

In 2021, one in three gangland murders in London was linked to drill music, and a number of them resulted in artists’ deaths.

Drill hip-hop is a style of trap music that originated in Chicago streets in the early 2010s. Drill talks about the violent side of the streets. It’s called drill because the term “drill” refers to killing. Trap originated in the South during the early 2000s. The genre’s name comes from the Atlanta slang word “trap” — a house used exclusively to sell drugs.

The Policy Exchange, a leading U.K. think tank, examined a decade of knife crime data, looking at the role of drill music, social media, revenge attacks, and a failure of police strategy in the rise of gang violence. 

Of the 41 gang-related homicides in London 2018, drill music played a role in at least one-third (36.5 percent). Either the victim or perpetrator was an aspiring drill rapper, The Independent reported. 


Drill music has been blamed for playing a role in the growing number of deaths involving hip-hop artists in Toronto, Canada. Authorities there cite the influence of Chicago’s drill music scene in promoting gang beefs, The Star reported.

Here are 100 rappers who were murdered.