Rappers often die young

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Juice WRLD performs in Philadelphia in May 2019/Owen Sweeney/Invision/CC-BY

Popular rapper Juice WRLD performs at a concert. Juice WRLD is among a group of artists dying young.

In our culture, seeing rappers dying at ages as young as 20 is the new norm.

The cause of these deaths is often murder due to gang violence or overdoses. Many rappers are openly affiliated with gangs and violence, and even more are open about their drug and alcohol usage.

“I think drugs and alcohol are just part of the culture nowadays. It’s almost like rappers feel like they have to do drugs to be a popular rapper because that’s what has worked for other people. I think it’s sad that multiple young and talented rappers have died by an overdose, and it’s even more sad that this has become a norm to the rap culture,” said sophomore Adrian Gonzalez, an avid rap fan.

“Pop Smoke, Fredo Santana, and Speaker Knockerz were all icons, but it’s their decision of what they do and how they present themselves to us fans,” said sophomore Jack Vanoncini, a rap fan.

Many other rappers, like 2Pac, Pop Smoke, and Nipsey Hussle and others have been murdered due to their affiliation with gangs.

It isn’t uncommon for rappers to be open about their affiliation with gangs. For example, the popular rapper 6ix9ine was previously openly affiliated with the New York gang Nine Trey Bloods, a branch of the infamous gang Bloods. Another example of this is with the rapper Blueface, who is openly affiliated with the gang Schoolyard Crips, a part of the larger gang Crips.

Anthony Eliopoulos
“I could definitely tell Pop got a lot more popular after his death, just like X [XXXTENTACION] and almost every other rapper after they die,” Anson said.

 

“I think Pop Smoke’s death did have something to do with what he said in his raps because he was affiliated with gangs, so I could see that being the reason why he got killed,” said sophomore Nate Anson, a Pop Smoke fan.

These rappers aren’t just musicians; they are influencers who impact their fans, who are usually young adults and teens.

“I listened to Juice WRLD every day basically because his style was so different from every other rapper. His songs are known for being pretty sad and gloomy because he talks about stuff other rappers may want to stray away from,” Gonzalez said.

“One of my friends told me about Pop Smoke, and I saw he was working with people like Travis Scott, who I really like, so I decided to listen to pop more. His music always had me in a good mood, and his voice and flow were very unique. Juice WRLD is someone I can still listen to every day because he has so much good music, and it puts me in a good mood, even though his music can be pretty sad,” said sophomore Ari Ravi, a fan of rap and rap culture.

Anthony Eliopoulos
After Pop Smoke’s death, Spotify made a section remembering his music.

Another rapper who died in the summer of 2018, XXXTENTACION, was widely known for openly talking about depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses that teens and young adults suffer with. His music helped millions of teens and young kids through their mental illnesses by making helping them feel comforted and making them feel like they aren’t alone.

“If I’m gonna die or ever be a sacrifice, I want to make sure that my life made at least 5 million kids happy or they found some sort of answers or resolve in my life, regardless of the negative around my name, regardless of the bad things people say to me,” XXXTENTACION said on Instagram a week prior to his death.

A common theme after one of these rappers die is a short-lived movement on social media. This movement consists of other rappers, social media influencers, and news sites talking about how drugs and violence need to stop in this culture. Although few disagree with this statement, nobody, not even the rappers themselves, seem to care until the next rapper dies, and then the cycle continues.

The trend of rappers dying young is not a fluke. For as long as change isn’t made, rappers will continue to die early deaths.