It’s hard to believe the 2010s are already becoming a distant memory.
In those 120 months, we saw the rise of decade-defining artists like Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj and J. Cole. We watched Jay-Z become a billionaire, witnessed Childish Gambino go from backpack rapper to global phenom on the stage and screen, and beheld records being broken left and right. While the 2010s have been filled with wins, the hip-hop community has also suffered some deep losses in the form of artists who have passed away during that time.
The decade began with the tragic death of Gang Starr rapper Guru, who died in 2010 following a battle with multiple myeloma cancer at the age of 48. Other beloved hip-hop elder statesmen like Beastie Boys’ MCA (2012), A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg (2016) and Mobb Deep’s Prodigy (2017) were also among the loses that had hip-hop in mourning.
The decade saw lives being snuffed out from prominent young MCs as well. Former XXL Freshmen XXXTentacion (2018), Mac Miller (2018) and Nipsey Hussle (2019) all left us before meeting their full potential. The 2010s closed out with one of the genre’s brightest young stars passing away, as Chicago rapper Juice Wrld died on Dec. 8, 2019, after suffering a seizure at the Chicago Midway International Airport.
Their contributions to the culture will not be forgotten.
Looking back, XXL remembers the rappers who died in the 2010s.