HipHopDX compiled a list of 35 Hip Hop figures who passed away in 2021 as part of our year-end content. Among the 35 deaths, over 65 percent of them were violent — Young Dolph was gunned down in his hometown of Memphis last November, Drakeo The Ruler was fatally stabbed in Los Angeles a month later and multiple aspiring local rappers were shot to death.
While Hip Hop has endured its share of murders over the decades — The Notorious B.I.G., Big L, Tupac Shakur and Jam Master Jay, to name a few — the frequency of killings have ramped up in recent years. Speaking to Financial Times, RZA gave his observations on the disturbing trend.
“Growing up in the golden age of Hip Hop, we lost maybe like a couple of artists but not a dozen artists or more,” the Wu-Tang Clan legend said. “Sometimes Hip Hop music glamorizes certain things. It glamorizes prison life, it glamorizes gangsters and thugs. I understand that, because I grew out of that.
“But it doesn’t give you the total tragedy of what that can end up being, nor are we being represented with a lot of alternatives. The point being made is there was more bounce, there was more substance. Hip Hop has become one-sided.”
A double homicide hit close to the Wu-Tang Clan family last August when Wu affiliates and members of the Ol’ Dirty Bastard-founded Hip Hop group Brooklyn Zu — 12 O’Clock and Murdock — were found shot to death.
According to Fox 12, the shooting took place in Northeast Portland around 5:19 a.m. local time. Officers were called to the scene with reports of shots fired in the 3600 block of Northeast 82nd Avenue. No further details were available.
RZA is preparing to release his new album with DJ Scratch, Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater. The project is scheduled to arrive on March 4 via 36 Chambers ALC/MNRK Music Group. To coincide with the announcement, RZA and Scratch dropped a new video for the title track earlier this month. Check it out below.