When rappers pass away, they’re immortalized through the catalogs that are left behind. Each fallen soldier has at least one album, whether it be solo or collaborative, mixtape or EP that speaks to the legacy that they worked towards while living. Posthumous releases aside, these efforts often showcase the potential that a fallen artist could’ve reached. They also stand out as a glowing pillar in one's celebrated discography. Either way it goes, there are plenty hip-hop projects from rappers we lost to be appreciative of.
It's been four years since Mac Miller died as a result of a drug overdose on Sept. 7, 2018. The Philly-bred spitter was truly getting better with time, using his albums and mixtapes as a canvas to color the fragments of his imagination. A classic example of that points to Faces, a 2014 mixtape full of self-examination. The effort contains records like "Diablo" and "New Faces," which serving as therapy sessions on wax with additional pop-ins from acts like Rick Ross, Earl Sweatshirt and Vince Staples.
Juice Wrld was another prophet that the world lost too soon on Dec. 8, 2019. As a rap rockstar, the Chicago talent had a stranglehold on his fans, thanks to a stirring output of releases. One of those was his 2018 debut album, Goodbye & Good Riddance. The euphonic drop includes the diamond-selling "Lucid Dreams" and "All Girls Are the Same," both regarded as two of the best emo rap songs of all time.
More recently, Philadelphia’s own PnB Rock was tragically shot and killed in September. Rock became a force in rap due to his fortress of mystifying melodies and pitch modulations. His ornamented formula was heard through the entirety of his debut album, Catch These Vibes, released in 2017. The project, which has features from A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Lil Yachty and Juicy J, includes timeless bops like "Scrub," "Feelins" and "Friends," among other sonic pearls.
From older legends like Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. to more recently deceased creators like Pop Smoke and Lil Keed, here, XXL highlights one project each from 20 departed artists. These projects salute the imprint that these rappers made in hip-hop. Long live them all.