A lot of HipHop Soldiers have fallen in the game of Rap since it first began. Names like Tupac, Biggie, Big Pun, Ol Dirty Bastard, Guru, Big L, Eazy E, and Jam Master Jay are often mentioned. A lot of times when a celebrity rapper dies it helps propel their legacy to a more legendary status but sometime the death of important HipHop artists go under the radar and doesn’t get the deserved attention. I am paying my respects and dedicating this new series of articles to those underappreciated rap artists who have passed away. 


a.k.a. Grym Reaper of Gravediggaz
November 15, 1964 – July 15, 2001

Coming out of Wyandanch, Long Island, home of Rakim and Bumpy Knuckles – Anthony Ian Berkeley a.k.a Too Poetic made some noise with his 80s single “God Made Me Funky.” At the time he was signed to Tommyboy, but in the 90′s he became one of the founding members of Gravediggaz alongside RZA, Prince Paul and Fruitkwan from Stetsasonic. I had the privilege to spit rhymes in a few cyphers with Poetic and we hung a few times. Prince Paul told me Poetic used to talk about me and tell Paul how dope I was. I’m proud I was able to make an impression on him. He passed away from Cancer in 2001…
Poetic wrote a verse about his struggle with the deadly disease and recorded it just a few months before he died. Verse 2 of this song. It’s one of the most heartbreaking verses I’ve ever heard.


14 year old Harlem resident signed to Rooftop Records alongside artists like B-Fats and Kool Moe Dee, and he was produced by fellow Harlem representer and future music icon Teddy Riley. If you heard Tony rap you had no idea he was just a little kid, His voice was stronger and more confident than most grown men. In my opinion Tony Tee is arguably the best child rapper that ever lived and I truly believe he had the potential to be one of the greats had he been given the right oppurtunities. I don’t have much info on him, I can’t find his government name or birth/death date but I know Tony was shot dead as a teenager. Here’s one of his joints that I taped off the Rap Attack back in ’88 and used to play in my box in heavy rotation.


Dec 12, 1964 – Jan 22, 2010
Anthony Peaks a.k.a. Apache was most known by mainstream HipHop fans for his smash hit ‘Gangsta Bitch’ produced by Q-Tip but he was much more than a one hit wonder. Apache was a murderous lyrical beast on the mic. As one of Flavor units most lethal Rhyme Spitters – he was highly influential to rappers like Queen Latifah and Naughty By Nature. Someone told me Treach tried to get Apache to come out and do some shows not long before he passed but Apache declined due to religious beliefs. Apache is horribly underrated and I’m positive if he would’ve died closer to the peak of his career there would be a much higher level of appreciation for him by the general public. The causes of his death are undisclosed.
See also: HipHopDX article

COWBOY Of the Furious Five
September 20, 1960 – September 8, 1989

He was one of HipHop’s true pioneers and one of the masterminds behind Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. The Furious Five were depicting vivid street poetry in a style like no one before them. If it wasn’t for their music most of the great lyrical street visualizers like Rakim, Nas, Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang and the list goes on… wouldn’t exist. In some way or another they had a major influence on every legitimate lyricist that came after them. There wasn’t a lot of publicity surrounding Cowboy’s death; I’ve heard he died from AIDS Complications – and I heard he died from Crack Addiction. I’m not sure what the truth is. Cowboy should not be forgotten.


a.k.a. Kamakazee of SCREWBALL
????? – March 28, 2008

Queensbridge’s own Kenneth Lewis a.k.a. KL died of an asthma attack. I spent some good time with Screwball up at their label/recording studio Hydra back when they were working on their classic album ‘F.A.Y.B.A.N.’. KL was the cousin of my long time friend Blaq Poet and I became cool with the whole crew; collabing with them various times. I was proud when they got all up in the papers and on the news channels with their controversial joint “Who Shot Rudy” (a song about murdering Rudy Juliani.) KL is definitely a true fallen soldier of HipHop and I’m glad he was able to leave his mark in HipHop before he passed away.
See also: Unkut article

….part II coming soon


  1. Nik

    October 6, 2011 (09:37) Reply

    Such a great article!

  2. Whiteboy Billy

    October 6, 2011 (18:00) Reply


    • BAss38

      November 25, 2011 (17:50) Reply

      that was one of my best friends man, true definition of hip hop for real too… rest in peace rose man

    • lilfortydashone

      May 24, 2012 (19:31) Reply

      40 dash is my big brother. i cant tell u how much it means to me that u included him in this amazing tribute website. i cant thank you enough. RIP to the one n only 40 dash one. i love you big brother <3

  3. joel

    October 6, 2011 (18:09) Reply

    Nice read mayne hope u write something about stack bundles!!

  4. azis

    October 6, 2011 (18:21) Reply

    are u gonna put soulja slim on your list rugged man?! shout out from serbia!

  5. Johnny the Bandit

    October 6, 2011 (18:32) Reply

    Buffy from the Fat Boys!!!!

  6. wahyu saeppudin

    October 6, 2011 (18:42) Reply

    two thumbs for this..

  7. Billy WhizZ

    October 6, 2011 (19:14) Reply

    I didnt even know Apache had died… RIP to all these, and second what White Boy Billy said RIP 40 Dash

    • Mike Turner

      October 8, 2011 (05:06) Reply

      Are you serous about not knowing about Apache dying? What part of the game is that?

  8. Pesocrates

    October 6, 2011 (19:35) Reply

    Man Too Poetic was one of the best to do it ever… most underrated of all time. You guys should peep his verse on Gravediggaz – Dangerous Mindz

  9. RUSTY

    October 7, 2011 (02:16) Reply

    A few former No Limit alums have passed. Soulja Slim as mentioned above and a little lesser know No Limit rapper Big Ed died of cancer.

  10. Animos

    October 7, 2011 (08:02) Reply

    Nice piece RA. I really enjoyed it. The personal touches added that bit extra too.

  11. Steadyeddy

    October 7, 2011 (16:44) Reply

    Camu Tao should get a mention

    • abso

      October 18, 2011 (16:26) Reply

      Camu for sure.

  12. propogyanda

    October 8, 2011 (16:18) Reply

    Too Poetic was ill as fuck…rep in perpetuity…dudes in a celestial cypher somewhere with Dirt McGirt hogging the mic and Tah Leeks playing hypeman : “whuda whudda whudda”

  13. Gordon Solie Motherfuckers!

    October 10, 2011 (20:38) Reply

    yo RA great articles. It’s amazing how little attention these guys get.

  14. Shorty Thomas

    October 12, 2011 (14:53) Reply

    Damn, I was away for awhile, and I’m jus findin out about Apache’s death now. He was one of the cats that first got me into rappin back when I was 11 or 12 years old. Highly underrated. R.I.P. Apache…

  15. chrisinthestudio

    October 12, 2011 (15:19) Reply

    Great Post R.A.

  16. iamnumb

    October 12, 2011 (22:36) Reply

    You can’t forget Eyedea. its almost been one year since his death now. Rhymesayers isn’t the same without him. rest in peace the greatest freestyler of all time.

  17. swordfish

    October 13, 2011 (18:50) Reply

    good i read prince a.d. r.i.p. killa sha luminati.1 of the best.

  18. HipHop’s Fallen soldiers (part II)

    October 18, 2011 (08:22) Reply

    [...] to important HipHop artists who’s deaths may not have gotten the attention they deserved. You can read part one here. This week I will continue with some more MC’s that have made serious contributions to the [...]

  19. EmeeNzFooTinYOuRaSS

    October 18, 2011 (22:59) Reply

    R.A. ..GreaT tO sEE YoU FLeX yOuR KNoWLeDge iN WOrDs WRiTTeN aNd SPiTTiN’
    ..UNForTuNaTeLy i aM OnE WhO HaTeS To ReAd!! ..BuT FaM.. i TRuLeY eNJoYeD ReaDiNg THiS HeRe! ..i ReSPecT & aPPreCiaTe ..WhaT You Do anD HoW yOu Do! ..ALBaNiA iN THiS MoFo! …R.i.P
    To aLL The ArTisTs.. ..sTiLL iN The HeaRTs oF The TRuE HiPhOp HeaDs!

  20. Jason

    May 7, 2012 (17:48) Reply

    Sorry ’bout my accidental post above. I just saw these lists and really enjoyed them and learned some things. Couldn’t help but notice no mention of Roc Raida though. Also, I was really enjoying The Lost Boyz first two albums back when Freaky Tah died.

  21. ciara

    October 31, 2012 (05:41) Reply

    r.i.p eazy-e and the rest of them

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