Tributes are being paid to former Bad Boy Records rapper Black Rob, who has died aged 51.
The rapper’s death was confirmed by several of his friends and former collaborators including rapper Mark Curry, who revealed Rob had passed away in a video on social media, and singer-songwriter and producer Mario Winans.
“This hit my heart……. we will NEVER forget you brother! RIP BLACK ROB!” Winans wrote in an Instagram post earlier this evening (April 17). His exact cause of death has not yet been revealed.
Last week, a video surfaced that showed Rob (real name Robert Ross) lying down in a hospital bed, saying he was suffering from “crazy pain”.
In the days that followed, Rob revealed in another video, shared by DJ Self, that he was homeless and battling health issues including kidney failure, which DJ Self confirmed.
“Oh man, I’ve been dealing with this for five years. Four strokes … I don’t know what to tell you man. Shit is crazy. The shit is hard,” he admitted. “I don’t got no house to live in — except maybe an apartment. Me and my man be trying to get together. I’m telling you man, this shit is strange. It’s hard, you know what I’m saying?”
Born on July 12, 1969, Rob began his career using the moniker Bacardi Rob. He started out as part of rap group the Schizophrenics, alongside Alto and Godzilla, before joining Diddy‘s Bad Boy Records in the mid-1990s.
He appeared on tracks such as the remix of 112’s ‘Come See Me’, Ma$e‘s ’24 Hrs. To Live’, Total’s ‘What About Us’, and Diddy’s (fka Puff Daddy) ‘I Love You Baby’, before delivering the hip-hop anthem ‘Whoa!’ in 2000.
That same year he released his debut album, ‘Life Story’, which in addition to ‘Whoa!’ and ‘I Love You Baby’ also featured ‘Spanish Fly’, his collaboration with Jennifer Lopez. The album was certified platinum by the RIAA.
He released his second album, ‘The Black Rob Report’, in 2005, followed by the albums ‘Game Tested, Streets Approved’ (2011) and ‘Genuine Article’ (2015).
Tributes have begun to pour in for Black Rob. On Instagram, Rob’s former label boss Diddy wrote: “Rest in power King @therealblackrob ! As I listen to your records today there’s one thing that they all have in common! You have made millions of people all over the world feel good and dance! You are one of a kind! GOD BLESS! Love. You will be truly missed!!!!!”
LL Cool J wrote: “Thank You for your contribution to the culture. Rest in power my brother. Your music will live forever.”
Black Rob. A story teller. An MC. a gentleman every time I saw him. Rest in power my brother. 🙏🏾♥️
— LLCOOLJ (@llcoolj) April 17, 2021
DJ Green Lantern added: “RIP Black Rob .. aka Banco Popular !!”
“RIP to one of Bad Boy’s finest, storyteller supreme, Black Rob,” Skyzoo said on Twitter.
A-Trak wrote: “Damn, RIP Black Rob. Shit is too much,” while Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenberg tweeted: “Rest In Peace Black Rob … obviously the iconic hit is ‘whoa’ but for me it’s always gonna be about ‘I love you baby’ off the puff daddy and the family album.”
RIP to one of Bad Boy’s finest, storyteller supreme, Black Rob 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/2h5g7lvQnj
— Skyzoo (@skyzoo) April 17, 2021
Damn, RIP Black Rob.
Shit is too much. 😔
— DJ Male Grooming (@atrak) April 17, 2021
Rest In Peace Black Rob … obviously the iconic hit is "whoa" but for me it's always gonna be about "I love you baby" off the puff daddy and the family album … 🙏🏼
— Peter Rosenberg (@Rosenbergradio) April 17, 2021
Styles P said: “See you on the other side big fella !!!! Sleep easy… energy never dies ..”
Petey Pablo, who got his start in music thanks in part to Black Rob, added: “My peace comes in knowing He knew what we had and what we were to one another that’s all that matters.”
You can see more tributes to the rapper below:
RIP BLACK ROB… sad news hard week… 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
— QTip (@QtipTheAbstract) April 17, 2021
R.I.P Black Rob
— Lloydbanks (@Lloydbanks) April 17, 2021
All this death in hip hop really SUCKS!!! R.I.P. DMX & Black Rob! I cant believe i just said that. Just dont sound right 😢 no time to grieve 1 death anymore X just died last week and BR dies today 🤦🏾♂️😢😭
— PETEROCK.COM (@PeteRock) April 17, 2021
Rest In Peace, Black Rob. pic.twitter.com/pCpkD83MnE
— GZA (@TheRealGZA) April 18, 2021
Another sad day in Hip Hop with the passing of Black Rob! It saddens me even more that his video of crying out for help that was very recently. Let’s show love when ppl are here, not when they go. Rest Easy King ❤️🙏🏼🕊 pic.twitter.com/BYAPKn0JRX
— Premium Pete (@PremiumPete) April 17, 2021
RIP Black Rob !!!!!
— Young Guru (@Young_Guru) April 17, 2021
RIP Black Rob, one of the great millennium-era crime rap novelists, gruff but with Harlem slickness, who endured fire & brimstone to briefly reach the apex, before gravity and the law took hold. Of course, "Whoa," which owned the world for a full year, the platonic tunnel banger. pic.twitter.com/MURkLLdFYK
— Otto Von Biz Markie (@Passionweiss) April 17, 2021
RIP Black Rob… pic.twitter.com/Wi0ZauMVY9
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) April 17, 2021
rest in peace black rob, easily one of the more unsung heroes of the peak bad boy era and harlem rappers who created beauty out of gritty, wild storytelling. his biggest solo effort wound up inspiring one of the greatest houston rap songs ever. pic.twitter.com/b1vaPK1jMw
— Brandon Caldwell (@_brandoc) April 17, 2021
— Lance Briggs (@LanceBriggs) April 17, 2021
Rest In Peace Black Rob 💔 🕊 pic.twitter.com/2aNxllY0Y6
— Andrew Barber (@fakeshoredrive) April 17, 2021
Rest easy Black Rob!!❤️❤️❤️😔😔😔🙏🙏🙏
— Parks (@parksmusic) April 17, 2021
RIP to Black Rob, who passed away due to kidney failure at the age of 51.
I was honoured to work PR for his Game Tested, Streets Approved (Duck Down Music), now sadly his final studio album. He will be missed by many. pic.twitter.com/YN4ckWI423
— Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) April 17, 2021
Black Rob deserved better from this world. I pray his suffering has come to an end. I am glad he was able to speak and be seen prior to his passing. His visibility and his condition should be a reminder to appreciate health and not leave the sick and aging behind. Godspeed, sir.
— Karlie Hustle (@THEkarliehustle) April 17, 2021