If each year of the 21st century was a mythological creature, 2016 would be the Grim Reaper.
As if March didn’t take enough from us with the passing of A Tribe Called Quest’s honorary founding member Phife Dawg, the shocking and untimely death of Prince devastated us again only a month later in April. Thereafter, the Hollywood death toll began its Rolodex spin as the legendary mother of hip-hop Afeni Shakur passed away in May and political activist and venerated boxing icon Muhammad Ali was laid to rest in June.
At the very least, such harrowing deaths had us all hugging our loved ones just a little tighter. Worried fans of other revered Hollywood names even went so far as to create actual Go Fund Me accounts to protect them from what is being dubbed as the deadly “2016 curse.” But if there ever was a such thing as cheating death, there’s a handful of members of the hip-hop communitywho didn’t need a fundraiser to do so. From (literal) music video shoots to emergency airplane landings, 2016 didn’t quite collect as many obituaries as it would have if these catastophic circumstances had ended any other way. Fortunately, these individuals were able to make their way off of death’s doorstep and onto this lively list.
Without further ado, here’s seven rappers whose nearly-fatal incidents could have claimed their lives in 2016.
Beginning in May at New York City’s Irving Plaza, there were a few bullets with Troy Ave’s name on them this year. After getting shot in the leg at the venue, where T.I. had also been present for the Live Nation-organized concert, shocking video footage surfaced of the Brookyln rap star firing one of the guns used in the shootout, leading to charges that included attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon for Troy. In an unfortunate year-end twist, Troy was on the receiving end of another gun attack when he was shot Christmas Day (Dec. 25) while in his hometown of New York. Though bullets hit him in his head, back and arm, Troy valiantly pulled through and was released from the hospital only a day later. Talk about saving grace.
After several epileptic episodes, Lil Wayne faced a couple of terrifying health scares in 2016 after a bout of seizures that had Weezy fans wheezing with worry. Wayne’s private jet was forced to make an emergency landing in Nebraska after he suffered a seizure and was thereafter rushed to the hospital. TMZ reported that another seizure hit when he refused care from medical professionals and made his way back onto the aircraft, a mistake that cost him a second emergency landing only moments later. July saw another seizure for the New Orleans-native when he suffered a spell right before taking the stage at a Vegas nightclub. We’re hoping 2017 will cut Wayne’s string of health setbacks short once and for all.
Though the Compton flag bearer is brutally honest about his street-bred West Coast upbringing, that didn’t ease the shock of a Miami drive-by shooting in which he and his entourage were targeted over the summer. Reports of the incident stated that early that September morning, a Mustang convertible whizzed past the Fontainebleau Hotel and opened fire into a white Mercedes-Benz G Wagon that law enforcement said was connected to The Game. Later, Miami rapper Stitches came forth in what appeared to be his taking responsibility for the gunfire. Though it so happened that no one was in the vehicle at the time of the shootout, we can only imagine what could have happened if the “My Life” rapper had been.
Gucci Mane had a stellar post-prison year and has kept his head well above water ever since. But gunfire that rang out during the music video shoot for the Rick Ross collab “Buy the Block Back,” could have cost him all of that progress. The shoot, took place on Cleveland Avenue, an area that is said to be rough gang territory in Atlanta, so there’s no word on who the attack was actually intended for. We’re just happy to have learned that Gucci made it out safe and sound despite the violent fiasco.
Rick Ross was another name tacked onto the Atlanta shooting headlines when he joined Gucci Mane for the "Buy the Block Back" music video shoot as well. Only hours before chaos ensued, the MMG heavyweight posted a photo of him and Guwop to his Instagram. Radio-banging rap star 2 Chainz and Rozay’s MMG signee and Dreamchasers star Meek Mill had also been present on the set. Video footage captured the clique on a rooftop scene just as gunshots burst into the air and sent everyone scrambling. Thankfully, The Boss, too, left the scene unharmed.
Hitmaking icon Mike-WiLL-Made-It’s luxury Mercedes-Benz may have been done for after a hit-and-run car accident in Atlanta, but gratefully, he walked away from the horrific scene in one piece. Mike Will posted a video of his totaled whip to Twitter, showing that the entire grill had been crushed in and the deployed airbags in the driver’s seat. The driver of the other vehicle has yet to be identified, but thankfully the Atlanta-native was without injury following the crash. “Blessed to make it out,” he tweeted. “Survived a hit-n-run last night in my 63, Thank God for AMG.” Blessed indeed.
Yung Mazi’s guardian angel has been on serious active duty for the past few years now, and most recently when he was shot in the chest while in front of an Atlanta Waffle House on Dec. 27. The Breadwinner’s Association rapper, who has suffered gunshot attacks from two incidents prior to December, reportedly tweeted that “God made [him] bulletproof.” Such a supernatural gift might hold some weight, however, since a 2015 shooting left Mazi with a bullet to the head that caused temporary brain damage. Hopefully, the Atlanta rap star can steer clear of any more bullets in 2017 and the following years to come.
(Photos from left: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Atlantic Records, Bennett Raglin/BET/Getty Images for BET, Ethan Miller/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)