Photographs of our favorite late rappers have graced the culture way before social media. And though they have passed on, they have hundreds of images out there, and many of the photographs of those late rappers hold a special place in their fans’ hearts.
Rappers live the rockstar life, pun intended, as clichés of past music idols are evoked through these artists. The photographer, though, is crucial to humanizing those talents in today’s day and digital age.
Years ago, photographers like Anne Liebovitz toured with rock bands like the Rolling Stones and captured some of the most intimate and public moments from the life of greats who have passed, like John Lennon.
Now with the digital era, photography is diluted and more personal – in a public manner.
Photographers have always released posthumous photographs of late rappers
In recent news, Vikki Tobak has launched her very successful exhibit, Contact High: A Visual Story of Hip Hop. Showcasing rappers from all areas of the genre and those who have passed in their quest to be the best MCs, photography is recognized as a key element to hip hop culture.
Contact High chronologically exhibits photography contact sheets from the film cameras of some of the most notable hip hop photographers ranging from 1979 to 2012.
Photographers relish the chance to capture rappers, but sometimes they are gone too soon
Photographers want to shed light on their work and hope to capture eye-catching content with your favorite rapper. Sometimes it’s a challenge to get the chance to meet your favorite rapper, and those late rappers weren’t here long enough to give all of us a fair chance at a meet and greet.
So we look to other photographers to give us the peak we need into the lives of our most favored rap artist. The photographers with access are the internet’s blessing to voyeurism.
Christopher Lee photographed Juice Wrld in Midtown Manhattan in April of 2019, before he tragically passed at age 21, in December of 2019.
Clarke Tolton captured this photograph of late rapper Mac Miller at his home in July 2018 before we lost him that same year in August.
Ryan Lowry photographed Pop Smoke in his neighborhood of Canarsie Brooklyn early in 2020 the same year he passed.
Al Pereira took this photograph of the late rapper Tupac. Here Nas appears in a contact sheet image after seeing Biggie and Pac side by side along with Redman in his circulated photo at the time back in 1993.
Jorge Peniche photographed Nipsey Hussle for a long time and has been through some real moments with the man, even on the day he was released from his probation.
Barron Claiborne photographed of late rapper Biggie and was confident in giving Notorious B.I.G. a persona like no other, like a king, he describes this now-famous image.