Former Bad Boy Star Black Rob Has Passed Away

UPDATE: The New York Times has provided additional information surrounding Black Rob’s death. In an obituary by Jesus Jiménez and Joe Coscarelli, the newspaper confirmed that the man born Robert Ross was 52 years old. They also reported that he passed at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.

Mark Curry, a friend of Rob’s and onetime Bad Boy label-mate, said the cause of death was a heart attack. Curry also alleged that B.R. suffered from diabetes, lupus, kidney failure, and multiple strokes.

Curry launched a GoFundMe campaign to assist the rapper in his final week. Roughly half of the $50,000 goal was reached, intended to help Rob was healthcare and securing housing.

ORIGINAL APRIL 17 STORY: Rapper Black Rob has passed away today (April 17), according to media sources, including Revolt. While details of the death are still pending, peers and collaborators including D-Dot and Mario Winans have also mourned the MC, who had reportedly suffered four strokes in five years. He was believed to be 51 years old at the time of his passing.

In recent weeks, Black Rob received public attention after a video released of him paying respects to late peer DMX. The video showed Rob in a hospital bed, admitting that he was experiencing “crazy pain.” Another video, released on April 10 and published at NME, showed Rob telling viewers that he was homeless. Rob also declared that his health was suffering. “I’ve been dealing with this for five years,” he said. “Four strokes. Damn, I don’t know what to tell you, man.” Former label-mate Styles P was among those who reacted to the clips, calling on Hip-Hop to unionize.

Black Rob Recalls Rolling With Bad Boy Before Biggie, Debilitating Stroke (Audio)

In 2015, Rob grew emotional as a guest on Sway In The Morning while discussing strokes and his health:

The man born Robert Ross may be best remembered for his 2000 Bad Boy Records single “Whoa!” and finding music success amid his early thirties. Alongside label-mate Ma$e, Cam’ron, Big L, and others, Rob helped bring attention back to Harlem amid the Y2K era. Like Biggie Smalls and Craig Mack at Bad Boy’s onset, Black Rob’s success defied industry standards at the time, given his age and hardcore style. Rob, who debuted on Cru’s Da Dirty 30, as well as remixes by Bad Boy’s 112 and Total, was previously in an underground crew called Schizophrenics before his deal. He also recorded demos with Dan The Automator, of Deltron 3030 and Handsome Boy Modeling School fame, during the 1990s.

Here Are Some Reasons Why 2000 May Be Hip-Hop’s Greatest Year

A product of East Harlem, Black Rob signed with Bad Boy Records during the 1990s. He featured on hit albums by Puff Daddy & The Family, Ma$e, and The Notorious B.I.G.’s posthumous Born Again. However, he entered the spotlight in 2000 with breakthrough hit “Whoa!” Produced by D.I.T.C.’s Buckwild, the song reached #43 on the pop charts and informed slang for much of Y2K. Rob’s debut album Life Story involved Puff Daddy, Ma$e, Jennifer Lopez, Lil’ Kim, Carl Thomas, Lil’ Kim, and The LOX. The release reached #3 on the charts, upholding Bad Boy’s Rap roots amid growth at the label. Within six months, Life Story earned a platinum plaque.

In a recent episode of What’s The Headline, Ambrosia For Heads discussed Black Rob and “Whoa” in why 2000 was such a special year for Hip-Hop:

A year later, Rob featured on G. Dep “Let’s Get It” alongside Diddy. The track, propelled by its Harlem Shuffle dance and beat, reached #33.

Nature & Black Rob Are Telling Us That Brighter Days Are Coming (Audio)

By the mid-2000s, Rob left Bad Boy, along with peers Shyne and G. Dep. His second released, The Black Rob Report, was his last. Shortly after the album, Rob served a felony sentence related to a 2004 arrest for grand larceny. He would remain behind bars until 2010. In 2011, the MC re-appeared with a third release, Game Tested, Streets Approved, released through Dru Ha and Buckshot’s Duck Down imprint. He followed with 2015’s Genuine Article. In recent years, he appeared on projects by Diamond D, Cormega, Sadat X, and Deltron 3030.

In 2013, Rob told UnKut that he was working on a sequel to Life Story. He also described why Harlem produces great rappers. “What makes the Harlem thing stand-out is because it has that pick-me-up kinda sound. It’s like, ‘Oh, it’s gotta a little flavor. I could dance to this.'” The MC added, “We were the flashiest. Harlem’s definitely known for the flashiest motherf*ckers, for sure. I was sayin’ that on wax, years ago. Ni**as know. Right now, everyone wants to be flashy, so you’ve gotta know someone’s resume to just put ‘em right there in Harlem.” Rob also discussed his early work with The Automator and teenage rapping.

Black Rob Smacks A Soul Sample On “About Me” (Audio)

Ambrosia For Heads extends condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Black Rob.