Death is always a lot to take in on any level, but it resonates a little differently when one of your favorite artists passes away. In hip-hop, fans have had to deal with death all too often, wonderful lives and promising careers cut short by murder or drugs. For many rappers who've died, new music gets released after their death, which adds another layer to their legacy. With Juice Wrld's first official posthumous song, "Righteous," releasing today, XXL has decided to highlight some of the other first songs that saw the light of day after an artist's death.
Last year, Nipsey Hussle's death was extremely jarring and deeply felt across the hip-hop landscape. DJ Khaled, as a nod to his fallen friend, released the song "Higher," which features Nip and John Legend, two months after Nipsey's passing. The song was a tasteful send-off, and allows Nip to be remembered as an artist who aimed to uplift. In the case of Mac Miller, who died in 2018, his first posthumous track came courtesy of Free Nationals. The 2019 track "Time" featuring Mac and Kali Uchis is peaceful and calming while also displaying the talent that made Mac so loved, then and now.
When looking at rappers who've passed and their first posthumous songs, any discussion is off base if it doesn't include Biggie and Tupac Shakur. The Notorious B.I.G.'s first release after his death in 1997 was actually an entire album, Life After Death, a hip-hop classic. On the other side, the late Tupac famously released his album, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, after his death, but shortly before the project dropped, his single, "Toss It Up," was released. Both of their posthumous works helped keep their names alive for many years, reaching fans far after they passed on.
From Nipsey to Biggie and more, check out the first posthumous songs rappers released after their death below.