The city of New York has lost two of its grittiest and grimiest spitters, first DMX and now the great Black Rob. The East Harlem native passed away Saturday (April 17) and we’ve tried our best to feature a bevy of songs from the former Bad Boy Records star.
Born Robert Ross on July 12, 1969, Black Rob began his career in his early 20s after dabbling with the art form since grade school. His official debut album Life Story was released on Bad Boy Records in 2000, spawning the massive hit “Whoa!” and the single “Espacio” alongside Lil’ Kim.
Like fellow street soldier DMX, Black Rob relied on his vocal instrument to communicate his pain and strife as he navigated an industry that wasn’t kind to an artist that was groomed in the ways of the block. There was an air of authenticity in Black Rob’s rhymes that made you believe everything he said, and while his output wasn’t voluminous as some of his peers, he left a mark each time he approached the microphone.
In 2011, Black Rob released the slept-on Game Tested, Street Approved album via Duck Down Records, which featured more of his stellar ability to tell stories from the street all while embodying the perspective of a person who has seen and done it all. Even his features on R&B tracks and the like were replete with Black Rob’s signature raspy voice and no-nonsense delivery.
Recently, a video that made its rounds across social media highlighted that Black Rob was in poor health. Many of Rob’s peers, including former label chief Diddy, were reported to have reached out to rally around the rapper. Sadly, Black Rob succumbed to what ailed him and a vital voice of the culture was taken away.
Thankfully, the gift of music is a lasting one and we did our best to honor Black Rob’s life and legacy via the playlist below.
Black Rob was 51. May he rest powerfully in peace.