Rapper Robert Ross, known as Black Rob, has died aged 51, according to reports. A former star on Sean "P. Diddy" Combs' Bad Boy Records label, Ross was born in East Harlem, N.Y., and landed on the Bad Boy label in the mid-1990s. Black Rob would appear on tracks by label stars like 112 and Ma$e, before he rose to fame in the early 2000s on the success of his own singles like "Whoa!" and "I Dare U." A grimy Harlem rhymer that ran counter to Bad Boy's glossy image, Rob's debut album Life Story would achieve platinum sales in 2000; and he followed it with 2005s The Black Rob Report.
"I always felt that my time was coming," Rob told MusicalFury in 2018. "I just didn’t know when, but once “Whoa” dropped things went to another level, but my life didn’t really change too much at all, because I have always been the same down to earth dude."
Rob would eventually move on from Bad Boy to East Coast hardcore rap staple Duck Down Records. His tenure at Duck Down would see Rob cement his status in hardcore street rap. In 2016, Rob was featured on the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour.
After the death of fellow Hip-Hop star DMX on April, Rob offered condolences from a hospital bed. Concern fans soon learned that Rob was battling health issues, like kidney failure, and living on the streets.
Rob eventually shared another video, explaining his situation. "Oh man, I’ve been dealing with this for five years. Four strokes … I don’t know what to tell you man. Shit is crazy. The shit is hard."I don’t got no house to live in — except maybe an apartment. Me and my man be trying to get together. I’m telling you man, this shit is strange. It’s hard, you know what I’m saying?"
Rob's friend and former labelmate Mark Curry kept fans appraised on Rob's health via Instagram; and shared that Rob was due to begin dialysis after a GoFundMe was launched to help with his medical and living expenses. Rob was released from the hospital on April 11. According to TMZ:
"Rob reportedly passed away Saturday while hospitalized in Atlanta -- this after he was apparently battling kidney failure for quite some time ... so says NYC radio personality DJ Self, who posted a video of Rob from his hospital bed speaking on DMX's death."
Heartbreaking 💔 Thank You #blackrob 🙏🏾SLEEP WELL 🕊 1969-2021 pic.twitter.com/DzqPvqfeMu
— LESCHEASHOW (@LescheaShow) April 17, 2021
RIP Black Rob... pic.twitter.com/Wi0ZauMVY9
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) April 17, 2021
RIP Black Rob 🕊️ 🎤 Share some of your favorite memories of him! 🖤 https://t.co/lDTR7j3kd4
— HOT 97 (@HOT97) April 17, 2021
Damn .....Black Rob today #RestInBeats @hiphopgods @uhhmuseum
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) April 17, 2021