After erroneously being reported as dead at 52 from pancreatic cancer after fellow Texas rap icon Bun B wished him a heartfelt “rest in peace” on Twitter, Richard Shaw, bka Bushwick Bill of Geto Boys, actually passed away in his sleep Sunday night, June 9, according to his publicist. Although Bill’s son used the rapper’s official Instagram to correct the initial reports, it wasn’t long before they eventually came true. Bill previously announced his condition in May, saying: I’m not really afraid of dying.”
The hip-hop world wasted little time in offering condolences and tributes to the Houston rap pioneer, whose impact throughout the genre has been felt for the past 30 years. His verses on Geto Boys hits like “Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta” and “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” were seminal in terms of hip-hop storytelling and bringing some of the earliest elements of horrorcore to rap. Bill’s stark worldview and a fearless attitude toward death stemmed from a 1991 in which he shot himself in the eye during an argument with his girlfriend while high on PCP. A photo from the hospital taken in the aftermath of the shooting became the cover for Geto Boys’ 1992 album We Can’t Be Stopped.
The tributes began pouring in at the time of the original report even after the correction from both admirers and collaborators alike. See more below: