Rappers Who Cheated Death: Timbaland, Kanye & More

Several of our favorites had close run-ins, but they managed to persevere after facing near-death experiences.

BYVictor Omega
Rappers Who Cheated Death: Timbaland, Kanye & More

Immerse yourself in the daring domain of rap, a realm where many artists fearlessly flirt with fate. From dodging bullets to tackling life-threatening seizures, these wordsmiths have encountered trials that are more thrilling than any action flick. They're not just lyrical heroes—they've conquered death itself. From surviving multiple gunshot wounds to fighting against crippling maladies, these intrepid rappers have challenged every boundary imaginable and emerged victorious. Peel back the layers of risk-taking rhymers who have stared straight into the mouth of peril and lived to share their tale. Fasten your seatbelts for an electrifying expedition through their stories of survival. Here are rappers that almost died.

7. Timbaland

MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 13: Timbaland attends Variety's Miami Entertainment Town Brunch Presented By CN Bank on April 13, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by John Parra/Variety via Getty Images)

Timbaland's life has had two life-changing near-misses. At fifteen, he was shot and left with partial paralysis for nine months. Five years later, he narrowly escaped death again when his car skidded off an icy road, killing his passenger but leaving him unscathed. 

The shooting also prompted a remarkable transformation. Timbaland learned to DJ with just one hand, yet the car crash had a more pronounced and enduring effect. The immediate aftermath brought nightmares, uncontrollable sobbing, and a sense of guilt. To this day, Tim avoids driving, humbly recognizing that he shouldn't even be here.

6. Lil Wayne

Rappers who Almost Died
AUSTIN, TEXAS - MAY 04: Lil Wayne performs in concert at Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheater on May 04, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/WireImage)

A 12-year-old Dwayne Carter attempted to take his own life. Lil Wayne has detailed this incident at length, revealing that he tried to shoot himself. Police Officer Robert Hoobler saved his life en route to the hospital. Years later, while dining out, someone tapped him on the shoulder - it was Lil Wayne. The artist expressed his gratitude, noting that Officer Hoobler had saved his life and then generously covered the officer's bill.

5. The Game

VENICE, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 12: Rapper The Game attends the release of "Drillmatic" at the Gall3ry By Koll3ctiff on August 12, 2022 in Venice, California. (Photo by Unique Nicole/Getty Images)

At No. 5 of the rappers that almost died is the Game. Jayceon Taylor's life was forever changed after a fateful shooting incident at his Compton apartment. After getting hit by five bullets, he slipped into a three-day coma and emerged with a newfound purpose - to conquer the hip-hop world. Drawing inspiration from notable rap innovators such as N.W.A., Notorious B.I.G., and Nas, Game devoted himself to mastering the craft. He achieved unprecedented success with his debut album, The Documentary, which hit No. 1 in 2004. His brush with death apparently catalyzed an unquenchable ambition that continues to drive him today.

4. 50 Cent

Rappers who Almost Died
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MAY 06: U50 Cent during the Lovers & Friends music festival at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds on May 06, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kaitlyn Morris/FilmMagic)

50 Cent survived getting shot nine times while sitting in a car outside his grandmother's home in Queens. Despite being dropped by Columbia Records while he recuperated in the hospital, he released the mixtape Guess Who's Back. Subsequently, he became an unprecedented force in the rap game. He was eventually signed to Shady / Aftermath, with the song "Many Men" from his major-label debut referencing the shooting incident. Rumors circulated that he had ordered revenge against his shooter only weeks later.

3. Post Malone

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 7: Post Malone supporting the Red Hot Chili Peppers during their Unlimited Love Tour at Marvel Stadium on February 7, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo credit should read Chris Putnam/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

The public was incredulous in the wake of Post Malone's string of harrowing encounters within a three-week period. From tire blowouts on a private jet to a car crash and the thwarted burglary at his home, the rapper appeared to live under an unfortunate cloud of misfortune. Jocular speculation spread like wildfire that he had somehow managed to fall under a curse, though, in reality, it seemed his brush with danger stemmed from nothing more than sheer bad luck and a bold decision to tinker with a particularly malevolent spirit-housed object while intoxicated. 

Zak Bagans, star of Ghost Adventures, visited the Haunted Museum with Post Malone in tow. Seemingly unaware of the supernatural risks, Malone recklessly opened a Dybbuk Box - a concealment vessel that traditionally houses a powerful 'Dybbuk' entity from Jewish folklore. Unsurprisingly, the incident culminated in a frenzied outburst from the singer once he became aware of the sacredness of the cursed item.

2. Kanye West

He is Kanye West, a groundbreaking artist of the 21st century who has set records with his prodigious output. He is widely acclaimed, earning 21 Grammy awards and gracing the cover of Time Magazine's list of Most Influential People. On October 23, 2002, tragedy befell the budding star while working at a California studio, producing music alongside Beanie Sigel, Peedi Crakk, and The Black Eyed Peas. On his way home from the session, an unfortunate car crash ensued when Kanye dozed off. The impact inflicted irreversible damage. Miraculously surviving his near-death experience, Kanye found himself with a metal plate in his chin where it met with a fractured jaw.

Though many would have taken time to recover, Kanye channeled his experience into creativity. As a result, he entered the recording studio only two weeks after his hospitalization, evidencing his remarkable grit and determination. Subsequently, he birthed what would become his debut single, “Through The Wire.”

1. Rick Ross

Rappers who Almost Died
DENVER, CO - APRIL 19: Rick Ross is a rapper that is performing at the annual 420 Pro Marijuana rall at the Civic Center in Denver, Colorado on April 19, 2015. (Photo by Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Rick Roos tops the list of rappers who almost died. In 2011 and 2018, Ross endured seizures that reportedly rendered him unresponsive and, in some cases, presumed dead. Upon reflection on those hospitalizations, the celebrated artist developed the idea for his memoir. Though speculation circulated that he had experienced a heart attack during one episode, he refutes this theory in his book. Instead, he attributed it to disregarding medical advice, taking copious amounts of alcohol, and abusing codeine.


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