Hip-Hop’s famous photographer Chi Modu’s cause of death has raised many questions after the legend who shot iconic images of Tupac Shakur passed away at the age of 55.
The heartbreaking news was first confirmed Saturday afternoon on the artist’s official Instagram: “Our hearts are broken… We continue the fight,” the post’s caption announced. “The family request privacy at this time.”
Members of the Hip-Hop community are mourning the sudden death of Chi Modu, who began his career with shooting for local papers in New York City, such as the New York Amsterdam News in 1991 and The Source during the early 1990s.
Shooting of Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur, Eazy-E, Mobb Deep, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, and LL Cool J, to name a few, Chi Modu was born in 1966 in Arondizuogu, Nigeria.
He moved to the United States along with his family when he was only two; his family left Nigeria in the middle of a civil war to seek refuge, so Chi was raised in New Jersey.
While attending the famed Lawrenceville School, while much of his family was across the ocean, Chi’s relationship with photojournalism kicked off as a student at Rutgers University.
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Chi Modu’s Cause of Death is still Unknown
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The artist, whose photos are especially notable for the personal and intimate camera angles, had offered tutorials on his website and was in the process of growing NFTs with his content throughout recent years. In a 2018 interview with The Music Network, Modu revealed that he declined chances to work with some of today’s Rap stars.
“I think I’ve done enough,” announced the visual artist who wanted to be known for photography beyond just Hip-Hop.
Unquestionably, celebrities’ death news always breaks many hearts, but fans kindly remember memories, and their idols are alive in their hearts and minds even after years.
Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with Chi Modu’ Hawkins’ family, friends, fans, and all of his loved ones during this challenging period. Please leave a condolence message below the comment box to honor one of the most legendary Hip-Hop photographers.
Chi Modu’s Biography
Through an inflection point for “The Bible of Hip-Hop,” Chi’s pictures were important. He shot more than 30 covers for the publication and proved himself as one of the culture’s best photographers.
Chi Modu’s photos were tapped for several well-known album covers, like:
- Mobb Deep’s The Infamous
- Method Man’s Tical
- Black Moon’s Enta da Stage
- An early photo of Snoop Dogg as the cover for 2017’s Neva Left album.
Last year, American rap star Havoc said about Chi’s circa-1995 photography session with Mobb Deep, “I was getting tired,” adding, “But [Chi Modu] kept on trying to do different scenarios, and I thank him for that, looking back on it now. Because the actual cover of The Infamous album to me, in my mind, it matches the content.
He then came to explain that, “We dealt with photographers before that. But with Chi, it just felt different because it felt like he cared.” Modu explained, “I’m not from the hood, but they’re my people, so I feel right at home. I’m looking at a young Black man out here writing lyrics that are driven by his experiences in America, of which I am as well. Our experiences may be parallel, at times intertwining.”
Reactions to Death of Chi Modu
As we could predict, soon after the tragic news of Chi Modu’s passing was released, many of his friends and fans expressed their sadness on social media by posting their tributes and sharing his photos.
Someone wrote, “mfs don’t understand how attentive to detail your pictures made me. visually and in music and writing. thank you for your eye.”
Another said, “Chi Modu a real legend. That’s the kind of impact you want to have on the world when you pick up a camera.,” while another user sadly penned, “Damn. I get my photo journalistic style from #ChiModu. He’s the first (and sometimes only) name I bring up when I talk about photographers that inspired me before I even knew I wanted to be a photographer. Rest easy, King! I’m just glad I got to meet you in person. #RipChiModu“
Another user tweeted, “Chi, thank you for the inspiration! Thank you for always been accessible and for always encouraging me. I can’t believe we lost you. This hurts but God knows better. Rest on Legend!!!!!!!!!!!!”
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