The rapper, who was born Richard Shaw, revealed last month that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in February.
Reports that the rapper had died began circulating early Sunday after fellow Geto Boy Scarface wrote in a pair of Instagram posts “RIP Bushwick Bill “You will be missed big fella.” However, Bill’s rep insisted to TMZ that he had not died, as did his sister in an Instagram post. However, that same rep confirmed that he died at 9:35 p.m. CST.
When revealing his illness earlier this year, Bill told TMZ, “I figure keeping it myself is not really helping nobody, and I’m not really afraid of dying because if anyone knows anything about me from [his 1992 song] ‘Ever So Clear,’ I died and came back already in June 1991, so I know what it’s like on the other side,” the rapper added, referring to an incident where he accidentally shot himself in the eye while tussling with his girlfriend over a gun.
The Jamaica-born rapper born with dwarfism and first performed under the moniker Little Billy. He joined the Geto Boys in 1986, after performing as the group’s dancer. The group released a pair of independent albums but their self-titled major label debut, released on Rick Rubin’s Def American Records, caused an uproar due to their ultra-violent lyrics that led the label to change its distribution from Geffen Records to Warner Bros. The group moved on to Priority Records and released its biggest album in 1991, “We Can’t Be Stopped” — the cover of which featured a photo of the group’s Willie D and Scarface alongside Bill, on a hospital gurney, after the shooting incident. The album featured the group’s best-known song, “Mind Playing Tricks on Me.”
While their success dropped off in the ensuing years, the group continued to release albums throughout the 1990s, dropping a final collection, “The Foundation,” in 2005. They remain a widely acknowledged influence on both Southern rap and particularly the horrorcore genre.