It seems to be a tragic recurring theme that music and death go side by side. Over the years, some of the most promising musical talents have passed away before they achieved the success and praise they were destined for.

What they left behind were only glimpses at the possibilities of what they could have gone on to achieve. A pattern emerges in researching these artists that drugs or murder play a role in the fall of young artists. Here are five promising talents who died before their time. Is there anyone we missed? Let us know who you think should be added to the list!

5. Big L (May 30, 1974 – February 15, 1999)

Lamont ‘Big L’ Coleman was an underground legend in the New York rap scene in the mid-late 90s. His lyrical prowess and frighteningly clever and slick delivery earned him critical praise but not the mainstream recognition his talent deserved.

His debut album, Lifestylez ov Da Poor & Dangerous only peaked at #149 on the Billboard 200 but did feature a young Jay-Z on the track Da Graveyard and it was rumoured that before Coleman’s death, Jay-Z had planned to sign him to Roc-A-Fella Records. Coleman was murdered in 1999 and to this day no one has been convicted for the crime. In 2000, a posthumous album called The Big Picture was released featuring unreleased material.

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This article was first posted on December 7, 2012