Chi Modu — one of the most famous photographers in hip-hop history, documenting iconic shots from the 1990s — has died.
An Instagram post announcing the sad news went up Saturday, with a caption that read … “Our hearts are broken… We continue the fight ©💪🏾 The family request privacy at this time 📷.” It was accompanied by a photo of him and his lifespan in years, 1966-2021.
The details surrounding his death weren’t released.
Chi had snapped perhaps the most memorable batch of photos as it pertains to music — shooting a variety of rappers in the ’90s, which went on to grace the covers of memorable albums, as well as T-shirts and stills for years to come.
He’s perhaps best known for photographing Prodigy and Havoc of Mobb Deep for the cover of their 1995 album, ‘The Infamous’ … but he might be just as known for his black and white photo of a shirtless Tupac, with his hands up near his head and a cigarette smoke blowing.
There are countless other legendary artists in his repertoire, including The Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dogg, Nas, Diddy, LL Cool J, The Wu-Tang Clan, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Mary J. Blige, Busta Rhymes, Dr. Dre, Ice-T, RUN DMC, Q-Tip, GangStarr, Geto Boyz, Redman, Dead Prez, Eminem, Fat Joe, Kriss Kross, Mac Miller, Ty Dolla $ign, Common and Flava Flav.
The list can go on forever, frankly — but bottom line … your favorite rapper has probably been shot at one point or another by Chi … whose work is well-documented and seriously unmatched.
The guy started at The Source and was pretty much tasked with getting in with these acts that were bubbling at the time … and sure enough, they gave him unprecedented access to document their work, lifestyles and their most intimate moments. All the photos made for sick shots, which goes without saying.
His photojournalism went beyond just hip-hop, BTW — Chi traveled the world and snapped a wealth of pics in countries all over Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Chi’s contribution to photography and music culture is unparalleled … and his death is, frankly, shocking.