Can we please have a moment of silence for . . .
Rapper KMG (real name Kevin Michael Gulley) of the legendary rap group Above the Law who died early Saturday morning (July 7) in California. HipHop DX reported the sad news and A.T.L. associate Kokane confirmed it on his Twitter account on Saturday. "1 of the greatest MCz on da West has passed! My heart hurt so bad!" he tweeted. "On my life, I will keep his legacy Alive!! I'll miss U forever... RIP KMG."
While the cause of death is not known as of yet, fellow west coast rappers went on Twitter to express their condolences and thoughts on KMG. "Respect to 'Above The Law' Back when Hip Hop was gangsta...," tweeted rap icon Ice-T. Rapper MC Ren of NWA wrote, "One of the best. Dope mc and a good good brotha. Long live KMG."
KMG (the Illustrator) was a member of the west coast rap group Above the Law with Cold 187um (aka Big Hutch), Go Mack and DJ Total K-Oss. As Above the Law, the group recorded eight albums, including their classic 1990 debut LP Livin' Like Hustlers on Ruthless Records. Arguably, the album's sonics pre-dated the innovative G-Funk sounds on Dr. Dre's 1992 masterpiece The Chronic. Livin' Like Hustlers was a solid album of get-money anthems, black pride and hardcore gangsta raps. Among the standout tracks on the collection include "Untouchable," "Murder Rap" and "Freedom of Speech."
Over the course of their 22-year career, Above The Law was signed to Ruthless Records, Tommy Boy Records and Death Row Records. Both Livin' Like Hustlers and their third album Black Mafia Life (1993) received gold certification for shipping 500,000 copies in the United States.
After recording two modestly successful albums -- Time Will Reveal and Legends -- for Tommy Boy Records, Above the Law left in 2000 and signed with Death Row Records. At the label, Big Hutch became the new in-house producer and worked on various projects, including the debut album by Crooked I. Subsequently, after numerous album delays at Death Row, A.T.L. disbanded.
KMG released several singles on his own as an independent artist and worked closely with rapper Kokane. Most recently, KMG appeared on Kokane's single, "Doja" from his album The Legend Continues.