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Black Rob (1969–2021), rapper known for “Whoa”

by Linnea Crowther

Black Rob was a rapper best known for his 2000 hit single, “Whoa.”

Music career

Born Robert Ross, Black Rob grew up in Harlem and began rapping before his teens. He began appearing as a featured rapper on other artists’ songs, including 112’s “Come See Me,” Faith Evans’ “Love Like This,” and Mase’s “24 Hrs. to Live.” His debut album, “Life Story,” was released on Bad Boy Records in 1999 and went platinum. It yielded the 2000 hit “Whoa,” which was a Top 10 rap single and reached the Billboard Hot 100. Black Rob collaborated with P. Diddy and Mark Curry on the 2001 hit “Bad Boy for Life,” and he had a minor R&B hit in 2005 with “Ready.” In later years, he did time in prison for grand larceny, and he recently struggled with his health and homelessness.

Black Rob on his inspiration to be a rapper

“What inspired me was what was going on around me – the music! When I heard that, I wanted to be in.” —from a 2013 interview for Unkut

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Tributes to Black Rob

Full obituary: The New York Times

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