Los Angeles cemeteries tend to be sprawling; their populations can rival small towns and are difficult to navigate.
It's especially hard to find famous rappers' graves — just ask our reporter who tried to find Eazy-E. Also, there aren't a lot of them here. Both Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur were cremated, though Stone Mountain, Georgia boasts a Tupac statue. Meanwhile, information on where local innovators like Rodger Clayton, Danny “Fut” James and Kevin “Flipside” White remain frustratingly scarce.
Still, we did find some, and here are the graves of four important hip-hop figures:
Forest Lawn – Long Beach
After dropping out of high school and joining the Marines, Nathaniel “Nate Dogg” Hale went on to be perhaps the greatest hooksman in hip-hop history. The G-funk era simply doesn't happen without him, and he worked with Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Tupac and of course Snoop Dogg. A series of strokes led to his death in 2011 at age 41.
The staff of the cemetery refused to share the location of Nate Dogg's grave. However, there is a YouTube video that will easily lead you to the stone, which is near an elaborate mosaic and the chapel. A previous visitor had left a half-full bottle of Olde English, pictured above.
Forest Lawn – Glendale
James Yancey, better known as J. Dilla, was perhaps the most significant underground producer in hip-hop history. His stature has only risen following his 2006 death at age 32 from thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, a rare blood disease.
He lived in L.A. for the last years of his life, and rests on a steep hill at the far end of the Forest Lawn Glendale cemetery, where there's a view of the top floors of downtown's tallest skyscrapers and the fireworks from Dodger Stadium.
Rose Hills – Whittier
Eazy-E would have been 50 last September. Born Eric Wright, he died at age 31. Famous for his high-pitched voice and nihilistic tenor, he helped found N.W.A. and became famous for his bravado, his humor, and his beefs with folks like Dr. Dre.
Aside from an eighth note, there is no indication of Wright's career on his gravestone. As with Nate Dogg's final resting place, the staff of Rose Hills would prefer you pay your respects elsewhere.
Forest Lawn – Glendale
Iceberg Slim was not a rapper, but it's fair to say that without his writings there might be no gangsta rap. The Chicago-born, former pimp moved to California in the 1960s, publishing Pimp: The Story of My Life in 1967. His salacious paperback novels sold into the millions, detailing the now-cliched (but then novel) life and times of an urban hustler. Rapper Ice-T was heavily influenced by Slim, naming his third album The Iceberg and recently producing a documentary about him.
Slim is memorialized atop a hill with little fanfare. His modest plaque blends in with the rest of his neighbors, with no indication of his celebrity, other than his nickname in a small font: “Iceberg Slim.”
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