Chi Modu, Celebrated Photographer of Hip-Hop’s Golden Age, Dies at 54

Chi Modu (Image via Getty)

Chi Modu, a photographer who documented the brightest stars of the golden age of hip-hop, from the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur to LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg and Nas, has died.

Modu was 54.

The celebrated photographer’s death was announced Saturday in messages posted to his social media accounts.

“Our hearts are broken,” the post read, asking for privacy for his family. “We continue the fight.”

The statement did not give a cause of death.

 

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Modu was born in Nigeria and grew up in New Jersey. He was an alumnus of the Lawrenceville School in Lawrence Township and Rutgers University, where he studied economics and discovered his love for photography before pursuing photojournalism at the International Center of Photography in New York.

After getting his start at New York’s Amsterdam News, Modi began photographing hip-hop artists for The Source magazine in the ‘90s.

He met megastars like Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G and took now-famous photos of them before they reached icon status.

 

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“When I was doing it, hip-hop was still an outsider,” Modu told HipHopDX in 2016. “The good part about it was that we were a community of outsiders, but we were having fun while we were changing the world.”

The photographer, known for documenting hip-hop royalty in candid moments, would go on to shoot 30 cover photos for The Source — his own iconic images including The Notorious B.I.G. in front of the World Trade Center in 1996.

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SOURCE: NJ.com, Amy Kuperinsky

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