Black The Ripper 🕊️🖤

Barely five months into the year and 2020 is already the longest calendar year in the history of mankind. Even without the pandemic, the past few months have been an unmitigated skipfire, and a big part of that is due to the tragic and untimely passing of grime and UK rap legend Black The Ripper, aka Dean “Samson” West. Although some might unfairly argue his breath-taking skills on the mic had started to be overshadowed by his tireless passion for the sweet leaf, his recent output achieved the seemingly impossible by giving us weed-themed music that was actually good.

Whether it was those early grime joints, the fiery fury of his clashes or his more recent rap sound, Black The Rapper was almost universally respected. He could go toe-to-toe with just about anyone too, standing tall next to politically-minded poets like Akala and Lowkey on “I Still Believe” while kicking out quick-witted crud alongside Chip, Big Narstie, Ghetts, Footsie, Ms. Banks, Aystar and the rest. That’s just the Money Grows On Trees album; he’s got a whole stack of projects that can back that point up many times over.

Samson’s advocacy for decriminalising weed wasn’t without its detractors, but it wasn’t simply an act of rebellion or defiance—although his deadpan demeanour did make for some unforgettably funny viral moments—he really believed in the cause and wasn’t afraid to tell anyone about it, especially the police. Weed enthusiast, rapper, grime sheller—Black The Ripper did it all. Celebrate his life with 50 of his deepest cuts below, and may his soul rest in eternal peace.

Posted on May 07, 2020