Today in Hip-Hop: R.I.P. Bugz (January 5, 1978 – May 21, 1999)
On this day, May 21, in hip-hop history...
1999: Exactly 19 years ago today (May 21), Detroit MC Karnail “Bugz” Pitts was tragically shot and killed at a local picnic.
Although he was expected to perform that evening on Eminem's tour in Grand Rapids, Mich., the D-12 member was at Belle Isle Park, Mich. in his home town. He was reportedly involved in a dispute after his friend's cousin was sprayed with a high-powered water gun, resulting in a heated argument. Bugz ended up intervening during the exchange, which led to led to him being fatally shot three times by a friend of the man who used the water gun. He was also struck by a vehicle driven by the same men who participated in the altercation. By the time he got to a nearby hospital, he was unable to be resuscitated.
Following the shooting and hit-and-run, the men fled the scene and were chased by the police before the group hit a tree. Andre Hamilton was arrested and later convicted of first-degree murder in 2001, and is currently serving a life sentence for the killing.
The underground rapper's legacy continues to live on through his D-12 brothers, who all have tattoos of Bugz on their bodies. While Eminem was blowing up into a solo superstar at the time of his death, the hip-hop veteran rejoined the group to help the group live out their Dirty Dozen concept which features six MCs with different alter-egos.
Em's "Like Toy Soldiers" music video from his Encore album also pays homage to Bugz's death, as it features a scene depicting the late rapper, played by Proof in the visuals, being shot and later dying in the hospital. If you recall, Proof was unfortunately shot and killed just a year following the music video, which had Eminem questioning if the video was karma for what later happened to him.
R.I.P. to Bugz, whose memory continues to be honored through his D-12 brothers.
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