Evan Minsker and Matthew Ismael Ruiz
Jan 10, 2022
Los Angeles rapper Earl Swavey has died, his representative confirmed to Pitchfork. His cause of death is currently unknown. He was 26.
Swavey grew up in South Los Angeles. He was raised by a single mother after his dad died when he was a baby. His brother started rapping when Swavey was young, and so did his cousin Jay Rock. Inspired by his family—as well as artists like T.I., Rick Ross, and 50 Cent—he began to pursue music and became a prolific artist.
Among Swavey’s first releases was the 2013 mixtape Business Before Pleasure (BBP). It featured the song “Beef,” which was the song that prompted A$AP Yams to contact Swavey. It led to a kind of mentorship. “Out of all of the members of A$AP, Yams was really like a brother to me,” Swavey told Grungecake in 2015. “He would send me Christmas gifts and always look out for my mom and ask if she needed anything. I could call him anytime and he would always answer, no matter what. I definitely gained some wisdom from him.” Yams collaborated with Swavey and G Perico on the song “London Drugs” months before his death.
The rapper had collaborated with 03 Greedo, Mozzy, SOB x RBE, Melly, and many others. His mixtape Gangland dropped in 2016—the first in a series of Gangland releases. Swavey dropped three projects in 2021: The Dirtiest, Unphuckwithable, and Gangland 4.
Swavey discussed his career aspirations in a 2018 interview with No Jumper. “I just plan on doing better than what I did the last time,” he said. “As long as my shit risin’, I feel like I’m doing good.” After his death, he was remembered by his peers. “Rest in Peace to the great Earl Swavey,” Vince Staples wrote.