Influential photographer who shot some of the biggest hip-hop artists, Chi Modu has passed away this past weekend. Born in Nigeria and raised in New Jersey, Chi first picked up a camera while a student at Rutgers. After honing his skills at the International Center of Photography, he landed at The Source, which was the definitive magazine of hip hop culture. It was there Chi developed relationships with the biggest icons of the hip hop movement, including Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G., Mary J. Blige, and L-L Cool J, most of whom were not yet famous.
His career spans to shooting over 30 covers for publications, & album covers. His work also appeared in exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Hutchins Gallery, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“I feel it’s important to get these photos and these stories out,” Modu said of his work in 2011 interview with Complex. “Our generation, what we came up doing, really changed the world in a lot of ways. For a while a lot of us who worked in hip-hop tried to distance themselves from what they did, almost in an attempt to reinvent. But I think now we’ve come to a place where you can actually be proud of what we did.”
Check out some of his iconic shots below.