Robert "Koopsta Knicca" Cooper Phillips, rapper and member of Memphis group Three 6 Mafia, died Friday (Oct. 9) in Memphis due to complications from a stroke he suffered on Sunday. He was 40 years old.
Phillips was in Three 6 Mafia through the early and mid-'90s, contributing to every album from Smoked Out, Loced Out (the group's first album, released in 1994) onward. He started his solo career with the 1999 album Da Devil's Playground shortly before leaving the group in 2000 following arrests on charges of domestic violence, assault and aggravated burglary.
After remaining involved with the group through the 00s, Phillips officially rejoined in 2013 when Three 6 Mafia reunited as Da Mafia 6ix. The reunited group released an album (Watch What U Wish...) earlier this year, and was working on a return to rap scene prominence. "Me and Koop had just started writing his new album Da Devil's Playground 2... but we didn’t get a chance to record yet," Three 6 Mafia founder DJ Paul told Memphis' Commercial Appeal. "We had concerts coming up starting next month too. He also just got a home in Vegas that he was moving to on Tuesday, but never got to even see it in person."
DJ Paul added that Phillips “went in peace," saying of his friend and bandmate that "everyone who knew Koop knew he was very funny and the coolest guy ever. He will be missed. We made classics together that'll live on.”
Phillips' friends and colleagues took to social media to remember him -- see some of their tributes below:
Rest well Koopsta... it was one helluva journey pic.twitter.com/ES5CamQq1i
— Gangsta Boo (@GangstaBooQOM) October 9, 2015