Drakeo the Ruler death: West Coast rapper dies aged 28 after fatal stabbing at music festival

Reacting to the rapper’s death, Snoop Dogg tweeted: ‘I’m praying for hip-hop’

Maanya Sachdeva
Monday 20 December 2021 04:24
<p>Drakeo the Ruler was 28 years old when he was fatally stabbed in an altercation at a music festival </p>

Drakeo the Ruler was 28 years old when he was fatally stabbed in an altercation at a music festival

West Coast rapper Drakeo the Ruler was fatally stabbed in an altercation at a Los Angeles music festival on Saturday (18 December).

Twenty-eight-year-old Drakeo – real name Darrell Caldwell – was assaulted on Saturday night at the Once Upon a Time in LA concert, which was expected to feature several big ticket artists, including Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent and Ice Cube.

Organisers called off the festival at LA’s Exposition Park after the stabbing.

Scott Jawson, a publicist for Drakeo, confirmed his death on Sunday to several American media outlets, including The New York Times and Rolling Stone.

According to an initial news release from the California Highway Patrol shortly after the incident occurred, a fight broke out behind the festival main stage at around 8.30pm.

One man was severely injured by a suspect wielding an edged weapon, the California Highway Patrol added, without naming Drakeo.

The victim was taken to a hospital, where he later died.

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department told the Los Angeles Times that no arrests had been made as of Sunday (19 December).

Music journalists and fans delighted in Caldwell's unique sound and boundless creativity. His death highlighted the violent demise of other talented young Black musicians, including fellow LA rapper Nipsey Hussle in 2019 and the highly influential Tupac Shakur in 1996. Both men were shot.

Snoop Dogg extended condolences to Caldwell's family and friends, offering prayers to those affected by the tragedy.

He tweeted: “I'm praying for peace in hip hop.”

After news of his death broke, Drake remembered Drakeo as someone who always uplifted the Toronto-born singer’s spirit.

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Sharing pictures with Drakeo on his Instagram Stories, Drake wrote: “Nah man, this s*** isn’t right. For real, wtf are we doing? Always picked my spirit up with your energy. RIP Drakeo”

The singers collaborated on Drakeo’s track “Talk To Me” which was part of his album The Truth Hurts.

Drake’s tribute to Drakeo The Ruler

Born on 1 December 1993 in Los Angeles, Drakeo was raised by a single mother.

He has previously admitted he spent much of his youth in correctional facilities.

Pioneering a type of rap called “nervous music”, with songs that were cryptic and dark, Caldwell started releasing mixtapes in 2015 and this past February debuted his first album The Truth Hurts.

He has been called “the most original stylist on the West Coast” for his darkly comedic lyrics and deadpan delivery. His mixtape Thank You for Using GTL contains verses recorded at the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles.

Caldwell was released from jail in November 2020 after reaching a plea deal with LA County prosecutors who wanted to try him on conspiracy charges for the 2016 killing of a 24-year-old man.

He had earlier been acquitted of felony murder and attempted murder charges in the man’s death.

In an interview with The Ringer shortly after he was released from prison last year, Drakeo highlighted his aspirations were to get rich and be able to provide for his poverty-stricken family.

At the time, he said: “I’ve got to make sure that they’ll never have to want for nothing again.”

He grew up listening to acts like Hot Boyz, Boosie, Webbie and Dipset, but said it was battle rapper Cocky who influenced him to rap.

“He was so smooth and calm while rapping, despite saying some of the craziest stuff,” Drakeo told Billboard earlier this year. “It showed me you didn’t have to yell or be loud to get your point across.”

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