Rapper Drakeo the Ruler was stabbed to death behind the scenes at the Los Angeles Music Festival

Drakeo, whose real name was Darrell Caldwell, was 28.

Scott Jawson, a publicist who worked with Drakeo, confirmed his death to CNN, but offered no further information.

“I can confirm his death but am in shock and cannot share further details at this time. I will release a statement from his family as soon as we are able to,” he said.

Police said a fight broke out shortly after 8:30 p.m. backstage at the Once Upon a Time in LA Festival, an event held near the Banc of California Stadium and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Exposition Park. The event featured Drakeo the Ruler along with hip-hop legends Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and 50 Cent. Drakeo the Ruler was scheduled to perform at 8:30 p.m.

“During the altercation, a man was seriously injured by a suspect who had an angular weapon. Officers from the California Highway Patrol (CHP), Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) responded on the spot. The victim was transported to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, “the CHP said in a statement.

The concert organizer Live Nation, who together with Snoop Dogg organized the event, decided to end the concert early after the event.

“There was a quarrel in the backstage lane. Out of respect for those involved and in coordination with local authorities, artists and organizers decided not to proceed with the remaining sets, so the festival ended an hour earlier,” a statement from Live Nation said. . .

The festival’s Instagram profile also announced the premature end to the event, but gave no reason.

“The Once Upon a Time in LA Fest ends early. All performances are now over. Please go to the nearest exit and head east on MLK,” the post said about the festival.

In a tweet, Jawson said Drakeo’s loss was “monumental”.

“No words can explain what Drakeo meant to me. Drakeo was the most original and innovative artist of his generation,” Jawson said, adding that Drakeo was “a king without a crown or throne.”

Jawson also compared Drakeo’s loss to two other slain rap icons, Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur.

CHP Public Information Officer Shanelle Gonzalez said investigation services were working on the incident, reviewing tapes and talking to witnesses. She also said that the authorities do not know what type of weapon was involved in the fight and that no one has been arrested.

Drakeo got its start in Los Angeles

Drakeo the Ruler entered the LA rap scene in 2015 with “I am Mr. Mosely” and released a number of mixtapes. He became known for his relaxed rap style and distinctive slang, such as in his song “Flu Flaming”.

His budding career was repeatedly limited by legal issues. He was arrested in 2017 on a gun charge and in 2018 for murder related to the shooting of a 24-year-old man, and he was detained in the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles County for several years.

As journalist Jeff Weiss has reported, prosecutors in the murder case tried to use Drakeo’s lyrics and music videos as evidence against him, claiming that his rap group constituted a criminal gang. A jury acquitted him of the 2019 murder charge, but the charges raised charges of criminal gang conspiracy and he agreed to a deal so he could be released from prison last year, he said in an interview with Weiss published on The Ringer.

“I’m a good example of what’s happening to 90 percent of black people in the system,” Drakeo said in the interview. “I was acquitted of almost every charge and I still had to beg a gang reinforcement to go home.”

These legal issues also played a central role in his music. Last year, while still behind bars, he and his producer JoogSZN released the album “Thank You for Using GTL” – a reference to Global Tel Link, the company that controls telephone services for imprisoned people – in which he rapped his verses on a crunchy prison phone line. Music review site Pitchfork said the album was a “remarkable feat: a sharp reprimand of the justice system and a unique performance for a rapper and his producer.”

Since leaving prison, he has released several mixtapes as well as his first studio album, “The Truth Hurts”, in February.

Rappers mourn Drakeo’s death

Rapper Drake, who collaborated with Drakeo the Ruler on the track “Talk To Me” earlier this year, wrote a memoir about his Instagram story. “Nah man, this s *** is not really what we do,” he wrote, adding that Drakeo “always picked up my spirit with your energy. RIP Drakeo.”
Rapper Snoop Dogg also wrote a tribute to the rapper on Twitter.

Snoop Dogg expressed his condolences to Drakeo’s family and relatives and called for an end to the violence in the hip hop world.

“I’m not having anything negative and as one of the many performers I was there only to spread positive moods to my city LA Last night I was in my locker room when I was informed of the incident and immediately chose to leave “Festival places. My prayers go out to all who are affected by tragedy. Beware, love each other and be safe. I PRAY FOR PEACE IN HIP HOP,” Snoop Dogg tweeted.

Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly included a tweet from rapper Biz Markie.

CNN’s Amir Vera contributed to this report.