The mother of a 34-year-old rapper who was slain in Los Angeles seven months ago, is still grieving, she said, even as two suspects have been arrested and subsequently released. Kim Maxwell Harris, 63, lost her son Iyayi Amayo, a local talent in San Luis Obispo known as Da Cali Kid, November 9 after what police concluded was some type of altercation left him with a fatal stab wound. She and her family hope to keep Iyayi’s memory alive through his music and through the type of love he spread when he was alive.
“Iyayi was so kind,” Maxwell Harris told the Sentinel recently.
“His name means faith [in Nigerian].”
The local performer attended school in the Westchester and Windsor Hills areas of Los Angeles before finishing high school in San Luis. There, he joined a rap group called Danjarus Syndicate, before forming Public Defendaz in 2006. His younger brother Victor Pulido remembered the glory days.
“When he did his first show, he brought me on the stage with him,” Pulido told the L.A. Times last year.
Pulido is working on some of Iyayi’s final music, which is included on a posthumous EP, L805 (805 being the San Luis Obispo area code, where Iyayi enjoyed most of his fame). The rapper has opened for major acts like Ice Cube, E40, Slick Rick and Two Chainz.
“If they came to the coast, we were rocking their shows,” fellow rapper and group member Andre Baker told the Times.
“On stage, Amayo’s energy was explosive. Amayo was always moving and interacting with fans. There was not a stale moment.”
According to news reports, Iyayi was stabbed in the wee hours of the morning November 9, 2017 on West 42nd Street and Walton Avenue in Vermont Square.
Detectives think Amayo, 34, was involved in a dispute with other people before he was killed. At the time they said they were focusing on several people but were and still are looking for additional witnesses, said Los Angeles Police Det. Chris Barling.
Other fellow band members described Iyayi’s passion for music as “infectious.”
Studio sessions would last until dawn, said Cassidy Wright.
“He was like a jazz artist, he’d just start vibing out to whatever ideas or instrumentals were thrown out. He delivered a fly message that connected with the people.
He was very open minded and had an infectious happiness about him,” Wright told the Times.
Maxwell Harris remains proud of her son’s fame and the impact he had on all those who knew him.
“More than 200 people attended his funeral,” she told the Sentinel.
“To see that was just… being with Iyayi was like being with a movie star.”
Maxwell Harris goes to group therapy now to get her through, she said.
“I’m a part of Mothers of Murdered Children, a club I never wanted to join,” she told the Sentinel.
“I’m going to miss him,” said friend Oris Martin III said. “I just hope they find the person who left him out in the world so cold.”