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Rapper Dead After Stabbing at Exposition Park Concert
By City News Service
Published December 20, 2021

(AP Photo)

Los Angeles rapper Drakeo the Ruler has died after being stabbed outside a 12-hour concert at the Banc of California Stadium and Exposition Park, according to multiple media reports. Los Angeles officials have not yet confirmed the victim’s identity, or death, but one of the rapper’s representatives confirmed the information with Rolling Stone magazine.

At approximately 8:36 p.m. Saturday, a fight broke out behind the main stage of the Once Upon A Time in LA music festival, where during the altercation a man was severely injured by a suspect “wielding an edged weapon,” the California Highway Patrol said in a statement. CHP officers, as well as officers from the Los Angeles Police Department and personnel from the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to the incident, which is currently under the investigation by the CHP.

Drakeo, whose real name was Darrell Caldwell, was taken to a hospital in critical condition, the online magazine HipHopDX said. He turned 28 on Dec. 1. Overnight social media was filled with tributes to Caldwell, including one from fellow rapper Drake, who collaborated with him earlier this year on the song “Talk to Me.”

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“Nah man this s— isn’t right for real, wtf are we doing,” Drake wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of the two together. “Always picked my spirit up with your energy. RIP Drakeo.” Journalist Jeff Weiss shared his thoughts on Twitter.

“RIP Drakeo, the greatest West Coast artist of a generation, a legend who invented a new rap language of slippery cadences, nervous rhythms, and psychedelic slang, who beat life twice only to suffer the most tragic fate conceivable,” Weiss wrote, punctuated with a broken heart emoji. “The Ruler, once, always, and forever.”

The stabbing occurred at the Once Upon a Time in LA music festival, which was slated to run from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, but was shut down early by police and firefighters, Officer G. Todd of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Operations Center said. Video from the scene on social media showed several people arguing and fighting outside the concert just before the stabbing, but it was unclear what sparked the confrontation.

“There was an altercation in the roadway backstage,” a Live Nation spokesperson said in a statement to the Times. “Out of respect for those involved and in coordination with local authorities, artists and organizers (we) decided not to move forward with remaining sets so the festival was ended an hour early.” Artists including Al Green, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Ice Cube, the Isley Brothers and Cypress Hill were scheduled to perform.

Caldwell was a Los Angeles native who has released 10 mixtapes since 2015 and put out his first studio album earlier this year titled “I Am Mr. Mosely.” Critics have cited his unique flow and “oddly expressive, poetic word- choices.’ The Los Angeles Times called him “the most original West Coast stylist in decades.’

He was arrested in 2017 on a murder charge, but was acquitted, NPR reported. He was not released until November 2020, NPR said, because prosecutors argued his lyrics and music videos were proof that his rap group, Stinc Team, was a violent gang and Drakeo was its leader. The gang conspiracy case was resolved with a plea deal, leading to Caldwell’s release. The CHP’s Southern Division Investigation Services Unit urged anyone with information regarding the stabbing to call them at 323-644-9550.

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