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The Assassination of Drakeo the Ruler



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 4 days ago '15        #1
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The a*sassination of Drakeo the Ruler
 

 
Exposition Park is located at the northern end of South Central, the point where the city starts to be carved up into block-by-block fiefdoms. Wander a few miles in any direction and you might encroach on turf claimed by Bloods, Crips, Treces, Varrio Nueva Estrada, 18th Street, Hoover Criminals, MS-13, or one of the deputy gangs in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, currently under investigation by the state of California.

On the cold Saturday evening of December 18, the 160-acre grounds are the site of a one-day music festival called Once Upon A Time in L.A., quite possibly the best (and likely the most expensive) concert bill ever booked within city limits. Tens of thousands gather in the shadows of the Memorial Coliseum, paying a minimum of $160 plus surcharges to see a lineup that blends the last 50 years of Southern California soundtracks: vintage lowrider soul (the Isley Brothers), ’90s G-Funk (Snoop Dogg), new millennium rap (YG), and that genre’s nascent next generation, much of which is creatively in debt to the West Coast’s most original stylist in a quarter-century, Drakeo the Ruler.

It had been a little over a year since the 28-year-old South Central rapper walked free from the Compton courthouse, swapping a black jail jumpsuit for designer clothes, dazzling jewelry, and blue-faced hundreds, having beaten first-degree murder charges that carried a possible life sentence. Drakeo and I first became close during this final, nearly three-year incarceration. At first, he kept calling in the hopes that I would tell the world about his wrongful persecution. But over hundreds of hours on the phone, the working relationship evolved into a deep friendship. Journalistic responsibilities became secondary to human ones. I’d never witnessed a miscarriage of justice so grave, so intimately.

Once Upon a Time in L.A. is slated to be Drakeo’s second official performance in L.A. since being released in November 2020. It’s the kind of dream he ritually imagined during those endless carceral midnights of the soul: a hometown show before adoring fans, a $50,000 payday, and the chance to prove that he is the best rapper in his city.

While waiting for Drakeo to go on, I watch Al Green sing about love and happiness. He clutches a red rose like a talisman, his teardrops-from-heaven falsetto fading in and out, weathered from stress and the slanders of time. It’s about 8:30 when Drakeo’s friend and producer Joog SZN tells me that it’s time to meet Drakeo and his younger brother, Ralfy the Plug, an innovative rapper in his own right.

There are two ways to get backstage. The first is an entrance within the festival itself, behind a flimsy chain-link fence manned by a lone security guard. The other is through a checkpoint just off Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., where the organizers have created a production road and parking lot exclusively for the artists. Compared to the raucous festival grounds, the all-access grounds are sleepy. Most acts are 40-plus; one can a*sume they’re there for the check, not to socialize.
image

If I want to watch the show from the side of the G-Funk stage, where only Drakeo’s personal guests are allowed, we need to move as a unit. Drakeo has only been allotted two parking passes and 15 all-access wristbands, so the entourage is smaller than usual. Six of us, including Joog and his cousin, Ron-Ron the Producer, walk toward Drakeo’s midnight $400,000 Rolls-Royce Dawn, all of us laughing and joking. It’s time for him to perform.

Lanky lamp poles splash pools of sodium light onto our heads, but large stretches in this lunar plane of asphalt remain unlit. You can see what’s right in front of you, but beyond lies glinting metal and lurking shadows. In retrospect, the lapses of organizational judgement seem flagrant. But you don’t expect to witness a murder while Al Green croons “Tired of Being Alone.”

Drakeo is accompanied by his half-dozen friends and a lone security guard. His eyes, glowing through a designer balaclava, betray genuine excitement. A half-million in ice clinks around his neck. We exchange greetings and move toward the golf cart that is supposed to be waiting to escort us across the grounds.

Then things go abruptly sideways. An unseen person shouts: “fu*k the Stinc Team, fu*k Drakeo!” Without hesitating, Drakeo and Ralfy walk toward the challengers. Six guys wearing ski masks and crimson hoodies square up in a f*ghter’s stance. A brawl begins.

I figure it’s about to turn into a shootout. In the middle of his murder investigation, Drakeo once rapped, prodding detectives, “Judging by my case files, I’m obsessed with rifles”; the first song he recorded out of jail was “f*ghts Don’t Matter,” which had a hook about firing 33 shots instead of using fists. Even if his prior felonies barred him from legally possessing guns, the risks that came with being a flashy L.A. street rapper meant that he’d always rather be tried by 12 than carried by six. What I didn’t know is that he and his entourage—including his licensed and bonded security guard—had been meticulously searched and stripped of weapons before entering.

After ducking from the presumptive line of fire, I watch the mayhem from roughly 20 feet away. Flurries of punches are thrown. It seems to be a fair f*ght. Out in front, Drakeo unleashes jabs and uppercuts. Ralfy does the same, plus one of the Bruce Lee kicks he raps about. Several minutes pass and festival security are nowhere to be found. I’ve seen hundreds of police officers on the grounds tonight, but they’re suddenly invisible. But even without intervention, the squabble ends quickly. Drakeo and the Stinc Team turn and continue toward the stage. For a moment, everything is calm.
image

Calm has been a foreign concept in Los Angeles lately. It may not be the ’90s, when the city regularly eclipsed 1,500 murders a year, but homicide rates are up over 50 percent since 2019. In 2021, nearly 400 people were k*lled, a 15-year high. Another 1,400 survived shootings. It’s not just gangs: broader society is suffering from an excess of guns and the despairing sense that nothing matters. “L.A. is not safe,” goes the hook of a popular local rap song released last year. “L.A. is for the gangs.”

The hip-hop world is hardly immune. In February 2020, Brooklyn rapper Pop Smoke, only 20 but already King of New York, was murdered in a home invasion at the Hollywood Hills mansion he was renting from one of the Real Housewives. (Five alleged Hoover Criminals await trial; the youngest is 15.) A year before that, Nipsey Hussle was gunned down in the parking lot of his Marathon clothing store at Crenshaw and Slauson (a reported member of Nipsey’s own Rolling ’60s set has been charged). In the last several months, the rappers Nfant, Slim 400, and Earl Swavey, all artists of civic renown, were shot dead independently of one another. No arrests have been made in the k*llings, which many believe are gang related.

Over the last three decades, gangsta rap has become an integral part of L.A.’s sonic fabric. Drakeo grew up steeped in this tradition, yet self-consciously apart from it. Like Wu-Tang, E-40, and MF Doom, he’d conceived an entirely new rap language, at once flamboyantly absurd and sniper precise, what he called “lingo bingo.” To listen to Drake was to decipher a shadowland hieroglyphics of antique slang and diabolical taunts—to inhabit a tragicomic cartoon realism. He may have rapped about guns, drugs, and violence, but he did so with whimsy and literary flair. Drakeo renamed the extended clips on his rifles after Martin characters and called his rivals “Shirleys” (after Shirley Temple) or “Silly Billys.” Christening himself “the foreign whip crasher,” he alternated between Simpsons jokes and stories of Neiman Marcus shopping sprees, or from his lucrative day job as king of the flockers (local slang for breaking and entering).

Drakeo was obsessed with originality right down to the Stinc Team’s greeting—a linking of pinky fingers. Being the first to rock a line of designer clothes or purchase the newest model of imported luxury cars was a given. His idiolect was regular but not normal; his cadences and flows transformative. Drakeo oozed like mud across a codeine river, scraping counterclockwise against sinister percussion. He called it “nervous music,” describing it to me as a soundtrack for driving around South Central in a $100,000 sedan, trailed by shooters who might try to k*ll you at any given red light. His arrival made the previous models—the lingering hangover of G-Funk, the limber bounce of ratchet music, the khakis, Chucks, and white tees—feel obsolete. Decades earlier, Snoop Dogg liberated the West from the classical strictures and foundational rhythms of East Coast rap. Now Drakeo emerged to liberate the West Coast from the West itself. A new strain of California noir had arrived that would be imitated by street rappers from San Diego to Sacramento. In L.A, Drakeo swiftly became the people’s champ to teenagers and 20-somethings south of Pico.

I first met him in the crumbling Men’s Central Jail, just southeast of Chinatown. Shortly after publishing a rave review about his music, I’d received an invite to visit him as he awaited trial on firearms possession charges. It was late January 2017. A few weeks earlier, the sheriff’s department had raided his rented condo near LAX, hoping to find the murder weapons used in a December 2016 shooting in Carson. No dirty guns were found, but they turned up plenty of clean ones and arrested everyone on the premises, including Drakeo’s friends, brother, mother, and teenage sister.

When I spoke to him through the jail phone and six-inch-thick glass, he was still Inmate 487213, but what I most remember from that first conversation is how much he laughed. Over the years, our conversations ranged from outrage about what the judge deemed admissible at trial to his appreciation of FX’s The People Versus O.J. Simpson. For all the lyrical violence and larceny, the toughness inherent to his musical persona, there was a fundamental sweetness to him. He could be goofy and shy, rolling his eyes and raising his eyebrows like a silent film comic. For an artist so outspoken in his work, he could be oddly sheepish and reticent in person. That is, unless you caught him ranting about the things he hated: clones imitating his sartorial or rap style, the way the homicide detectives tormenting him looked like Chief Wiggum and Mr. Burns, or how the lobster pizza at Berri’s doesn’t contain real lobster.

He read the encyclopedia as a child, borrowing his alias not from Drake or the semi-automatic Draco pistol, but from the seventh-century Athenian lawgiver known for handing down a set of unusually harsh—“draconian”—dictates. Drakeo was especially amused by the legislator’s purported demise: he suffocated to death under the cloaks and hats showered on him by throngs of admirers.
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visit this link https://www.lamag.com/cul .. keo-the-ruler/
+62   



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209 comments
 

 4 days ago '21        #2
Wadezilla604 
Props total: 338 338  Slaps total: 58 58
Never heard one track from this dude but read the whole damn thing and damn that is a good article. Good post.
+99   

 4 days ago '21        #3
Keithf87 
Props total: 14040 14 K  Slaps total: 762 762
Great write up for a GOAT.
+17   

 4 days ago '15        #4
KingKris14 
Props total: 1770 1 K  Slaps total: 383 383
"Later, a private investigator who volunteers his services to Drakeo’s family tells them that after reviewing the footage, he counts 113 people taking on seven."

Damn thats crazy
+90   

 4 days ago '13        #5
vandalizm 
Props total: 16042 16 K  Slaps total: 1998 1 K
Over the last three decades, gangsta rap has become an integral part of L.A.’s sonic fabric. Drakeo grew up steeped in this tradition, yet self-consciously apart from it. Like Wu-Tang, E-40, and MF Doom, he’d conceived an entirely new rap language, at once flamboyantly absurd and sniper precise, what he called “lingo bingo.” To listen to Drake was to decipher a shadowland hieroglyphics of antique slang and diabolical taunts—to inhabit a tragicomic cartoon realism. He may have rapped about guns, drugs, and violence, but he did so with whimsy and literary flair. Drakeo renamed the extended clips on his rifles after Martin characters and called his rivals “Shirleys” (after Shirley Temple) or “Silly Billys.” Christening himself “the foreign whip crasher,” he alternated between Simpsons jokes and stories of Neiman Marcus shopping sprees, or from his lucrative day job as king of the flockers (local slang for breaking and entering).

This site is more gossip vs actual love of rap music but this writeup is hella good.

In that list of comparisons they left out what in my opinion is the most prominent - Mac Dre.


Last edited by vandalizm; 01-13-2022 at 05:31 PM..
+38   

 4 days ago '13        #6
vandalizm 
Props total: 16042 16 K  Slaps total: 1998 1 K
 KingKris14 said
"Later, a private investigator who volunteers his services to Drakeo’s family tells them that after reviewing the footage, he counts 113 people taking on seven."

Damn thats crazy
My best friend of 30 years runs video for EDC which is part of Live Nation, who threw this event.

At all these festivals there are drones in the sky recording everything.

They have this whole situation recorded on video and are piecing together all this sh*t from all the other videos on site. They have the play by play all on video.

RIP to Top 3 LA GOAT


Last edited by vandalizm; 01-13-2022 at 05:44 PM..
+57   

Top 10 most slapped recently  4 days ago '17        #7
Iduzdis  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
Props total: 16008 16 K  Slaps total: 3507 3 K
Heros get a*sassinated.

Menaces and vermins get exterminated.
+23   

 4 days ago '04        #8
Skilllz 
Props total: 27975 27 K  Slaps total: 2742 2 K
Did they catch dude who did it?

sh*t it’s been weeks
+7   

 4 days ago '19        #9
zzxxccvvbb 
Props total: 33047 33 K  Slaps total: 4141 4 K
Good post, but I still hate propping your sh*t
-4   

 4 days ago '17        #10
becoolhomie2  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x14
Props total: 15821 15 K  Slaps total: 5330 5 K
Oh well
+2   

 4 days ago '17        #11
GodBody  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x55
Props total: 60385 60 K  Slaps total: 7932 7 K
“Assassination”, “Goat”? We just really give away every major title away now huh?

RIP to the young man but you n*ggas really need to stop trying to rewrite history every single time a rapper dies.

I’ll go one step further, why isn’t there articles on how this gangster sh*t is the worst thing to ever happen to Hip Hop and The Black Community in recent memory. Where’s the article calling these “artists”, labels and media to be held accountable for promoting this garbage to the world?

Malcom. X was a*sassinated, MLK was a*sassinated, Fred Hampton was a*sassinated! These rapppers are dying the way they lived. When do we have that conversation?

You have old a**holes like J Prince, Big U, 50 Cent, Wack 100, Jim Jones, Fat Joe, Gillie, Queenzflip, Mysonne, Maino and all the rest of these n*ggas promoting this lifestyle to kids while acting as though being a “square” makes you less of a man than being a “real street n*gga”.

2pac, Nipsey, Young Dolph, all the way down to this n*gga would all be alive today if they were not involved in that bull sh*t gang sh*t. None of these n*ggas in my opinion are Martyrs. They knew exactly what the fu*k they were doing and the type of energy they were putting out into the world.

Edit: Shoutout to the degenerates slapping this comment without having the balls to challenge what I’m saying.

If you believe I’m wrong and this Gangster sh*t is great for the community then state your case like a man instead of slapping and running like a bi*ch.

Y’all real street n*ggas right? Stand on your square and defend against what I’m saying. I bet none of you cowards can’t.


Last edited by GodBody; 01-14-2022 at 04:35 PM..
+62   

 4 days ago '17        #12
ThaFrozenOne 
Props total: 9934 9 K  Slaps total: 2724 2 K
Rest up to one of the hardest to ever do it smh
+8   

 4 days ago '11        #13
Broseph Stalin  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x6
Props total: 53523 53 K  Slaps total: 4970 4 K
wow so snoop had Al Green and the Isley bros out there. The way this story came out I thought this was some hood concert in a bad neighborhood gone wrong
+17   

 4 days ago '11        #14
eucalyptus 
Props total: 8615 8 K  Slaps total: 1204 1 K
RIP THE RULER!

fu*k YG slob a*s n*gga
+8   

 4 days ago '18        #15
freethrow 
Props total: 6727 6 K  Slaps total: 1592 1 K
BRO...the n*gga incited it...how tf is this an a*sasination...stop making these n*ggas look like martyrs...he did it to his fu*king self!

This is whats wrong with our community...
+22   

 4 days ago '06        #16
jccd5. 
Props total: 3878 3 K  Slaps total: 387 387
Article is well written and a good read but

Assassination and Goat don't apply here
+23   

 4 days ago '20        #17
Gen Anti Fruit  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x15
Props total: 90590 90 K  Slaps total: 4536 4 K
 KingKris14 said
"Later, a private investigator who volunteers his services to Drakeo’s family tells them that after reviewing the footage, he counts 113 people taking on seven."

Damn thats crazy
Damn. Me and my boy was with his girl and got jumped by like 15 dudes.

I can’t even imagine 115 people. They would be punching each other and sh*t.

Only so many people can fit in a stomp out circle. That sh*ts crazy if true. R.I.P
+11   

 4 days ago '06        #18
jccd5. 
Props total: 3878 3 K  Slaps total: 387 387
 Keithf87 said
Great write up for a GOAT.
Why do you feel this way
+3   

 4 days ago '11        #19
eliwood 
Props total: 28923 28 K  Slaps total: 1713 1 K
 Wadezilla604 said
Never heard one track from this dude but read the whole damn thing and damn that is a good article. Good post.

+17   

 4 days ago '10        #20
MANNYSOSA  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
Props total: 12828 12 K  Slaps total: 981 981
Assassinated?? All respect but this brother was stabbed. Patrice Lamumba was a*sassinated
+25   

 4 days ago '06        #21
Special Edd  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
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 freethrow said
BRO...the n*gga incited it...how tf is this an a*sasination...stop making these n*ggas look like martyrs...he did it to his fu*king self!

This is whats wrong with our community...
Lmao what you mean ever gang banger k*lled was a Saint.
+1   

 4 days ago '05        #22
A~team 
Props total: 13969 13 K  Slaps total: 2502 2 K
 KingKris14 said
"Later, a private investigator who volunteers his services to Drakeo’s family tells them that after reviewing the footage, he counts 113 people taking on seven."

Damn thats crazy
What in the entire fu*k...

I can see why some beef never die and carry on to generation im angry as fu*k and i have nothing to do with none of those n*ggas.
+2   

 4 days ago '12        #23
Binds 
Props total: 11531 11 K  Slaps total: 900 900
113?????? I know LA politics is different but dammmmnnn game is the game tho rip the ruler
+5   

 4 days ago '14        #24
215Philly  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x10
Props total: 92182 92 K  Slaps total: 30870 30 K
Out of all the rapper deaths people seem to care about this the least.

Quando and Gotti can’t catch a break, YG got a free pass
+19   

 4 days ago '20        #25
SoufPawEd 
Props total: 1464 1 K  Slaps total: 346 346
It’s a sad continuous cycle. We as blacks keep playing the wrong game. Instead of death jail and poverty we should all be playing the game of wealth. The real gangsters are on Wall Street and have political power
+6   



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