The American music industry may have lost some talented young upcoming artists who were murdered in their prime due to gun violence.
The artists who were mostly in their twenties were gunned down at times by close associates or unknown assailants.
According to moguldom.com, It seems like every month a hip-hop artist is murdered and the murders are usually over beefs.
Hip-hop artists die from murder more than artists in any other musical genre. Dianna Theadora Kenny, a professor of psychology and music at the University of Sydney, decided to take a look at the deaths of musical artists in the U.S. She examined the deaths of more than 13,000 pop musicians and found patterns. Her article “Music to die for: how genre affects popular musicians’ life expectancy,” was published by the Conversation in 2015.
More than 50 percent of hip-hop musicians in her sample were murdered, according to Kenny’s eye opening findings.
Murder accounted for 6 percent of deaths across the sample, but was the cause of 51 percent of deaths in hip-hop musicians and 51.5 percent of deaths for hip-hop musicians, Kenny wrote. “This could be due to these genres’ strong associations with drug-related crime and gang culture,” she said.
“It’s a cautionary tale to some degree,” Kenny said in a phone interview with The Washington Post. “People who go into rap music or hip hop or punk, they’re in a much more occupational-hazard profession compared to war. We don’t lose half our army in a battle.”
Remembering 10 hip-hop artists who were murdered in 2020.
1, Pop Smoke: On the verge of hip-hop stardom
The hip-hop world was excited about the rise of Pop Smoke. The Brooklyn, New York, artist made his mark locally and was looking to take on not just the U.S. but the international market. He helped introduce New York’s drill scene to the music industry.
That dream ended when Pop Smoke, born Bashar Barakah Jackson, was shot and killed in a Los Angeles home invasion on Feb. 19, 2020.
According to reports, four hooded men entered a home at 4:30 a.m. where Pop Smoke was in an alleged attempted robbery. After a brief struggle with the assailants, shots were fired. Pop Smoke suffered multiple gunshot wounds, BET reported.
Four men were arrested in connection with his murders. Three were charged with murder and one with attempted murder.
Pop Smoke’s debut album, “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon,” came out posthumously and debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200.
One of Pop Smoke’s alleged killers — Corey Walker, 19 — recently went on Instagram Live from behind bars, according to HotNewHipHop. Many people asked about his involvement in Pop Smoke’s murder. He ignored the questions.
2, King Von: The next generation
King Von was on the verge of breakout success when the Chicago hip-hop artist was shot and killed on Nov. 6 outside a club in Atlanta.
A Savannah man, 22-year-old Timothy Leeks, was charged with King Von’s murder.
In addition to Leeks’ arrest, Johnny Harris and Kevin Jones were also taken into custody. Two other men, 21-year-old Johnny Harris and 23-year-old Kevin Jones, have since been charged for their alleged roles in the shootout, Atlanta police spokesman Sgt. John Chafee told Atlanta Journal–Constitution. Jones faces one count of aggravated assault and Harris has been charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The shooting happened after the 26-year-old’s album release party for “Welcome to O’Block,” a nod to the area around 64th Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive on the South Side where King Von was raised.
In the early morning hours, an argument between two groups of men “escalated to gunfire” outside Monaco Hookah Lounge. King Von, whose real name is Dayvon Bennett, was taken to an area hospital, where he died, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
King Von posthumously charted four songs on Nov. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The songs mark his first ever to make the ranking. His track “Took Her to the O” from his mixtape “Levon James,” released in March, debuted the highest of his four Hot 100 entries at No. 47, Billboard reported.
3 FBG Duck: Hip-hop artist vs. gang life
Chicago hip-hop artist FBG Duck, 26 — legal name: Carlton Weekly — was killed in an upscale retail shopping district in broad daylight by four people who emerged from two cars and then fled.
The shooting occurred Aug. 4, 2020, in the Gold Coast area, a luxury and boutique shopping district near Chicago’s downtown, home to exclusive stores such as Prada, Christian Louboutin, and Dolce & Gabbana. FBG Duck was shopping for a birthday present for his son, according to his relatives.
Police believe the murder of FBG Duck was in retaliation for a recent threat video called “Dead Bitches” in which he dissed dead members of rival Black Disciples gang. FBG Duck was said to be a member of Tookaville faction of Gangster Disciples, The Daily Mail reported. “Dead Bitches,” got more than 21.1 million views on YouTube. Police believe the video might have made him a target.
The Gangster Disciples have been involved in a long-standing conflict with the Black Disciples on the South Side, the Chicago Tribune reported.
FBG Duck rose in prominence in 2018 with his hit single, “Slide,” after getting his start in Chicago’s drill music scene in 2013, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. A few years ago, FBG Duck signed with Sony Music Entertainment.
On the day he was killed, FBG Duck had been traveling through the city, livestreaming his whereabouts on social media. Around 4:30 p.m., as he stood near the entrance of a high-end clothing store, two cars pulled up, two men got out of each vehicle and started firing a hail of bullets. A woman waiting for FBG Duck in a parked black Mercedes-Benz was injured as well as a male who was with them, the BBC reported.
FBG Duck left behind four children, all under the age of 10. No suspects have been arrested in his murder.
4, Mo3: Dreams of hip-hop success
Dallas hip-hop artist Mo3 was gunned down on a Texas interstate on Nov. 1, 2020. He was 28.
He had just left a female companion’s house that morning and noticed he was being watched. It’s unclear who the person tailing him was, but according to sources close to the situation, he was followed in a vehicle from the home to a gas station, TMZ reported.
Mo3, whose real name is Melvin Noble, was gunned down just before noon on highway 1-35 and was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died from his injuries, according to TMZ.
Sources say the gunfire erupted after Mo3 stopped his car on the highway, got out and ran. He was chased by the gunman, on foot, for several minutes. The gunman shot Mo3 several times in the back and in the back of his head. The gunman also shot a bystander who was sitting in his car, who was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
No one has been arrested for the deadly shooting and police haven’t identified a suspect yet.
Mo3 reportedly survived a gunshot to the head in December 2019, BET reported.
Mo3 is best known for his 2019 collaboration with Boosie Badazz, “Errybody (Remix).” He released three albums and dropped new music earlier in 2020.
5, Huey: ‘He enjoyed life’
“Pop, Lock & Drop It” hip-hop artist Huey was killed in a double shooting near St. Louis on June 25, 2020. The shooting took place in Kinloch, about 15 miles north of St. Louis, CNN reported.
The 32-year-old artist — whose real name is Lawrence Franks, Jr. — was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival at the hospital.
Huey was best known for his 2007 hit “Pop, Lock & Drop It,” which was released in 2007 and spent 23 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 6.
“He enjoyed life,” Franks’ first manager, Enrico Washington, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Just happy about life…You’re talking about a young man who still had a lot of life to live.”
Franks was still earning royalties off his hit single and was interested in building apartments and housing in St. Louis, according to Washington.
So far, there have been no arrests in his death.
6, Tre Koast: On the comeup
Tre Koast (real name Luc Treadwell) was killed in a shooting while parked on his family’s street in North Phoenix, Ariz. on Jan. 17, 2020, Fox 10 reported. The up-and-coming 21-year-old hip-hop artist’s body was found inside his Dodge Charger, which was “riddled with bullets.”
An SUV was seen pursuing the artist’s car on a surveillance video prior to the shooting, the Nicki Swift website reported. According to the police, “someone (fired) between 20 and 30 rounds” inside the vehicle.
Tre Koast released three lead singles in 2019: “This Year,” “Safe Around,” and “Got It in Send It Out.”
In April, Udith Karanath Joby was arrested in the case and charged with first-degree murder, ABC 15 Arizona reported.
7, Dee Dave: The wrong man
Hip-hop artist Dee Dave was fatally shot outside an apartment building in Baltimore, Md. on Jan. 24, 2020, The Baltimore Sun reported. He was 29.
His most recent music release was “No More Humble” in December 2019.
Dee Dave, who’s real name was David Leroy King Jr., is survived by his girlfriend and 10-year-old son, Nicki Swift reported.
Calvin Krasheen Fogg, 27, has been arrested in his death. Fogg was charged with first degree murder and first degree attempted murder in the shooting of a second man during the incident, WMAR 2 News reported.
Police said Dee Dave died in case of mistaken identity. The second man injured at the scene was the actual target. That man had dated a woman who later dated and had a child with Fogg, according to charging documents. Fogg and the other man “have had a continuing contentious relationship,” The Baltimore Sun reported.
8, Big Booda: Murder mystery
Washington, D.C. hip-hop artist Big Booda (real name Donelle Hodges) was shot and killed while sitting in a vehicle on Feb. 1, 2020, Fox 5 reported. He later died at a nearby hospital.
The artist had an impressive “local following.” Big Booda’s death came shortly after his fourth mixtape, “Slide 2,” dropped in late 2019, Nicki Swift reported.
There have been no arrests.
9, KJ Balla: Brooklyn hip-hop hopeful
Brooklyn, New York hip-hop artist KJ Balla (real name Kennedy Joseph Noel) was shot in the chest in the East New York neighbourhood on May 22, 2020, the New York Daily News reported.
KJ Balla, 23, was best known for his songs “Switch the Game,” “Strangers,” and “Cookin’ Up.” His latest single, “Back To Back,” was released just a month before his death.
He was also a co-founder of From Nothing Records.
A friend of KJ Balla took part in several shootings this year — and was the wheelman in the June killing of a person-of-interest in the artist’s murder, federal prosecutors said.
Although Anthony Williams, 21, was not charged in the June 19 drive-by killing of Hassan Brown, the feds said he drove the car that carried Brown’s killer to the shooting scene, the New York Daily News reported.
It was not clear if Brown had been involved in the killing of KJ Balla.
Williams was charged with being a felon in possession of ammunition in connection with an incident on June 17, two days before Brown’s death.
In that case, two men were shot and both survived.
Weeks earlier on May 23, Williams took part in yet another shooting in which he and another man went directly from a memorial gathering for KJ Balla to a local store where they opened fire on a group of men standing outside, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors declined to confirm whether or not the May 23 shooting was a retaliatory attack to avenge KJ Balla’s killing on May 22, the day before.
KJ Balla and Williams were both members of From Nothing, a local gang, according to police.
10, Nick Blixky: Rising hip-hop star
Another Brooklyn hip-hop artist lost his life in 2020. Nick Blixky, real name Nickalus Thompson, was shot and killed outside a building near Prospect Park on May 10, the NYPD told NBC News. He was 21.
Blixky was shot in the torso and buttocks and was found “unconscious and unresponsive” by emergency personnel, CNN reported.
The rising star had a single titled “Drive The Boat” with more than 5 million views on YouTube. Just hours before his death, Blixky announced on Instagram that his first mixtape, “Different Timin” was set to be released. “JUNE 3RD!! I’m dropping my first Tape ever,” he wrote, captioning the cover of the mixtape cover. “LOCK IN THE DATE. DIFFERENT TIMIN.”
In June, police announced there was a suspect in the case. They identified Caliph Glean, 28, as the likely gunman. He previously served a stint in prison for attempted murder.
“There is probable cause to believe that the individual who shot and killed Thompson is Glean,” NYPD said in filed court documents, the New York Daily News reported.
Police named Glean based on extensive video surveillance recovered from near the scene, which shows the alleged shooter wearing a blue bandana, a hoodie with a pattern on it, bronze Nike Foamposite shoes and a big gold ring on his left-hand ring finger, according to the feds.
“But the most damning detail was the globe tattoo visible on the shooter’s left arm. That tat matches photos and descriptions of Glean, who has been charged with illegal possession of ammunition in the case,” The News reported. The nine-millimeter Luger caliber ammunition that Glean is accused of possessing matches the shell casings found at the scene of Blixky’s death, investigators said.
Video footage captured the last moments of Blixky’s life.
“Glean approached Thompson and briefly touched hands with Thompson. Glean backed up a few steps, pulled out a firearm, and shot at Thompson multiple times,” according to the complaint.
Glean had been out on parole after serving more than four years on an attempted murder conviction.