The influential LA rapper Drakeo the Ruler has died at age 28. The Los Angeles Times reports that Drakeo, real name Darrell Caldwell, was stabbed on Saturday night at the Once Upon a Time in LA Festival at the Banc of California Stadium in Exposition Park, where he was scheduled to perform. Although authorities did not confirm the identity of the victim, a person with direct knowledge of the incident told the publication that it was Drakeo the Ruler. His death was confirmed by journalist Jeff Weiss, who heavily chronicled the rapper’s career.
Raised in South Central Los Angeles neighborhood by a single mother, Drakeo began shaping his distinctive style with help from his brother, who raps as Ralfy the Plug. In 2015, he caught the attention of DJ Mustard, who remixed his song ‘Mr. Get Dough’ and hosted his breakout mixtape I Am Mr. Mosely. Drakeo went on to start his own Stinc Team label and released multiple projects over the years, including a sequel to I Am Mr. Mosely and 2016’s Cold Devil, which featured the popular tracks ‘Impatient Freestyle’ and ‘Flu Flamming’.
In 2017, he was arrested along with members of his Stinc Team collective on a slew of charges ranging from gun possession to conspiracy to commit murder. He was acquitted in 2019 but soon faced a second trial due to a subsequent charge of gang conspiracy and shooting from a motor vehicle. While incarcerated, he recorded his 2020 project Thank You for Using GTL over the jailhouse phone. After striking a plea deal, Drakeo was released in November 2020 and issued his official debut album, The Truth Hurts, in February 2021. His most recent project, So Cold I Do Em 2, arrived less than two weeks ago.