Another festival, another night of violence and chaos. And unfortunately, another promising artist killed right in his hometown.
TMZ confirmed that rapper Drakeo the Ruler was stabbed at the Once Upon a Time in L.A. festival on Saturday night. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and died from his injuries shortly after.
Drakeo, whose legal name is Darrell Caldwell, was one of the dozens of artists scheduled to perform that night, including headliners Al Green, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, and YG. The 28-year-old was backstage when he was attacked by a group of people and reportedly stabbed in the neck during the altercation.
Paramedics, LAPD, and California Highway Patrol arrived at the scene at Banc of California Stadium in Exposition Park around 8:40 p.m. The event was canceled shortly after.
A spokesperson for Live Nation said in a statement: “There was an altercation in the roadway backstage. Out of respect for those involved and in coordination with local authorities, artists and organizers decided not to move forward with remaining sets so the festival was ended an hour early.”
Fellow artists have already begun responding to the tragic news on social media. Drake, who collaborated with Drakeo this year on “Talk To Me,” wrote on his Instagram stories, “Nah man this shit isn’t right for real wtf are we doing. Always picked my spirit up with your energy. RIP Drakeo.”
Joey Fatts expressed his sorrow and frustration with the violence rappers face in their hometowns and at festivals recently.
“Drakeo was killed while working. Was there for a performance. All these get out the streets tweets/leave your city tweets. Shut the fuck up. No reason why a knife should be able to be snuck into a music festival. Especially since the Travis Scott shit. Rip Drakeo hope his fam sue.”
Drakeo just returned home from L.A.’s Men’s Central Jail in November of 2020 after four years in jail. While incarcerated, he recorded Thank You For Using GTL, which Pitchfork called “likely the greatest rap album ever recorded from jail.” Drakeo was released with time served for the gun charge after he was acquitted of murder and attempted murder charges, beating two potential life sentences.
The L.A. native told Rolling Stone back in March that music and a second chance at freedom gave him a new sense of purpose.
“I just want people to know that I’m here to stay,” he continued. “I want them to take my music seriously and feel everything. I mean, a lot of people know about my story … but I want them to know I had to go through a lot to get the things that I got. I might talk a certain way or say certain things, but I’ve been through a lot in my life. I want them to feel what I went through. When I did the song for the homie [“Long Live the Greatest”], people told me, ‘I feel you,’ and, ‘I know what you was going through.’ I want them to know that I’m a real person, that we’re the same.”
R.I.P. Drakeo the Ruler. Our condolences to his family and loved ones.