Stabbing, Lies, and a Twisted Detective: Inside the Murder Trial of Drakeo the Ruler (2023)

Stabbing, Lies, and a Twisted Detective: Inside the Drakeo the Ruler Murder Trial

The South Central rapper faces life in prison. After a month before a court in Los Angeles, after numerous testimonies and his own song lyrics used against him, his fate remains unclear.

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Stabbing, Lies, and a Twisted Detective: Inside the Murder Trial of Drakeo the Ruler (1) Dewanne Buckmire

"Judging by my case records, I'm obsessed with guns." —Drakeo the Ruler, "Ion Rap Meat"


“From the heart of hell I stab you; For love of hate I spit my last breath on you. – Ahab, Moby Dick

You can see the Compton Courthouse from afar. It's a 12-story dirty white coffin that towers over low-rise apartments, fast-food malls, one-room churches, and rutted avenues that stretch in every direction. In the 1980s, Bloods and Crips with a metallic sense of revenge would often sneak onto the square late at night and fire shot after shot into the windows. Now they're all bulletproof.


Until the N.W.A. losestraight out of comptonthis oxygen-free tomb was nicknamed "Fort Compton". It coincided with a story circulating at the time about a bailiff interrupting proceedings to ask bystanders in the courtroom if any of them were armed. Surprised, nobody moved; until a man pulled out a giant knife, which the officer marked. He was followed by all the other participants who distributed 70 knives, scissors and razors. After that, security measures were tightened.

This martial attachment is the most logical reason for the murder trial of South Central rappers Drakeo the Ruler (Darrell Caldwell), his brother Ralfy the Plug (Devante Caldwell, who is not even charged with murder but is mysteriously working on the case ). , and his Team Stinc brothers, Kellz (Mikell Buchanan), would stay here. Neither the accused nor the deceased are from Hub City. The murder itself was committed in an industrial area of ​​Carson. But there's an uncomfortable irony in the procedures conducted in this spiritual birthplace of gangsta rap; Rarely, if ever, has the subgenre been tried in such a brazen and damaging manner. Where else would you try to crucify LA's best rap crew since TDE or possibly even Death Row and Ruthless, across from Compton High where Eazy E dropped out and where Dr. recently donated $10 million to build a performing arts complex?

This is not the exact Compton of semi-automatic lore. The picket fence suburb that produced Dodger's great Duke Snider was made famous by Fuck tha Police, DJ Quik and Compton's Most Wanted, but it's now nearly two-thirds Latino. Early one morning, outside the courthouse, two Mexican cowboys in 10-gallon sombreros ride stallions excreting huge lumps of manure that stink in the late spring heat. The original Louis Burger, immortalized in wax by Kendrick, sits across from an independent cafe owned by third-wave blacks, where they roast the beans in the background. A giant photo in the Shoe Palace window doesn't show the world's most dangerous group, but the actors who played them in the $200 million biopic. But Compton is still like Compton. Two Wednesdays ago someone was stabbed outside the courthouse. Over the past weekend, three had been murdered in neighboring blocks.


Fort Compton shares a deserted plaza with Compton City Hall and the City Library, where old gangsters and homeless 2Pac and Nipsey jump from boom boxes. A Lonely Bench features sun-damaged tributes to Thurgood Marshall and MLK Jr., Caesar Chavez and Robert Kennedy. Nearby, a middle-aged black man asks passers-by, "Do you need prayer?" On another corner, two Jehovah's Witnesses are gently recruiting under a sign that reads "Life Is Worth Living."

Judges and juries worshiping mosaics adorn the pillars that support this brutalist tower. They are accompanied by bronze signs that emphasize the sober seriousness of American criminal justice. But these lofty ideals seem to have been withered, if not defeated, by half a century of mass incarceration, racially biased penalties, and crumbling infrastructure. The courtroom exudes such a somber atmosphere that if you get off on the wrong floor, it seems someone will tie you to a radiator and force you to undergo electroshock treatment and a partial lobotomy.

However, if you descend to the tenth floor, you will enter Judge Laura Walton's crucible. They examine you three times before you can enter. Cell phones are not allowed. No reading, no napping. Without water. When I ask why, they explain that water bottles can be used as a projectile weapon, presumably to melt down prosecutors. This is where the Stinc team has been dragged into court every morning and night for the past month, forced to watch in silence as their texts and videos were turned into state evidence. Drakeo investigates gang and conspiracy laws designed to bring down the mob and highly organized street gangs, and faces life in prison for one murder and two attempted murders nobody says he committed. The rest of Stinc's team remains incarcerated in Men's Central Jail and Wayside Prison awaiting trial on a range of charges ranging from business theft to illegal gun possession to credit card fraud. Most crimes are minor, but gang extensions to the California Penal Code threaten the team with draconian penalties.


If you're looking for a test case to examine the toxic plaque gnawing at America's criminal justice system, you might as well start here, where gangsta rap began, where sadistic detectives and overzealous prosecutors conspire to demonize street art. into something deeply sinister: a prison plan to ensure the Broken Wheel never stops.


Man down I scream Mayday

It is later described as an ambush. Bullets ring out from behind from two different angles, turning a narrow, dimly lit concrete driveway into a death trap. About 160 revelers frantically pour out of the show, scattering in all directions. Foreign cars speed by and sing along Broadway. Topless women flee on foot, others can be seen in chaste boudoir attire. Not everyone is quite sure how a "Naughty or Nice Pajama Jam" turned into a bloodbath in a drab Carson camp neighborhood. The girls attended for free before 10pm. It wasn't midnight yet; December 10, 2016.

No revelers talk to the police. Nobody can identify the shooters. The key pieces of evidence are cartridges from a Glock .40 pistol and a .38 revolver, which investigators find at the scene. There is low light surveillance video of cars in the parking lot and two groups of men walking side by side. The faces cannot be identified. The actual murder is not caught on tape.

Before dawn, a semblance of fact began to form. A man is pronounced dead on arrival at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center: Davion Gregory, 24, a known Inglewood Family Blood nicknamed Red Bull. Five gunshots pierce his vitals as he is about to enter the party. A GoFundMe page later described him as a "loving father, brother, uncle, son, nephew, cousin, grandson and friend. Those who knew Davion knew his smile and laugh could liven up an entire room." Raise $16,495 from a $20,000 goal.


Two others are injured: Travis Harvey-Broome, a former Florida A&M wide receiver who briefly played in the NFL for the Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants, and Kwentin Polk, a defensive end for Missouri Western State. Harvey knew Gregory from Pop Warner Football but hadn't seen him in years. They met by chance in the parking lot just before the shooting started. Neither the soccer players nor the three friends they arrived with belonged to any gang. His injuries are relatively minor.

At the hospital, Harvey and Polk receive an unsolicited visit from two Los Angeles County Sheriff's detectives named Francis Hardiman and Richard Biddle. While they are high on painkillers and tending to his injuries, Hardiman secretly records their conversation for more information. Harvey describes seeing a "fair-skinned black man with pigtails or dreadlocks" standing in the parking lot. There is a vague memory of two suspicious cars: a black Mercedes SUV and a red Mustang or Benz. They were there to see a rapper named "Jay Wood" or "J-Wood" which I can't find because there are 73 rappers with variations of that name.

About a week later, Hardiman hears the name "Drakeo the Ruler" while listening to a wiretap in an independent gang case. The detective confronts the victim's family with the information, claiming that they, too, have heard rumors that Drakeo is somehow connected to the crime. This ignites a monomaniac obsession with Team Stinc, leading to a series of arrests, betrayals, and constant pleas of innocence, the consequences of which continue to be tried out daily in Compton. The impact and aftershocks will forever change the course of Los Angeles rap history.


A motherfucker sent to prison

Every darkly engaging story needs an antagonist, and that one comes straight from the central cast. If I created a fictional creature like Detective Francis Hardiman, that would be a lot. Another factory mutant in a brutal line of golems in Los Angeles, ranging from bigoted boss William Parker, who militarized the city's police force, to Daryl Gates, Mark Furhrman, and Rampart Scandal's CRASH unit. The latter, a gang unto themselves, which many still blame for the deaths of The Notorious B.I.G.


There's something frighteningly unsettling about Team Stinc's pursuit of Hardiman. It's so bizarre that it inevitably evokes the wily sociopaths of the twilight fantasy, as if emanating from one of those timeless archetypes of noir, the corrupted perfidy of Captain Dudley SmithLA confidentialor a two-faced rival of Phillip Marlowe. A living reminder of what Raymond Chandler once wrote: “Police business is a big problem. This is very similar to politics. He desires the highest kind of man, and there is nothing about him that attracts the highest kind of man."

For Drakeo, Detective Hardiman resembles a more modern Beast Noire: Mr. Burns. At first I thought that was a bit excessive, but the more time I spent in court, the more inevitable the comparison became. The small scaly hands and the sickly shiny bald head, the slight hump and the fascinating reflection. It appears to feed on overripe grapefruit and snake eggs, swallowed whole. He seems to enjoy quoting the word "nigga" out loud and exudes the greasy vengeance of a man blocking the sun or stealing candy from a baby in a larf.

It's Hardiman who retaliated against Drakeo's Instagram rants against him by convincing a judge to ban the rapper from K-19, an ultra-maximal form of solitary confinement that normally only holds cop killers and criminals. His badge is sanctioned by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, an organization markedly different from the notoriously evil but no less historically destructive LAPD. In the 1970s, the county jails were largely run by a gang of neo-Nazi bailiffs who called themselves "The Vikings".A 2012 ACLU reportconcluded that "The pervasive and long-standing culture of hyperviolence in Los Angeles County jails, a culture that appears to be tolerated at the highest level, requires immediate and thorough investigation and intervention by the federal government." In addition to their shared grotesque brutality, the ACLU said the abuse included police officers raping inmates.


Until 2014, the county was controlled by Lee Baca, a former Republican Marine who was sentenced to 36 months in prison in 2017 for conspiring to obstruct an FBI investigation into abuses at the Los Angeles County prison. Last year,Los Angeles Timesreportedinto a notorious "secret society" of Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies, whose members all wore skull tattoos and cowboy hats. The article noted that "the revelations have raised concerns among surveillance groups and county officials that a toxic subculture has once again taken over the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department or has never been eradicated."

Just weeks ago, the county agreed to pay the family of a 31-year-old Compton man who was murdered in cold blood during a manhunt in 2016 while fleeing sheriff's deputies, $7 million in taxpayers' money, paying him six times in the process meet. Officers claimed he pointed a gun at them, but of course no gun was found. None of the MPs were fined and one still haunts the streets of Compton. The election of new sheriff Alex Villanueva should help eradicate this toxic mentality. Instead, he reinstated suspended MPs accused of abuse and attacked critical journalists on Twitter.

That's not to say that the nearly 10,000 sworn MPs don't include some decent, hard-working officials, but to indicate that Hardiman is by no means an aberration. He's a police officer known for his aggressiveness and ruthlessness, and has largely eluded the scrutiny of the press in his quarter century behind the blue shield. But two incidents stand out. The first came when he was a junior officer with the Hawthorne Police Department. In response to a domestic call from a woman concerned about her intoxicated and suicidal husband, Hardiman and his then-partner fired seven shots into the chest of 38-year-old Freddy Soza, just yards from his 12-year-old son. Hardiman and his partner claimed he approached them with a large knife. in oneLos Angeles TimesPost 1995, Soza's wife said that "they shot him because they didn't care [and because he was Latino]. They saw him as a nobody." It was a national story in Soza's native Chile, where the press denounced what they believed to be inherent racism.


For outsiders, Hardiman's most important contribution to local police culture was his dubious legal use of prison informants, or "collaborators," as he calls them. Both he and his former partner Biddle circumvented forensic "techniques" like Miranda Rights by housing ex-gang member informants in every Southern California jail and jail. It's technically illegal to do this after a suspect has been formally charged, but they took advantage of a loophole in the law that allows them to do it in the time between a person being detained and being brought before a judge.

I 2014, pthe operation briefly blew up on themWhen a lawsuit revealed their secret weapons, two former Mexican mob rats promised innocent prisoners that they would help get them off the mob's blacklist in exchange for confessing to their crimes. Hardiman and his company spent taxpayers' money showering whistleblowers with cash, birthday cake, and on-demand Del Taco. 2016,Biddle was chargedplacing an informant next to Suge Knight's cell to specifically make false statements against him.

It's this strategy of covert informants, psychological warfare, and overt fakery that they used to build the case against Drakeo and Team Stinc. An amazing miscarriage that occurs daily at the Walton courthouse. For most of the past week, Hardiman has taken the prosecution witness stand and exposed his self-proclaimed "conspiracy and conspiracy." When the defense later questioned him during the trial and asked if he bragged on tape about being "a son of a bitch they send to jail," he smiled weakly and replied, "That sounds like something I would say . I sent a lot of people to jail."


Real life murder trials are notLaw and order.For every tense moment in the courtroom, there are several hours or days of boring testimonies designed to demonstrate a level of procedural mastery that leads a jury to believe these "experts" need to know what they're talking about. In Hardiman's case, he tries to convince the jury to get his first gun at the age of seven.

"I've had guns my whole life... a lifelong interest in guns," Hardiman tells the gaping, half-empty room. Most days, the middle section usually consists of Drakeo's mother, aunt, and siblings, as well as the Buchanan family. In the seating area on the right are white members of the DA's office and Gregory's relatives. The judges are drawn from a relatively even cross-section of Los Angeles' demographics: approximately one-third black, one-third Latino, and one-third white, with one Asian male. The average age is around 40 years.

"I've read hundreds of gun books and probably thousands of articles," Hardiman continues in a flat wiggum whine, a voice with no bass, very high. "I've been to gun museums in the US and Europe."


This is what we're dealing with: a pink man in baggy suits that look like something from the DMV couture line, whose vacation details include visits to gun museums on two continents. Fantastic.

His unctuously friendly interlocutor is Assistant District Attorney and Chief District Attorney Shannon Cooley, the red-haired descendant of the former district attorney. Steve Cooley – A Republican known for throwing the book at Wynona Ryder and losing the Robert Blake case. His grandfather was an FBI agent who spent his career hunting down Russian communists in Los Angeles. His father has campaigned to ban medical marijuana and has vowed to defend Proposition 8, a 2008 election measure that outlawed gay marriage in California. His 30-year-old daughter has a penchant for no-frills pantsuits, hugs the victim's family in front of the jury and cynically uses every opportunity to blur the lines between rap and real life. She comes in every day with "Compton Hardcore Gang" written in sharpie on the scroll that carries her files. Cop is a blood defect.

If there is an illusion of distance between the D.A. and the detectives, there is no demonstrative separation here. Hardiman crosses the wooden barrier for frequent and unannounced consultations with the prosecutor. For convenience, this is your case. The result of 30 months of fanaticism, 70+ search warrants, 70 more interrogations and 5 "evidence" hard drives. He testifies more than half a dozen times in the first month, and more testimonies will follow. He attempts to sway the jury with his trawling routine, but often comes off as a covert liar when he refuses to admit fundamental truths that may not strengthen his case.


"There were four factors I learned after the night of the murder," Hardiman tells the prosecutor. Then he marks his fingers: the ballistics evidence of the .38 and .40, the black Mercedes and the red coupe, the fair-skinned guy with the dreadlocks, and the mention of Drakeo in a listening device.

"So I turned to the greatest crime-fighting tools in the world: Google and social media."


Not on the Stinc team?

About three weeks ago producer JoogFTR was arrested and forced to spend several days in the Central Men's Prison for some minor offences. Member of the recently produced Hit Mob production team"vintage and adventurous",the incumbent nominee for Los Angeles Song of the Summer. He also did the minimalist beat for"Ion Rap Meat",who can come up with the best Drakeo verse ("You need to find a picture that fits Fox-11"). But as soon as Joog arrived, MPs wanted to talk about something else.

"When I got there, a police officer came to my cell and said, 'Yeah, come here... Aren't you Team Stinc?'


I said no.

He said, 'I know you're working with the Shoreline Mafia!'

I told him I didn't know what he was talking about.


The people involved in Chunky Monkey

The Chunky Monkey video begins with Ralfy the Plug and Kellz wearing the Planet of the Monkeys masks, drinking a 7-11 coffee and talking to Drakeo on the phone. The ruler is angry. They are in Claremont, over an hour away. They swear he can be here in 15 minutes. The scene darkens. “1 hour later” flashes on the title screen.


The foreign car pulls into a gravel lot and arrives in a black Mercedes SUV. The hook comes from the paranoid, edgy song by Ron-Ron, the producer, "Dumb we keep the monkeys strong / Negroes start stumbling in the club go dumb." It's the only acceptable kind of mixed metaphor that worth doing.subtle Homage an Boosie. you spill. Ralphy smokes a joint. They point an arsenal of weapons at the camera. Banana splits are devoured, a silly dance follows.

In short, it's a regular street rap video. The strain that could be from Baton Rouge or Detroit, Orlando or Oakland, with subtropical vegetation, hints of monkeys, and the Californian pronunciation of "weird." At least until the last verse, when Drakeo burns the beat without even raising an eyebrow. As deceptively and effortlessly innovative as any rapper's breath, his bars are a slippery maze of cryptic innuendos and sarcastic curses at enemies. It's blunt to strangers, says a jury trying to figure out what exactly they're looking at. But for those indoctrinated by the cult, it's a new rap language: a paranoid variant of gangsta rap, independent, steeped in luxury goods and hieroglyphic slang. A dangerous form of prophecy, and to cement this exaggeration Drakeo begins the verse: "O Mosely, I am what they really want."

Drakeo hints at his own future; a fear that is not remotely unfounded. The video was released in mid-October 2016, six weeks before Gregory's assassination. As the only major gangsta rapper in Los Angeles who wasn't Blood or Crip, Drakeo was a conspicuous and coveted target on the streets. In the month that Chunky Monkey was released, his cousin was mugged and Drakeo and two other members of the Stinc team (Ketchy the Great and 2Shitty) were shot in separate incidents.


For half a century, the LAPD and the Sheriff's Department have ruthlessly patrolled South Central, pale armed demons who never thought to use the battering ramdestroy entire apartment buildings, "Sending a Message" to gang members, and leaving "LAPD Rules" and "Rollin 30s Die" graffiti on the ruins. So there's no point in bothering to ask why Stinc's team didn't show up at the station and asking 12 for help to stop the shooters.

As for "Chunky Monkey," the video currently has over 1.1 million views, but it's clear at least a thousand of those are coming from Hardiman. So the 12 jurors are shown in court trying to figure out exactly why a murder is linked to the rappers that Dr. Drive Zayo. Of course, it's also obvious that prosecutors are hoping to scare the jury into believing there's no difference between real life and rap videos. It doesn't seem to be working. Later, Drakeo calls me and asks if I noticed Juror 7: "I was so excited."

For the obsessive detective, the Chunky Monkey video is a Rosetta Stone revealing his theory.


"After viewing the video, he provided me with information consistent with all four factors discovered at the crime scene," Hardiman says in the statement, flashing his flowing embalming smile.

The clip shows Drakeo pulling up in front of a black Mercedes Benz similar to the one seen before the shoot. Kellz points a Glock .40 pistol at the camera. There's Ralfy pulling his jacket back to reveal a loaded .38 revolver. Towards the end, we see Daveion "Solo" Ervin, a non-rapper member of Team Stinc, who has dreadlocks. Hardiman runs one of the Glock's serial numbers through an automated firearms system and claims that the model matches the ballistics of the evidence found at Carson. From here things started to fall apart.

Unbeknownst to him, the detectives begin pursuing Drakeo. They receive orders from the phone companies to get the cell phone numbers and addresses of Team Stinc members. they look at them"Batbreaker"The video that Hardiman says helped him find Drakeo's $2,600 one-bedroom apartment on Aviation Blvd. not far from LAX, a claim that seems improbable at best and preposterous at worst. The detectives contact the site manager for security footage from the night of the crime. They appear at 11:30 p.m. On New Year's Eve, two sad and vengeful little men watch as Drakeo and his friends celebrate the start of 2017.


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"He wanted to find the murder weapons!" Hardiman curses the sweaty, neurotic prosecutor.

On January 2, 2017, the investigations intensified. Hardiman sends two detectives to arrest Drakeo while he relaxes harmlessly in the building's parking lot. Later that afternoon, he orders a SWAT team to search the apartment and arrests Ralfy, Stinc team member 2Shitty (Joshua Torres), Drakeo and Ralfy's mother, and anyone else unfortunate enough to be present. They confiscate a cache of weapons hidden in a sofa. Neither of them were used in the assassination, but the D.A. insists on showing the jury the allegedly stolen guns with pornographic details. You can also find the masks used in the Chunky Monkey video; the day he refuses to show us that.

With the Stinc team behind bars, the corrupt cop outsmarts the complex. Hardiman secretly places spy wires in each of their cells, feeding them information about Gregory's murder and paying them to extract confessions. During the course of the operation, 2Shitty accidentally tells the whistleblower that the shooter is a 17-year-old Rollin 40s Crip named Jaidan Boyd, who goes by the name AB (Arlington Blue). It must be the beginning of the end of the investigation. But this is not your average case. In a way, the scope just expands.


Who the hell made him ruler?

Before we hear Jaidan Boyd's disembodied voice, we see him dehumanized.


This is the teenager accused of being one of the two gunmen behind the murder of Drakeo and Team Stinc. His case has been split from that of Drakeo, Ralfy and Kellz, and he is defending the fifth to avoid testimony. However, prosecutors will play the entire secret recording from the prison where he accidentally sentenced himself to hell. But before they produce it for the jury, they put on an exhibition of photos of the teenager: shirtless and muscular, scowling and covered in gang tattoos, wearing a ski mask and pointing guns at the lens. The intention is unmistakable.

The white prosecutor and her assistant D.A. and detectives so white they're salmon pink want to caricature him into a monster. All natural emotions and fears are removed. In his eyes, he, Drakeo, Ralfy, Kellz, and the rest of Team Stinc are a series of scowls: tribal affiliations and tattoos on his skin. It's the same racist hostility that can be traced back to auctioneers and slavers inspecting human goods fresh from the aisle. It's hideous and nauseating, but impossible to ignore. It's the central fixation of the animation that runs through every aspect of the case, from the victims to the defendants and the innocent bystanders caught in between. They are almost exclusively referred to by their gang names or rap aliases. They never miss an opportunity to show the jury pictures of everyone holding guns. Their languages ​​and codes are manipulated. Even the photos are airbrushed to make everyone's skin appear darker. It's the sort of thing that basically decent people hoped would go away with the abolition of Jim Crow, the election of Obama, or any set of signs that might suggest the tide was finally turning. But if you are in the Compton courtroom every day, you will understand that this performance is a fantasy. In the age of Trump, the plagues of the past continue to infect the present everywhere you look.

* **


They call it Operation Perkins. His name comes from the case of Illinois v. Perkins, where the court ruled that the police can put undercover officers in cells and use anything remotely incriminating because confessions are made without the pressures of a "police-dominated atmosphere and coercion."

In Boyd's case, his cellmate is a fake O.G. The Boyd group claimed to claim East Coast Crip, a large faction that is part of the Neighborhood Crips with the Rollin 40s. We listened to the entire hour and 22-minute recording, an agonizing and often inaudible experience. The judge directs the jury that only the actual recording is admissible in evidence, allowing the D.A. Distributing transcripts of the conversation filled with his own rap genius misinterpretations furthering his arguments.

The Boyd Perkins takes place in mid-February 2017. So far, almost everyone involved in the case has been arrested, although none have been formally charged with murder.


"That's how it's going to be," the source tells Boyd on the recording. "There are five of you...they can take all five of you together...or whoever snoops gets a decent deal."

It's obvious how obsessed the detectives are with bringing down Drakeo. Each time the conversation ends, the informant returns to Drakeo, taunts him as Drakeo the jeweler or Drakeo the bib, implying that he is nobody, and asks "Who made him ruler?" Officers listen to the conversation in real time and regularly pull Boyd out of the cell for questioning. They play cat and mouse, grab Boyd, take the snitch from him, plant doubt in the boy's mind, tell them he's in trouble, that all his friends have turned against him. He is 17 years old. This is his first time in prison and it's obvious he's very scared.

Boyd's despair and fear begin to spread. He takes care of his mother and his girlfriend. He swears that if he makes it out alive, he will never return to the streets. The Snitch pokes and manipulates him, alternately offering him the sensible advice of someone who has spent most of his life in captivity, and then cynically vampirizing the teenager for more information.


"People on Facebook said they were Drakeo and Solo because everyone there saw Drakeo's car because he's a famous rapper... And I was okay with that," Boyd laments.

"It's C.Y.A." the informant tells him. "Cover your own ass. A lot of niggas can get off the case and make you look like a freak

This is too much for the frightened schoolboy. After all, he entrusts everything to the snitch. He admits he fired the .38 while Buchanan allegedly fired the .40 Glock. He explains that he actively fought with Red Bull and as soon as he saw it he was an instant hit. The Snitch keeps trying to get him to say that Drakeo is behind all of this, saying that Drakeo probably ratted on him and the only smart move is to turn against him. But he blames no one but himself and Kellz.


So far, the case has been theoretically resolved. Investigators obtained a taped confession from the shooter and the suspected identity of the other shooter. Two Crips Supposedly Killing a Blood From an Enemy Hood: An Archetypal Los Angeles Tragedy. But that's not enough for Hardiman. There's nothing to level Drakeo apart from the weapon charge, which will lock him up for another year in his prime. Then he begins to swing even more wildly; this time with the complicit cheer of a YouTube commentator.

Rather than luxuriate in his ability to be a son of a bitch and send him to jail, Hardiman focuses on one of Boyd's conflicting and off-the-cuff comments: "We weren't on a mission, it was just when we got there we were for a black guy." from Athens [Park Bloods].” The complainant says: “It wasn't that RJ brother, was it?” Boyd mumbles something that prosecutors say is “on wood”.

For Hardiman and the prosecution, this is an admission that Drakeo ordered them to kill RJ, DJ Mustard's former protégé, who was not supposed to perform or attend the party and certainly never did. No one is sure who "we" are. It could have been one of half a dozen. But because of this, they claim that Drakeo led a murder conspiracy, which somehow makes him an accomplice in Gregory's murder.


This is the only real evidence that exists against Drakeo. A secretly recorded prison conversation claiming that an unidentified "we" was at the party to "get" an unidentified member of a very large gang. The case against him is not only flimsy, it is essentially nonexistent. In the absence of reasonable evidence of Drakeo's guilt, the D.A. and the detectives resorted to the old-fashioned racist standard: They crucify rap and hip-hop culture.


Lord, keep me away from these bums

The DA tries to delay judgment time before a long hiatus and plays Operation Perkins where they tried to trick Drakeo. It takes about a minute and a half.

The informant keeps trying to get Drakeo to incriminate himself, but all he says is that his mother, brother, and all his friends were arrested for no reason. Detectives are weird. etc

When the D.A. Hardiman asks about it in the stands, he says with a start: “It was very quiet there. The gentleman. Caldwell didn't say much.


Pigtail flat tops please tell me what is this?

It's unsettling to think about the enormous waste of taxpayers' money, time and resources expended when an entire courtroom watches Drakeo goof about RJ's ponytail curls, undercut eyebrows, lack of haste and old age. They play the video not once but three times. There has probably not been a funnier moment in the American criminal justice system since Johnnie Cochrane famously coined the phrase, "If you don't pass, you should acquit."

The "Flex Freestyle" is all that prosecutors are trying to attribute to Drakeo. It's one of the top 5 rap songs (my other contenders: Pusha's "Story of Adidon", Sauce Walka's "Wack 2 Wack", "Fuck KD" or Lil B's "T Shirt and Buddens"; "Troy Ave Sucks" , "Prince Metropolis Known". of the past decade, not because it's pretending to be the new "Hit 'Em Up," but because it's pretending to be the opposite; it is completely nonchalant, carefree and without direct effort. The cruellest line is a taunt that he rides in the trunk with RJ. It also talks about the fight against Jesus. It is not known if charges of assault will be filed as a result, but the trial is ongoing.


Hardiman asks the jury to look at the blink and you lost the line where Drakeo claims to have RJ strapped to his back. If this were 1990, "people" would be trying to sue Ice Cube for threatening to hang Eazy E from a tree with no petroleum jelly, just a match and some gas.

it is a patentcrazy and dangerous thingfor detectives and prosecutors to produce a rap song as murder evidence. Wrestling has been central to the art form since the Bronx Park routines. To say that Drakeo's "Flex Freestyle" is admissible in court is like saying that Roxanne can sue Shante for defamation for alleging the UTFO-trained rapper didn't graduate from high school, or sue KRS because he made terrorist threats against the Queensboro Bridge, or something. When Meek Mill tweeted "Z," it was actually a coded signal for the Los Zetas Cartel to dismember Drake and dump him in the Rouge River. But this is not a new approach. In the four decades of rap history, racist promoters have repeatedly attempted to strip rappers of first amendment rights. As N.W.A. threatened with arrest for playing "Fuck The Police", Ice-T's "Cop Killer" or 2 Live Crew being temporarily "banned in the US".

By the turn of the century, the lyrics of Shyne and No Limit's Mac were being scrutinized and taken out of context so prosecutors could charge them with demon slayers. In contrast, as rap has become the most popular form of music, the passion has only grown. According to Erik Nielson, a professor at the University of Richmond and a co-author ofRap on Trial: Race, Letters, and Guilt in the United States, there wasHundreds of Instancesin the past decade, where famous and anonymous rappers have used their lyrics as a weapon against themselves in court.


At Boosie's 2012 murder trial, prosecutors played various a cappella versions of his songs to try to link him to a murder allegedly committed by a teenage killer. he was unanimously acquitted. In 2015, the state of Georgia briefly ordered Young Thug's "Halftime" video to be used as evidence against him in a possible conspiracy to shoot Lil Wayne's tour bus. But it's hard to find a case like Drakeo's, where a judge ruled nearly half of his videos admissible. If there is usually at least a semblance of discerning the differences between art and proof, in Compton this has been completely erased.

There are no videos of Drakeo threatening RJ's life. Not even an insult song or an Instagram story where he legitimately says anything that might make you think, "Damn, he really crossed the line." Instead, the D.A. There are some tweets. One has RJ sing, "About this street shit in LA. I'm up... period... mention my name with the best in LA, that's a fact. Drakeo replied: "You really can't believe that comment there 🤔 I went outside. you had the streets RJ responded with "Nah you don't fuck me bro." Drakeo added, "That's what LA says, Mr. LA."

The prosecution's alleged coup de grace is an interview clip of Drakeo from aAlmost defunct YouTube channel called GXPO. It's a puny compilation video called "Who is the real Mr. LA" meant to bring YouTube numbers closer. When asked about RJ, Drakeo smiles and opens up about the nondescript nature of their rivalry, which basically resulted in Drakeo ousting RJ as the younger choice. RJ picks up on the feelings, drops some subliminal songs that nobody cares about (the promoter also shows them to the judges) and then tries to call Stinc Team "the fag team".


In the interview, Drakeo dismisses the notion of an actual feud, smiles playfully for the camera, and tells them that RJ is actually a dancer from Redondo Beach.

If anyone got hot it's RJ who certainly had a solid underrated run but never fully recovered from his struggles with Drakeo and 03 Greedo. At the time of the conflict, there was talk that he and Drakeo would meet to fight. That never happened. After the conspiracy case, RJ made several IG videos stating he doesn't believe Drakeo tried to kill him. About a week after Gregory's murder, Drakeo and RJ met at Berri's Pizza, a late-night Hollywood hangout. Any remaining bad blood was then put to rest. Last week, Drakeo wrote in his IG story that he never tried or planned to kill RJ and that they resolved the conflict before he went to jail. RJ quoted, saying in all caps, "NO FEAR BEEF." Of course the D.A. he refuses to mention it.

Then again, this is the testimony of a 50-year-old white detective explaining the nature of Pandilla life and rap music to a disbelieving juror. During an interrogation by Kellz's attorney, Keith Bowman (a heavily engineered stormtrooper who would be played by a young Louis Gossett Jr. in the adaptation), Hardiman is rocked by a series of questions about how an informant might know how to find out RJ's name . You're welcome. Hardiman mutters about how it's not some sort of rap, but how theoretically the middle-aged Soplón would be magically adept at the subtle nuances of Los Angeles rap.


The detective's credibility is further undermined by a cross-examination with John Hamasaki, one of Drakeo's two attorneys. Hamasaki is a charismatic and insightful civil rights and criminal defense attorney from San Francisco specializing in rap and first amendment cases. In many ways, he acts as a proxy for Drakeo, putting himself under the detective's thumb and shoes and talking shit. At various points, he and Hardiman are shown on the verge of a fight in the parking lot.

"How many Drakeo videos did you watch during your investigation?" Hamasaki asks the detective sarcastically.

"I don't know... probably more than 20."


"Did you find evidence of RJ being tied up in Drakeo's trunk in any of those videos?"

"I have no proof of that," hisses Hardiman.

"Do you know the difference between fact and fiction?"

"I do."


Shot five times in the torso

Sieht aus, als hätte der Gerichtsmediziner seit über einem Jahrhundert kein Sonnenlicht gesehen. Seine Haut hat die Farbe von Asche und er ähnelt vage dem Lehrer für Naturwissenschaften ausFast times at Ridgemont High, who lived to dismember frogs and struggled to move to Sanka.


If there is still any doubt that the victims are just pawns for the D.A. and detectives to pursue his revenge against the team of Drakeo and Stinc get out of here. The prosecution offers no warning or any visible sign of sympathy for Gregory's family, who filled the courtroom. A dignified old woman, believed to be the deceased's grandmother, begins to sob uncontrollably as the coroner draws cold-blooded circles over an enlarged photograph of Gregory's corpse, like a soccer coach sketching the slanting path of a wide receiver.

Whether hoping for an acquittal or a conviction, it is terribly sad and intense to watch, made all the more poignant by the callous detachment with which lost life is dissected. It's hard to miss the tattoo of the word "HATE" on the dead teen's body.


I don't want anything to do with it

The victim is escorted to court in handcuffs. This is Kwentin Polk, one of two football players who were in the wrong place that bloody December night almost three years ago. Even before he went to court, the D.A. He complains to the judge that he's afraid to testify, afraid of being branded an informer.

While recovering in the hospital, Polk Hardiman gave an opening statement on the night of the murder but had nothing to add. He never saw the shooters and didn't even know Gregory. If anyone is an innocent victim of a crime, it's Polk. But on the side of the law, there's little sympathy for a college athlete who just wants to get on with his life and forget there ever was a stupid party, at least for as long as you can when a bullet in your leg is for always explodes. metal detector.

For his troubles, Hardiman hands him over to a subpoena to testify. Polk tentatively agrees, but when he lets out even the slightest whooshing noise, the detective demands a warrant from the judge, waits hours outside Polk's house, and arrests him to force him to appear in court. When he's dragged out the next day, Polk is still in his gym clothes after a troubled and uncomfortable night in the county jail. In a public hearing, he qualified the treatment as harassment. The detective claims he's just doing his job. But an interrogation by Kellz's attorney catches the officer in an outright lie. Polk was arrested the day before he was scheduled to appear in Compton.


The prosecutor asks a series of questions, to which Polk usually responds with "I don't remember". His gaze is heavy, impassive, and antagonistic to the prosecution. Her mother and grandmother are in the courtroom, on the verge of tears, too excited to begin an explanation.

He is forced to relive the trauma from the original 911 call. Cross-examined by Drakeo's attorney, Polk states, “I'm not afraid. Being here is something I don't believe in and I was forced to do that."

It's hard to imagine that he's scared. He appears to be able to lift 350 pounds. and runs 40 at 4.4. A few minutes earlier, we listened to the secretly taped interview Hardiman and Biddle conducted at the hospital the night of the shooting. Polk tells the same story: that of an ambush where he saw nothing and had no idea why it was going to happen. Hard to forget is Policeman Sméagol's laughter and weak lies.


"If you give us any information about what happened, no one will ever know," Biddle snorts.

"Really, we can keep you out of this," Hardiman chimes in, his voice like the gurgle of stale milk. "Give a thumbs up [on social media] and get a job done for us."



The next afternoon, the court calls Travis Harvey-Broome, the burly former NFL player who was also injured. He tells the crowd he doesn't want to be here today but he can't play football with a warrant out. He repeats the same story from the night of the murder: how he found Gregory, his old teammate from Pop Warner, whom he hadn't seen in years. The bullets hit them before they knew what was happening. The next thing Harvey remembers is Polk and Gregory being taken to an ambulance.

Desperate to find his friends, Harvey heads to the front of the party. A police officer sees him, throws him in the back of a police car and asks for his ID. Try to explain, "I wasn't the one who shot... I was the one who got shot." you ignore it. Ditto for the first round of paramedics taking the others to the hospital while Harvey is left bleeding in the backseat of the police car. Eventually he is taken to Harbor Medical where he confronts Hardiman and Biddle. His statement is mostly irrelevant. he gives attempts to portray him as part of a sinister conspiracy by the defendant to suppress the truth. But prosecutors and detectives admirably revealed why no one wanted to trust them.

Under cross-examination, Harvey is asked by Drakeo's other attorney, Frank Duncan, if his reluctance is partly related to the stigma attached to involvement in a gang-related shooting.


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"If you are associated with something negative, you can delete it."

"And your money isn't guaranteed, right?"

The soccer player who grew up in the central south shakes his head. It's hard not to see this as a real version ofyoung capa, except this time Doughboy dies and Ricky lives.


"If you're like Tom Brady or Odell Beckham, it doesn't matter if you get into something like that ... your money is good."

"What about your money?"

"My money is not good."


37 rounds

On the evening of June 6, two deputies pulled into a parking lot near the corner of East 132nd Street and South San Pedro Street, just three miles from the Compton Courthouse. As soon as they get out of their police car, they point their guns at a man in a white Kia. Startled, he begins to drive out of the parking lot. They respond by firing 37 rounds at the vehicle, instantly killing 24-year-old Ryan Twyman, a father of three. He is unarmed.


The sheriff's department is protecting the officers' identities and alleging the driver used his vehicle as a weapon. Twyman's father replies, "After waking up this morning and seeing this video, I have no doubts that my son was murdered." Ryan's sister adds, "We just want to see justice for Ryan," she said. "Because this isn't the first and it definitely won't be the last."

Several protests against police brutality are taking place, led by the local Black Lives Matter chapter. That same weekend, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies kill two more men: one in Inglewood and one in San Gabriel.


Mei Ling just took me shopping

Neiman Marcus knows Team Stinc and will never forget them. As part of the prosecution's case, a salesman and loss prevention director at the Beverly Hills branch of the luxury department store testified against the rap team. According to them, Ralfy the Plug twice led a group of Stinc team members on a shopping spree for Montcler, Alexander McQueen and Buscemi. The only problem was that the credit cards were stolen.

If you're wondering how a little credit card fraud has anything to do with a murder case, that's a good question. The long answer implies a complicated history of gang control and a rich legacy of California judges and lawmakers willing to bow to any tyrannical plea from law enforcement. The short answer is that the system is hopelessly screwed up.

Under Section 186.22 of the Criminal Code, all that is required to be considered a street gang is a continuous organization of three or more individuals, a common name or identifying mark or symbol, and members engaging in criminal activity individually or collectively. Of course, criminal activity can be defined as anything from intimidating a witness to "causes" or illegal possession of a gun to graffiti costing more than $400. If the jury finds the Stinc team to be a gang, indiscretion is a relatively minor misdemeanor, like using a stolen gun. credit card, carries penalties ranging from 15 years to life imprisonment, although Ralfy has never been convicted of a crime. Otherwise, even if convicted, Ralfy will likely go to county jail after 18 months.


The other crimes against Ralfy are just as trivial. We're bored with footage of the Right Decision video, forcibly confiscated from director Voice2Hard's hard drives, showing the Stinc team spray-painting their names on a desolate, graffiti-covered railroad yard. At one point, Ketchy the Great types "Fuck2Snitchy," a reference to Joshua Torres (2Shitty), who implicated Boyd in the murder. Ralfy repeats twice: "Don't do dreons." In the final version of the video, the nickname can be seen for a second. For this reason, he is accused of "having subsequently persuaded a witness and accomplice to a crime". Fifteen to life in prison with gang support.

The detectives can't actually prove that Ralfy stole the credit cards, so they show video of a separate robbery at All Best Logistics, a seemingly sketchy "shipping and trucking company" in Commerce City. In the surveillance footage, filmed nearly a year after the murder, we witness two separate incidents. In the first case, a thief steals a small pistol but is hooded and unrecognizable. In the second clip, Ralfy seems to wander aimlessly through his offices; nothing is actually taken. A few weeks later, Drakeo was arrested at a supermarket with the gun after being followed by a patrol car believed to have been sent by Hardiman in pursuit.

There is (yes, really) a separate subplot where prosecutors attempt to denigrate Drakeo and the Stinc team as anti-Asian racists. This is partly due to the appropriation of classical oriental motifs for their iconography and partly because they are accused of targeting Asians in robberies. Regarding the first charge, Drakeo states that Team Stinc's Buddha and Cat logos represent good business and good luck. He has repeatedly reiterated how much he loves his Asian fans and Asian culture, noting that he has Asian family members and an Asian-American attorney. As for the last allegation, let me say that "Flu Flamming" is a canon rap song.


To be fair to the other side, it's pretty much undeniable that members of Team Stinc used stolen credit cards to buy a few thousand dollars worth of clothes. The proof is in all of his videos, compiled by Hardiman, who saw the price tag on one of the Montcler jackets and spent hours calling every luxury department store in town just to see if similar items had been fraudulently purchased (' Neiman & Marcus I don't know you helped narrow your search.)

But there's only circumstantial evidence that Team Stinc stole the credit cards in the first place. So, in addition to the Neiman Marcus Hub, the D.A. features a trio of Asian men and women with Korean and Mandarin interpreters. The questions and answers are identical:

"Did you go to Neiman and Marcus in Beverly Hills?"


"No, I didn't do it."

"Did you give someone permission to use your credit on this date?"

"No, I didn't do it."


"Did you buy these items?"

he gives presents a range of high-end designer chic clothing. Either way, the victim shakes his head.

"No, I didn't do it."


Then it's time for Ralfy's attorney, Jovan Blacknell, to question Dae Han Lee, the baby-faced witness in a black polo shirt, exuding a dazed aura where I stand.

"Have you found your stolen wallet yet?" asks Blacknell.

Bespectacled and lean, Blacknell is cerebral, subdued, and highly effective. He recently rose to fame as the attorney who obtained an acquittal for Cameron Terrell, the white Palos Verdes teenager-turned-Rollin '90s Crip.


Through the interpreter, Lee sadly shakes his head and says, "No, I never found my wallet."

Blacknell nods gravely.

"But have you heard of Team Stinc?"


Bystander stabbed in court

On one of the busiest days of testimony, the normally slow courtroom is tense. For one thing, it looks like half a dozen Bloods have turned out to witness the murder trial of their dead boyfriend. Across the street, a dozen equally menacing men in their early 20s, dressed disproportionately in blue, appear to see if the prosecution's key witness, Kellz, will be betrayed.

In the courtroom, everyone is respectful, but there is a sense of a floating rain cloud ready to drown us at any moment. When the judge tells everyone to take their lunch break, conflict seems to be avoided. But about an hour after our return, the bailiff hands Hardiman a note. Written in capital letters, it reads: HEARING OUT OF COURT STUCK


A few minutes later it's time for the afternoon break. Outside the courthouse, on the tenth floor, bailiffs handcuff a man in burgundy trousers and a black T-shirt. He can't get a word out. Nobody can use the elevators for the next 10 minutes. Neither party returns to court during the trial.


Ion knows nothing

Most days, Drakeo beats me on the way home from the trial. I'll be fighting 710 migraine traffic and you have a short window to make calls before you're sent back to the dungeon.

Usually we repeat the procedures of the day - reasonable doubt is enough to drive through a tank. The inconsistencies and inventions that Hardiman weaves onto the platform. The strange obsession they have with him. If it's true that hundreds of rappers are paranoid about the FBI watching them, Drakeo is proof that sometimes they are. They check every tweet and direct message, they analyze every interaction on every social media app, every call. They will break down the doors and search every inch of your belongings, digitally and physically. Forget your constitutional protections. A persistent cop can convince the right judge to give you a search warrant on just about anything. And if you don't have an iPhone, believe me, they will hack your Android and use anything they find against you in court.

"They never mention that all my videos, any direct messages or tweets they try to use against me were said because I was trying to protect myself," Drakeo sighs. “For a week in October [2016] niggas shot me, shot Ketchy, shot Josh (2Shitty) and robbed [my cousin] Randall. You don't see any detectives trying to track down whoever did this to us!


Drakeo stays calm and collected for the most part. He stands politely as the jury enters, wearing new Burberry and Montcler t-shirts, which his mother and aunt dutifully bring him and Ralfy. Their mood remains largely optimistic. Both hope to be back home in mid-July.

"I'm a regular," says Drakeo. "I know they are just painting a picture that doesn't exist. It's absolute racism. We're also the only people doing this shit. N.W.A had guns in all of their videos. If we have a gun on video, it's a gang-boosting felony charge. I am the accused of the conspiracy, not the gang members involved.

None of this is easy to explain. The case is intentionally esoteric to confuse the jury. It's about throwing everything you can against the wall to see if anything sticks. The trial has passed the one-month mark and the prosecutor seems to be getting more and more desperate, playing slideshows and videos over and over again. aspectGroundhog Daywith better soundtrack.


"That shit looks great," adds Drakeo. "What else can you say? Even the key defense witness said I had nothing to do with it.


I know you sir

The key witness doesn't want to be here, but it's too late for that. His name is Daveion Ervin, but ever since he was on a doublet team as a teenager, everyone has called him Solo. For the better part of a week, Solo positions himself to take turns engaging and exonerating his former team members.

He was the only one actually identified at the scene: the tall, white man with dreadlocks who was standing outside in the parking lot minutes before the murder. And because everyone else claimed the fifth or refused to testify, it is their count that is the only one included in the public record. According to him, the closest stranger should know exactly what happened at that party on December 10, 2016.

About two weeks after the raid on Drakeo's apartment in January 2017, Solo ended up handcuffed in the Central Men's Prison. Hardiman had issued a search warrant on all of Team Stinc's social media pages, reviewing even the most mundane crimes. He found one on Kellz's Facebook: a several-second video of Solo pointing a .38 revolver at his head and firing it into the ceiling. Was it an accident, a prank, or both? That's all the cop needs.


The detective received a search warrant, went into the apartment, ordered the popcorn ceiling to be removed and found that there was still a bullet stuck there. Sheriff's forensic teams determined that it matched the mark on the .38 fired at the scene. Enough to arrest Solo for negligently discharging a firearm and unlawfully possessing a firearm by a felon.

In the interrogation room, officers told him that the gun charges would result in a third strike conviction, which means life imprisonment. Not having money to hire a good lawyer, Solo failed to realize that he was ineligible for a third felony (with only one adult conviction for home burglary). They told him they had witnesses who brought him to the scene and footage of him with the murder weapon. If he doesn't confess, he might as well be charged with Gregory's murder.

During his first interview, Ervin lied endlessly. He said he wasn't at the party, the gun was fake and he hadn't seen Drakeo in eight months. The facade lasted about 30 minutes after he was returned to his cell. Frightened and aware that they already knew too much, Solo snapped. By asking for another interview, he ended up getting a plea deal and, depending on who you believe, told the detectives everything he knew. If he hadn't, they should sentence him to 13 years in prison for accidentally firing a gun.


So there he is, 18 months later, slumped on the witness stand and telling his life story in an Adidas tracksuit. There's a sad expression on his face that looks eerily like J. Cole. His shame is unmistakable. The government paid $1,500 to evict him from the state, a comically insignificant amount considering his name will forever be tarnished on the streets of Los Angeles. He eventually returned home against his will and was charged with theft. After their excitement came threats through DMs and text messages. His statement could fatally sink Boyd and Buchanan, his former friends. On the other hand, if Drakeo is acquitted, it will no doubt be based on Solo's testimony.

It's easy to see him as the unfortunate victim of circumstance: raised in poverty in the '60s and throughout Los Angeles; He's not a gang member, but his closeness and family ties to the Crips put him half a dozen bullets through his body by the age of 20; multiple robbery convictions, mostly as a teenager. He met Drakeo in the late 2000s when they danced for various vest groups, but they only became close in 2015 when Drakeo asked for juice and Solo provided it. A close friendship began. Solo officially became a member of Team Stinc. He appeared in all the videos and on stage at concerts, dancing and brandishing guns to look "really cool". Not wanting to be disturbed, Drakeo gave people Solo's number and made it act as a de facto call filter. The Entourage Turtle.

The night that destroyed everything began like any other. Stinc's team had just taken Drakeo's place in aviation: Drakeo, Ralfy, Solo, Philly, Kellz, Young Bull, Ketchy the Great, Good Finesse. People come in and out of the apartment, smoke, drink, drink, whatever. At one point, Solo claimed that Drakeo shows him the party on Instagram and they all make plans to leave. Before Solo leaves, he receives a call from Jaidan Boyd. He tells her about the party and that if he gets to Drakeo's house in time, he can film her there.


Before reaching Carson, they stop in a random parking lot across from Drakeo's for 20 minutes so Good Finesse and another member of Team Stinc can fight. Exit instantly on social media. No one gets hurt and none of that matters. I'm only telling you because the D.A. He showed the videos in court as part of his relentless quest to stereotype them as mindless savages rather than young adults barely past their teens who grew up on WorldStar.

Team Stinc drives five cars to the party. Drakeo drives the Benz with Solo on a shotgun, with Kellz sitting close behind. It's in Carson, 15 minutes away, a large semi-industrial city of 90,000 on the outskirts of Los Angeles County best known for the production of Brandy and Ray J. Though you can't actually see the murder, videos from the parking lot played dozens of times until it became ingrained in the yard's collective memory. Asked to explain who's who and what's what, Solo reveals a jumble of surveillance footage, bright spotlights and shadows. We see Drakeo's car drive by and park off screen. He just shows up and tells Boyd where to park; Boyd gets out of the car, puts on a jacket and drives out of camera range. Everyone goes back to their cars.

As Solo recalls, they are in the car, sitting, talking and smoking. Eventually 2Shitty comes to the window and tells them that "the [Inglewood] families are here". He only claims that Drakeo said, "Let's get out of here." Within seconds, the soccer player and Red Bull (Davion Gregory) run past the car. Their eyes meet briefly. The next thing he remembers is the sound of gunshots.


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"When I heard the shots, I squatted down," Solo said in court. Drakeo crouched as well. People were running... there was a lot of noise. I looked out the window... still a lot of excitement, more gunfire. I didn't see anyone shoot. I only heard gunshots. We thought we were being attacked."

"Because?" the prosecutor stares.

"Because of everything he's been through?"


"With the blood bands?"

"Yes," Solo replies. "After filming stopped I'm like shit what the fuck! Drakeo is like 'What the hell?!' And Kellz says, "I emptied a magazine on these niggas." That's when I looked up and saw the boy from AB [Boyd] shooting the .38. So I think we need to get out of here.

He just says it's quiet all the way back to Drakeo's house. Back at the apartment, no one knows if anyone was really hurt. Boyd appears briefly but never enters the building. He only finally falls asleep and wakes up at 3am to the news.


"The boy was shot down."

It is counted by 2Shitty.

"WHO?" Just ask.


"Red Bull."

"Oh good."

After that night, he never sees the guns again. The .40 is found a few months later at a Gardena high school by a student claiming to be a member of the Inglewood families. From there, Solo claims he's starting to distance himself from the crew and disappears into Victorville for a week or two before returning. he gives plays an old Snapchat of Kellz bragging about drinking a "Dead Bull."


The next time everyone is relaxed, Solo claims Kellz told them, "If you guys rat, you know what's going on."

"Does that mean you're going to die?" asks the prosecutor.



"On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad is snitching?"

"Shit...worse than that," Solo sighs. "It's a 25."

* **


Fear is a universal currency. It can be manipulated for power and sex, social conformity, and religious control. It's a connection to our primitive savannah wiring, an atavistic reminder of how the species survived. This is why our political situation is so bleak and racism remains one of the major plagues of an entire species. Fear is powerful, but full of weaknesses.

The superficial facade of the prosecutor's case seeks justice for a senseless murder. But it's really a referendum on fear. It has a more professional tone but a similar aim to the far-right demagogy that reigned in the Trump era. She is ingrained in a colonialist fear of the other, typically brown and black, but also Native Americans, Asians and Jews, and anyone who refuses to cling to arbitrary notions of civility long established by desiccated white corpses. As Deputy D.A. Shannon Cooley interrogates Daveion "Solo" Ervin, she's looking for much more than who did this, she's trying to paint an entire culture as hopelessly criminal.

We see photo after photo of the Stinc crew posing in the Los Angeles slums, stucco boxes under tall palm trees. You play the hand sign of Team Stinc. In each of the D.A. He asks Solo to confirm that they will be releasing "2 Greedy Family," his way of semantically twisting the team's name to make it more sinister. He shows us photos of the team and asks Solo to identify his former best friends. They are dark and the size of a passport; All look glassy and gloomy and don't know exactly why they were attacked so fiercely.


Cooley shows off photos of Team Stinc with Adam22 from No Jumper and Rami the Jeweler as if it were his way of revealing how deep they went undercover. There is a photo of Team Stinc with 03 Greedo and Shoreline Mafia and the producers of Hit Mob. It looks like the best commemorative cover byXXGit never was. In your twisted electric chair mentality, this should show the jury that outlaw pagans lurk in your town. It could describe any street rap group or even Odd Future or A$AP Mob. There is no sense of nuance because that would require empathy.

There's footage of Drakeo emerging and a helpless Solo is forced to identify what he's holding.



"What is thin?"

„Promethazin … Codein.“

"And then you mix it with soda!?"



She reads the transcript of Solo's grand jury testimony: "You told the court that the 2 Greedy family made their living by stealing, licking, stealing, cheating, and cheating." He says it, clearly embarrassed.

Rap is hardly mentioned. Instead, Cooley shows us tattoos: the Team Stinc cat and the Buddha. As if there weren't 10,000 gray men in their 40s in cargo shorts with Wu Tang tattoos walking around. First of all, there are guns. Guns come in all shapes and sizes. AK, which are clearly accessories, and .38 and .40 and .30. The gun barrels were pointed at the camera. Classic LA gangsta rap poses broken in this funhouse twist where it's only art for the DA if it's done by someone who doesn't look and dress like her.



In response to the scathing idiocy of the prosecutorsdisengagedBlacknell, Ralfy's attorney, demonically questions Solo. One by one, they lay the foundations for the hallowed hollowpoint tradition that has spawned the Stinc team. On the Westside, 2Pac is throwing up. Dre and Eazy carry huge assault rifles. ice bucket on deckkill at willEP, hands a giant Glock to the camera. Dre, now a benefactor from the school across the street, holds a gun to his temple on the cover ofThe fountain.

"Is it true that some greedy people would commit crimes?"


Blacknell questions Solo.


"Is it true that some of them had regular jobs?"



"Is it true that some people made money from music like Drakeo and Ralfy?"



"Did anyone share the proceeds of the crimes?"


"Have you ever been part of a assembled crew?"



"Have you ever been on a robbery team?"



"Drakeo is a gang member?"


"¿Eras de 2Greedy?"



"Have you ever been in a gang?"



The gutting of gang lawsuits continues. Blacknell asks the prosecution's lead witness if he's familiar with the idea that many rap groups have their own hand signals. Just nod.

"You know Jay Z."



"What is that?"

The lawyer shows a picture ofBand 3it was S. Carter brandishing a durag and breaking the roc.

"That's your Roc-A-Fella sign," Solo replies.


"Is it common in hip-hop culture for people who are part of the same rap group to do the same hand sign?"


On a projection screen, the lawyer shows Jay and 'Ye at a GQ party making the Roc throw up. It then shows LeBron throwing the Roc; then Kobe makes a diamond with his hands. Finally, he shows a candid photo of Warren Buffett.


"Do you know who Warren Buffett is?" the lawyer asks the witness. The witness looks very confused.

Blacknell shows a slide of Jay and Warren Buffett wearing black ties. The rap mogul tries to teach the billionaire investor how to vomit the roc. The room erupts in laughter. All but the D.A. and the detectives.



When the trial often seems like a tragi-comic farce, it is mostly instinctualsome good menThe moments unfold during Solo's cross-examination by Kellz's attorney, Keith Bowman. That's when the courtroom is at its busiest, the news that Judas de Solo's turn has spread through the asphalt vines.

Obviously, if Kellz is going to win the case, the jury will have to raise reasonable doubts that he wasn't the shooter. It seems his lawyer's plan is to convince people that it could have been Solo who was blown up along with Boyd.

The exchange begins with a long litany of how it was originally rumored on the street that Solo had shot Red Bull. He asks why she didn't go straight to the police.


"Have you ever gone to the police with a problem?" The witness shoots again.

"I've never been involved in a shooting," says Bowman.

"It doesn't have to be shot. I didn't go to the police. The police came to me."


The lawyer attacks Solo's claims with wild reapers. They lightly touch the witness but do not connect. He claims that Solo Boyd gave the .38 in the first place. He just denies it, gets upset and demands that they play the video for all to see.

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They talk about all the times Solo got shot. He hints that Solo has never liked Kellz and that this is his chance for revenge. The first flatly denies it. Fight back and forth more. The room is tormented by stress, but fascinated.

"I didn't want it to come to this." He only confesses his sins, hoping for sympathy, but knows that for too long he will have too little. "But I knew if I didn't say it, I was going to jail, and while I was inside, the people who actually did that would be living their best lives outside."


"Why didn't you tell my client at the time that you had a problem with his behavior?"

"Oh, should I tell him what I'm thinking so he can conspire against me?"

Bowman lures Solo in and tries to get him to break up, change his story and uncover an even more fatal flaw in his character. Finally it detonates.


"You know full well that this is neither beautiful nor elegant!! That's not my thing!!" Just spit daggers at the imposing lawyer. "You know, and I know, what I'll have to deal with afterwards if the police aren't there to protect me... you know what my family has to deal with afterwards!"

"You're a pilot, right," the lawyer jokes, adding to his guilt and hurt pride.

"Why should I keep guessing if I don't have to?" only replicas.

"I thought you were a gentleman...right?" Bowman continues.


"I never said I was a pilot," he replies. "That's what you're trying to imply."

The girl in front of me whispers to the entire back row, “That's because she's a slut. He's not a gentleman!


I'm a bad winner. If I win, I take the score

Had the state ruled that this was a normal homicide case, there is a significant chance both suspected shooters could be convicted. But there is an element of arrogance that cannot be diminished. Drakeo is Hardiman's white whale, a fanatical bogeyman who would spend the rest of his life in psychotherapy to try to unravel it. It got so weird that one afternoon members of the Franchise Tax Board were called in to try and get Drakeo to dodge taxes like Al Capone.

But the core of his case rests on the notion of a conspiracy. His own chimeric rap-meat-as-real-life fantasy: the idea that just because he was the leader of Team Stinc, Drakeo could order hits by Imperial Decree. Despite all the smoke and mirrors, Drakeo's acquittal or conviction rests on his ability to prove he was careless enough to drive to a party with 20 friends in his own recognizable car to kill a famous rapper who never would have meant to be. Party.


There is so much reasonable doubt that it's almost unthinkable to think that 12 people could find Drake guilty. When he is finally released to return to the throne, there will be two moments that will decide the case for the defense. The first comes during Solo's interrogation by Drakeo's Owl co-counsel, Frank Duncan.

After the DA Duncan unsuccessfully tries to get Solo to attack Drakeo and asks him a short series of questions. They discuss the shooting again: how Drakeo told the rest of the group that they had to leave. The hail of bullets itself, and his and Drakeo's subsequent fear that they were being attacked. Then Duncan intervenes.

"Was there a talk about RJ at Drakeo's place before the party?"



"Did you talk about RJ on the way to the party?"



"Did you talk about RJ on the way back to Drakeo's?"


"Did you have any conversations about RJ after waking up?"



“So at no point did anyone want to kill RJ?

"No. It was never a real thing between them. It was only music. It was just rap meat.


After Ervin leaves the stand, Hardiman retrieves the lectern. This time, he pats himself on the back with joy when he spots a group DM on Instagram among about a dozen members of the Stinc team. It's a conversation that took place shortly after the constant attacks on members of the team in October 2016. Rapper who's suddenly rich, famous, and a big target.

Just minutes before the weekend break, Drakeo's other attorney, John Hamasaki, takes on the detective who has been trying to single-handedly destroy Team Stinc and the lives of a dozen young people trying to lift themselves out of poverty so looks so out... to make a game out of it.

"How many Drakeo Instagram posts did you search for?" Hamasaki asks.


"It was 53,000 pages."

"Have you ever done a keyword search for 'RJ'?

"I don't know."


Hamasaki continues to insist, and Hardiman begins to complain in vain about the impossibility of searching for a two-letter combination like "RJ". Nobody believes him.

"But that's the main theory of your case... Didn't you ever think to search for 'Fuck RJ' or 'Let's find RJ' or something like that?"

"If you want to search the 53,000 pages yourself, you can do that."


"But in all your research and searching, do you mean to say that you have found nothing to support your theory of the case?"

"Oh, that's not true," Hardiman snorts and laughs hard. "That is not true."

"Have you ever found and recalled anything in all your reports that suggests Drakeo had a plan to kill RJ?"


"Well, I gather evidence and present it to the prosecutor who files the case and..."

"You can say no," Hamasaki interrupts. The jury laughs nervously.

"I think when we're done presenting our evidence, the jury will weigh it accordingly and make their decision..."


"Oh, I think they've made up their minds."

The laughter gets a little louder, a little less nervous.

"Let me finish!" Hardiman is boiling, nervous and blushing. "I am not ready yet!"


"If that's not your theory of the case, what is?" Hamasaki urges the detective, who is on the verge of an aneurysm.

"My theory is that we have significant evidence that Drakeo collected and bought firearms and warned people that he would rip the soul out of a black man," roars Hardiman in his anteater screech. “I had several guns at home! He controlled those guns! He caused blood gang conflicts by luring members into his own gang, the 2 Greedy Family! It was stolen by the Black P-Stones! He started fighting with RJ and other rappers! Create a situation where the murder takes place. I think it's pretty clear!"

At least three jurors visibly roll their eyes. Hamasaki offers a tight, condescending smile and replies.


"How about you take the weekend to go through all your 53,000 Instagram pages and 5 hard drives and bring me something that answers my question, something about Drakeo actually having a plan to kill RJ?"

Several seconds pass that seem like eternities. You see the detective dig through the contents of his brain, only to come back with a witty retort, something that confirms the tens of thousands of hours he's spent trying to find a connection that just doesn't exist. He finds nothing to say.

He then gives the defense attorney a murderous look, clenches his teeth and replies, "Okay."


The murder trial of Drake The Ruler is ongoing and a verdict is expected next week, the week of July 15th.

03 greedy, court report, drake the ruler, Hip Hop, News, Rap-Texte, rap in court, Team-Stink, judgement


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(Video) The Life and Death of Drakeo The Ruler


Who was in the Stinc team? ›

As the duo grew older, they assembled a new group called “the Stinc Team” with some of their neighborhood friends. Their posse was made up of Drakeo, Ralfy, Bambino, SaysoTheMac, Ketchy The Great, 2Sh*tty, Kellz, and Good Finesse.

Why is the Stinc Team in jail? ›

The charges stemmed from a December 2016 shooting in Carson, California, where one person was killed and two were injured. He was facing life in prison. Simultaneously, members of his Stinc Team collective, including his brother Ralfy the Plug, were arrested in San Francisco on a variety of charges.

Did Drakeo the Ruler died? ›

What set was Drakeo from? ›

Born Darrell Caldwell, on December 1, 1993, Drakeo was raised in the deep “Hundreds” section of South Central, one of the few neighborhoods not covered by Los Angeles' postwar, racially restrictive housing covenants. He was raised by his mother, who taught pre-school.

How are Drakeo and Ralfy related? ›

On Friday, Ralfy The Plug, Drakeo's brother and member of his rap collective Stinc Team, filed an additional multi-million dollar lawsuit against Live Nation, according to TMZ. The lawsuit alleges that Drakeo's life was in danger the entire time he was present at the festival.

Who is Ralfy the Plug to Drakeo? ›

Los Angeles-based Stinc Team rapper Ralfy The Plug, paid tribute to his older brother Drakeo The Ruler in his new “Bruce Lee Kick” video. Drakeo was fatally stabbed on Dec. 18 at the Once Upon a Time in LA festival and was pronounced dead on Dec. 19.

Why is 03 locked up? ›

Los Angeles, California, U.S. In July 2018, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison on drug trafficking and possession of a firearm charges. On January 8, 2023, it was announced that 03 Greedo would be released on January 12. Despite being in prison, he has remained prolific in releasing music.

Why was Drakeo the Ruler attacked? ›

A wrongful-death lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles said that negligence and lax security amid a large gang presence at a Live Nation music festival led to the fatal stabbing of the rapper Drakeo the Ruler in December.

Was Drakeo buried? ›

After the service, Drakeo's coffin was carried outside by his Stinc Team crewmates and placed in a white chariot. His family, riding in a fleet of Rolls Royces, and the chariot drove to the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills, where Drakeo was buried.

How long was Drakeo locked up for? ›

The district attorney chose to refile those charges, a decision that, it soon became clear, would keep Drakeo locked up for at least another year beyond the 16 months he had served to that point.

Who was the dead rapper on stage at funeral? ›

Rapper Goonew was quite literally front and center at his own funeral ... with his body propped up and on display in a club.

What rapper got killed in LA? ›

Pop Smoke, whose real name is Bashar Barakah Jackson, was shot and killed during a home invasion in Los Angeles on Feb.

How did Drakeo the Ruler get rich? ›

Drakeo The Ruler Assets

His hit songs and work with renowned artists add up to his wealth. Through sources, his monthly salary can be assumed to be around $50k. He owned a house when he was living in California. This legend will always remain with us through his hit songs and albums.

Where did Drakeo grow up? ›

Born Darrell Caldwell, Drakeo was raised in the Hundreds section of South Central by his preschool teacher mother. Drawn to rapping as a means to avoid the pitfalls of street life, he began shaping his signature style with some help from his brother, who raps under the moniker Ralfy the Plug.

How old was moe3? ›

Who is Drakeo the mother baby? ›

Tianna Purtue, the mother of Drakeo The Ruler's son Caiden, talks about his death, the $20 million lawsuit and more in this exclusive.

Is remble related to Drakeo? ›

Cole and Kendrick, and then I ended up getting into the L.A. rap scene and listening to a lot of Drakeo.” Drakeo the Ruler, Remble's friend and mentor, was fatally stabbed at the Once Upon a Time in L.A. festival on Dec. 18. His killing remains unsolved.

Who is Draco rapper brother? ›

Daniel Kreps. The brother of Drakeo the Ruler has slammed the Recording Academy for omitting the late rapper from its In Memoriam segment during the 2022 Grammys.

Is Drakeo the Ruler from Chicago? ›

Drakeo the Ruler was born Darrell Caldwell on December 1, 1993. The Los Angeles native caught the attention of DJ Mustard with his 2015 track “Mr.

Is remble a Stinc team? ›

Drakeo accepted Remble with open arms and confirmed him as a member of his rap group the Stinc Team.

What rapper was sentenced to 20 years? ›

03 Greedo, the Watts-born rapper who was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison at the height of his career, is scheduled to be released from prison this week. According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website, Greedo's scheduled release date is Thursday, January 12.

What jail is Rio in? ›

As one of the suspects of the Jail incident, Rio was charged with the crime and imprisoned in Cochlea.

How long is YP locked up for? ›

Misa was sentenced to four years in prison, with a two year non-parole period, and will eligible for parole in December, 2021.

Who was stabbed on stage? ›

(AP) — Salman Rushdie, whose novel “The Satanic Verses” drew death threats from Iran's leader in the 1980s, was stabbed in the neck and abdomen Friday by a man who rushed the stage as the author was about to give a lecture in western New York. A bloodied Rushdie, 75, was flown to a hospital and underwent surgery.

What rapper was knifed to death? ›

West Coast rapper Drakeo the Ruler was fatally stabbed in an altercation backstage at a Los Angeles music festival where he was scheduled to perform Saturday, according to his publicist and law enforcement officials. Drakeo, whose real name was Darrell Caldwell, was 28.

Where did Drakeo get his name? ›

In his 20s, Campbell began releasing mixtapes under the stage name Drakeo the Ruler, taken from the ancient Greek legislator Draco, and was discovered in 2015 by DJ Mustard, the party-favorite producer who'd come to fame working with fellow West Coast artists YG and Ty Dolla Sign.

When did Drakeo get free? ›

On Nov. 4th, 2020, Drakeo The Ruler was released from prison after a four-year saga beset by institutional corruption and by what Drakeo viewed as a personal vendetta from Los Angeles' District Attorney, Jackie Lacey.

What part of LA is Drakeo from? ›

Raised in the Hundreds section of South Central LA – home to the infamous rival gangs, the Crips and Bloods – Drakeo was brought up by his mother, with minimal interaction with his father.

How long was Drakeo in solitary confinement? ›

Amid dire circumstances in prison, which included eight months in solitary confinement, Drakeo recorded the album entirely over the jail phone.

What was the biggest celebrity funeral? ›

Funeral of Elvis Presley

What rapper was stuffed for funeral? ›

Rapper Goonew was quite literally front and center at his own funeral ... with his body propped up and on display in a club.

Is Goonew dead? ›

How did Scott La Rock get killed? ›

La Rock struck his head on the dashboard, not realizing at the time he had been struck by a bullet in the back of his head. He was driven to Lincoln Hospital. He was conscious as he was wheeled into the emergency department, telling doctors he was feeling cold and tired. He died in the operating room.

How many rappers have killed? ›

Consider some of the facts. In the 35 years between Scott La Rock's shooting death in the Bronx in 1987 and Takeoff's murder in 2022—one of the most recent cases of a hip-hop murder—we've documented 91 rappers who have been killed, about two per year and sometimes more.

Who was the Philly rapper shot in LA? ›

PnB Rock talked about being a target shortly before he was killed in Los Angeles. The 30-year-old rapper grew up in Philadelphia's Germantown section. Rapper PnB Rock, a well-known hip-hop artist from Philadelphia, was fatally shot Monday afternoon during a robbery at a Los Angeles eatery, police sources told ABC News.

How much is Kanye West worth? ›

Kanye West's net worth in 2023 is around $400 million. Here in this article we will share Biography of Kanye West, Kanye West's Age/ Spouse, About Career of Kanye West and we will also talk about Kanye West's Suspension from Twitter.

What is the net worth of Drake? ›

He has earned an enormous wealth through his music career. However, he has also earned money via his acting career. Drake Net Worth 2023 is currently $260 Million. He is a big and successful Personality in Canada, who is known all around the world for his exceptional singing or rapping.

What happened Drakeo? ›

On December 18, 2021, the rapper Drakeo the Ruler was murdered. It happened backstage at a festival in Los Angeles, his hometown. A group of 40 or so people ambushed Drakeo. One of them stabbed him to death.

What happened to the ruler when you suddenly released it? ›

What Happened: When you released the ruler, it began to vibrate, or to move back and forth rapidly. It was the vibration of the ruler that produced the sound. As the ruler vibrated, it moved the air around it and caused the air to vibrate as well.

How old is Kali from? ›

Kali (rapper)
Born2000/2001 (age 21–22)
OriginRoswell, Georgia, U.S
GenresHip hop trap
Occupation(s)Rapper songwriter
5 more rows

What is MO3 middle name? ›

How old was King Von when he died? ›

Is remble Stinc Team? ›

Drakeo accepted Remble with open arms and confirmed him as a member of his rap group the Stinc Team.

Is Stinc Team a label? ›

Stinc Team Label | Releases | Discogs.

Is Saysothemac part of Stinc Team? ›

Saysothemac is a Los Angeles based hip-hop/rap artist. Sayso was born in 1994 in South Central, California. He is one of the original members of the Stinc Team along with Drakeo the Ruler and Ketchy the Great.

Where is Drakeo buried? ›

After the service, Drakeo's coffin was carried outside by his Stinc Team crewmates and placed in a white chariot. His family, riding in a fleet of Rolls Royces, and the chariot drove to the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills, where Drakeo was buried.

Are Drakeo and Remble related? ›

Cole and Kendrick, and then I ended up getting into the L.A. rap scene and listening to a lot of Drakeo.” Drakeo the Ruler, Remble's friend and mentor, was fatally stabbed at the Once Upon a Time in L.A. festival on Dec. 18. His killing remains unsolved.

Who is starting a boxing league for rappers? ›

Snoop Dogg, Ryan Kavanaugh Launching Pro Boxing League 'The Fight Club'

How old is remble? ›

Who is under Dres label? ›

It operates as a subsidiary of, and is distributed through, Interscope Records. Current acts include Dr. Dre himself, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Anderson . Paak and Silk Sonic, with former acts including 50 Cent, The Game, Busta Rhymes and many others.

Who is OTM rap group? ›

Duffy and BluePesos are OTM, a Stinc Team-affiliated duo from South Central L.A. carrying a torch for Drakeo the Ruler and "nervous music." Duffy's flow is as conversational as they come, but it's deceptively slippery. He'll stuff a bar to its brim with syllables and make it look clean.

How many kids did Drakeo have? ›

Drakeo the Ruler, real name Darrell Caldwell, is believed to have a young son although the 28-year-old has largely kept his personal life private.


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