Drakeo the Ruler, Influential L.A. Rapper, Dies at 28

The rapper was reportedly stabbed backstage at the Once Upon a Time in L.A. fest on Saturday night
Drakeo the Ruler
(Credit: Timothy Norris/WireImage)

Drakeo the Ruler, the influential and prolific Los Angeles rapper who is known for his deadpan flow and dark humor, has died at the age of 28. A rep for Drakeo the Ruler confirmed to SPIN the news of his death, but declined to share any further details.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, there was an incident backstage at the Snoop Dogg-curated Once Upon a Time in L.A. festival at the city’s Exposition Park. At around 8:40 pm PST, the Times reported that a person was stabbed in the neck backstage, who we now know was Drakeo, and was rushed to the hospital. The festival promptly ended after the incident. The Times reported that Drakeo died at a local hospital.

Born in Los Angeles’ Westmont neighborhood as Darrell Caldwell on December 1, 1993, Drakeo the Ruler rose to prominence in 2015 with the release of his mixtape, I am Mr. Mosley. With a co-sign from DJ Mustard, Drakeo the Ruler’s flow differed from what was occurring in hip hop at the time.

In addition to his acclaimed work, Drakeo also faced legal troubles. He was charged with murder in connection with a shooting outside a warehouse party in Carson, a town south of Los Angeles, in 2018. The incident took place in December 2016 and the rapper faced life in prison. However, he was acquitted of all charges in July 2019 and released in 2020 following a plea deal. He resumed his career almost instantly and continued to be one of the most unique voices in hip hop.

While incarcerated, Drakeo recorded Thank You For Using GTL over the jail phone. It was released in 2020. Following his release from prison, the rapper also put out We Know the Truth and A Cold Day in Hell.

His debut album, The Truth Hurts, was released in February. Drakeo’s most recent project, titled So Cold I Do Em 2, dropped earlier this month.

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