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Rapper Drakeo The Ruler Stabbed To Death At Once Upon A Time In LA

Rapper Drakeo The Ruler
Rapper Drakeo The Ruler

I almost considered going to Once Upon a Time in LA, a rap and R&B festival held in the new Banc of California Stadium in Exposition Park yesterday. The line-up featured plenty of old-school rappers like Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Ice Cube, Cypress Hill as well as soul legend Al Green, so Rolling Loud, it was not! However, there were tons of acts I had never heard about and I finally didn’t go. The event turned out to be a disaster.

28-year-old LA rapper Drakeo the Ruler, who was supposed to perform around 8:30 pm, was stabbed to death backstage before he got the chance to get on stage. According to the reports, a fight broke out around 8:30, and the rapper was stabbed in the neck by an unidentified man (or men?) Darrell Caldwell (his real name) was rushed to the hospital where he soon died. As a result, the festival was abruptly shut down: “The Once Upon a Time in LA is ending early. All performances are now over. Please head to the closest exit and head eastbound on MLK,” the event posted on social media. According to a Live Nation spokesperson: “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.”

Festival goers never got the chance to see the headliners, which, obviously, made a lot of people furious. “So we’re getting refunds right? Thank you for taking our money and keeping us safe. Was this a scam all along? Refund for $400 a ticket please y’all a joke,” … “So everyone who attended Once Upon A Time in LA, I reached out to customer service to get a refund, this is their response! Show ended early, Security SUCKED! Everyone just walks in. Never patted anyone down, didn’t check COVID test… and someone DIED!! This was their response,” I read on social media. So far it doesn’t seem that the festival organizers are open for a refund; after all, the festival did happen until a man died! It was not really something they could have expected, was it?

Many people who attended the event are complaining about the lack of security and the overall disorganization of the festival: “They didn’t even scan my ticket”… “They didn’t check our bags or pat us down”… “security was shit”… “once upon a time in la yesterday was a shit show fuck the organizers” … “once upon a time in la was so fucking disorganized something was bound to happen, they didn’t even check if we had tickets just let us pass like nothing” you can read on Twitter. And it’s not a good sign when the event is turning off all the comments on their social.

Allegedly, security was also very neglectful regarding health-check due to Covid: “I wanna add that there was no security check at Once Upon A Time, no tickets were scanned when we went in, no covid check.. people were handing people shit through the fences, My camera did not set off metal detector.  It was rather unsafe so I’m disappointed but not surprised.”

Plus, watching this video filmed inside some of the heavily tagged toilets of the stadium, it looks like the event got infested with gangs: when it happens, violence is not really a surprise.

Darrell Caldwell, who had been described as “the most original West Coast stylist in decades” by the LA Times, had been arrested several times, for unlawful possession of a firearm then for first-degree murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to commit murder. He was released from jail in November 2020 but managed to record an album when in jail: “Thank You For Using GTL” was called by Pitchfork “likely the greatest rap album ever recorded from jail,” and was featured among Iman’s best albums of 2020. It would not be a surprise if we learn later that his death was connected to his previous actions, but anyone should be safe at a music festival.

This was an event organized by Live Nation, a billion-dollar company and the biggest concert promoter in the US. Shouldn’t we expect a higher level of security? Live Nation was also the promoter of Astroworld by the way, the event where at least 10 people were killed and many were injured. Isn’t it the time for Live Nation to do a serious self-examination?

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