A fatal backstage stabbing at the Once Upon a Time in LA festival has left 28-year-old rapper Drakeo the Ruler dead, according to TMZ and other media outlets.
A fight broke out around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, hours before headline act Snoop Dogg, or 50 Cent, also on the ticket, could perform. Drakeo was reportedly stabbed in the throat during the mayhem. Organizers immediately cancelled the event.
The rapper, whose real name is Darrell Caldwell, was rushed to the hospital where multiple news outlets reported he died. It is unclear if any arrests were made or if others were injured.
Several of Drakeo’s contemporaries, including Drake, posted notes of condolence online. “Nah man this sh*t isn’t right for real wtf are we doing,” Drake posted to his Instagram. “Always picked my spirit up with your energy RIP Drakeo.”
The Los Angeles Times, quoting a Live Nation spokesperson, confirmed the stabbing, but not the rapper’s death, in their announcement to cancel the event. “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.”
Caldwell released his first studio album in early 2021, and released ten mixtapes, including one recorded via Global Tel Link while he was incarcerated at the Men’s Central Jail for the 2016 murder of a 24-year old man. That mixtape, Thank You for Using GTL, was hailed by critics as maybe the best album ever recorded behind bars.
He was ultimately acquitted of murder and attempted murder charges and entered a plea bargain agreement for conspiracy charges. He was released from prison in November 2020. His single from earlier this year “Talk to Me,” featuring Drake, was his first to land on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop chart.