Saturday, December 19, 2021, West Coast Rapper Drakeo the Ruler was fatally stabbed in the neck during an altercation at the Once Upon a Time in LA rap music festival, where he was scheduled to perform alongside Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, and Ice Cube. Drakeo, whose real name was Darrell Caldwell, was only 28 at the time of his death. The world lost the most original West Coast stylist in decades.
The Rise Of Drakeo
Drakeo the Ruler rose to fame in 2015 with “Mr. Get Dough”, which was picked up and remixed by DJ Mustard and quickly became a hit, thanks to Drakeo’s unique vocal style. Mr. Get Dough racked up more than 6 million views on YouTube (August 2019) and introduced the world to Caldwell’s grim humor and sharp social comments delivered in an instantly recognizable calm muttering style.
Highlights Of Discography
Drakeo the Ruler released his official debut mixtape “I Am Mr. Mosely” in October 2015 and quickly followed up with two more successful releases until he recorded the “Cold Devil” mixtape in late 2017, which was described as his most compelling album. The 16 masterpieces on the album were recorded in just 10 days. Flu Flamming, Big Banc Uchies, Roll Bounce, and Out the Slums got millions of hits on YouTube and Spotify.
Drakeo was a very prolific musician, releasing 10 mixtapes between 2015 and 2021. “Thank You for Using GTL” was released in June 2020, while Caldwell was doing time in Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles. Some of the verses were recorded from prison using the inmate phone service GTL, hence the album title. The album was received very positively and was named the “greatest rap album ever recorded from jail” by Pitchfork.
Drakeo’s last album, “The Truth Hurts” was released in February 2021 and featured a guest appearance from Drake on the song “Talk to Me.”
Roots In Southern California
Caldwell was born on December 1, 1993, in the “Hundreds” neighborhood of South-Central Los Angeles. He was raised in poverty by a single mother and was in and out of correctional facilities after his first arrest at the age of 12. Caldwell attended George Washington High School in Westmont, the same public school as Ice Cube and former LA County district attorney Gil Garcetti.
Caldwell grew up listening to the likes of Hot Boyz and Boosie, but he names a battle rapper named Cocky as his main influence. Cocky showed Caldwell you don’t have to be loud to get your point across, which is where he probably got the inspiration for his calm, deadpan vocal style.
Drakeo the ruler’s untimely and violent demise sparked countless heartfelt reactions and condolences by fans and fellow musicians, including Snoop Dogg who concluded his tweet with a prayer for peace in hip hop. Drakeo the Ruler’s unique cadence, strong hooks, and unmistakable sound have been copied countless times, in popular songs as well as in obscure royalty free music tracks, but rarely equaled. He will be missed.