Rapper Drakeo stabbed to death at Exposition Park festival

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Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — The investigation into the stabbing death of Los Angeles rapper Drakeo the Ruler at a star-studded concert at Banc of California Stadium in Exposition Park Dec. 18 is continuing, with authorities reviewing video evidence but reporting no major developments in the case.

Drakeo, whose real name was Darrell Caldwell, was taken to a hospital in critical condition following the backstage altercation. He had turned 28 on Dec. 1.

Officials have not officially confirmed the victim’s identity, but one of the rapper’s representatives confirmed the information with multiple media outlets, and the Los Angeles County coroner’s website shows that Darrell Caldwell, date of birth Dec. 1, 1993, died Dec. 18 at a hospital.

The fatal stabbing is being investigated by the California Highway Patrol because that agency investigates crimes that occur on state property, which includes Exposition Park, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

At approximately 8:36 p.m. Dec. 18, a fight broke out behind the main stage of the Once Upon A Time in LA music festival, and a man was severely injured by a suspect “wielding an edged weapon,” the CHP said in a statement released the following day.

CHP officers, as well as officers from the Los Angeles Police Department and personnel from the Los Angeles Fire Department, responded to the scene.

A CHP spokesman, asked about the status of the investigation Dec. 21, said only that there was no new information to report.

The CHP’s Southern Division Investigation Services Unit urged anyone with information regarding the stabbing to call them at (323) 644-9550.

The Los Angeles Times, citing “a person with direct knowledge of the incident,” reported that Caldwell had been attacked by a group of people at the concert, where artists including Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Ice Cube, Al Green, the Isley Brothers and Cypress Hill were scheduled to perform.

Social media was filled with tributes to Caldwell over the weekend, including a statement from Snoop Dogg, who never made it to the stage for his scheduled performance.

“I’m saddened by the events that took place last night at the Once Upon a Time in LA festival,” Snoop tweeted. “My condolences go out to the family and friends of Drakeo the Ruler. I’m not with anything negative and as one of the many performers, I was there to spread positive vibes only to my city of LA. Last night I was in my dressing room when I was informed about the incident and chose to immediately leave the festival grounds.”

Fellow rapper Drake, who collaborated with Caldwell earlier this year on the song “Talk to Me,” posted a photo of the two together on Instagram.

The music festival, which was slated to run from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., was shut down early by police and firefighters.

Video from the scene showed several people arguing and fighting outside the concert just before the stabbing, but it was unclear what sparked the confrontation.

“There was an altercation in the roadway backstage,” a Live Nation spokesperson said in a statement to The Times. “Out of respect for those involved and in coordination with local authorities, artists and organizers [we] decided not to move forward with remaining sets so the festival was ended an hour early.”

Caldwell was a Los Angeles native who has released 10 mixtapes since 2015 and put out his first studio album earlier this year titled “I Am Mr. Mosely.”

Critics have cited his unique flow and “oddly expressive, poetic word choices.” The Times called him “the most original West Coast stylist in decades.”

He recorded the mixtape “Thank You For Using GTL” at Men’s Central Jail while awaiting trial in the 2016 killing of a 24-year-old man, according to The Times, which said he was acquitted of murder and attempted murder charges.

Caldwell later pleaded to conspiracy charges in connection with the killing and was released in November 2020, the newspaper added.



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