This has been a pretty horrible weekend in rap music any way you slice it. On Saturday, December 18, 2021 at the “Once Upon a Time in L.A.” event at Exposition Park in Los Angeles, rapper Drakeo the Ruler (real name Darrell Caldwell) was fatally stabbed while apparently trying to break up a fight at the venue. Headliner Snoop Dogg promptly cancelled his performance and the whole event was shut down. Caldwell seemed to be finally getting his life on track after many years of setbacks through legal troubles and incarcerations. In a recent review I said that “he’ll be a success as long as he stays out of jail and keeps making music, and I sincerely hope he does.” Unfortunately his murder now makes that an impossibility. Darrell Caldwell was only 28 years old at the time of his death.

I won’t profess to being enamored with his style, but I know he has legions of fans who are grieving his death today, and I hope for their sake and his family’s that his killers are brought to justice. The last thing hip-hop needs is the death of another successful rap star, but sadly this isn’t the only one to report on. Founding UTFO member Kangol Kid (Shaun Shiller Fequiere) dealt with a silent killer, but one that’s just as deadly — colon cancer. He passed away at a hospital in Manhasset, New York on Saturday morning at only 55 years old. Both men were far too young to go.

It is a horrible irony that Fequiere was honored by the American Cancer Society for his dedication to fundraising and advocacy in fighting breast cancer. It’s an ongoing battle that never seems to have an end, but he was a tireless fighter for both himself and others. It’s even more heartbreaking to know that another UTFO member, the Educated Rapper (EMD) died from cancer four years ago as well. If you’re reading this and you’re dealing with cancer yourself or through a family member or loved one, please keep fighting and never give up the fight. May Fequiere rest in peace and the legacy of UTFO’s place in hip-hop never be forgotten. Peace and blessings to both Fequiere and Caldwell’s family and friends.