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Police Investigation Underway In Stabbing Death Of Rapper Drakeo The Ruler; Music Industry, Fans React

EXPOSITION PARK (CBSLA) - A Los Angeles music festival was put on hold mid-show Saturday evening, when rapper Drakeo the Ruler, one of the performers at the event, was stabbed and killed during a fight that broke out backstage.

The event, a hip-hop music festival called Once Upon A Time In LA, was held at Banc of California Stadium in Exposition Park and featured well-known performers like Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, The Game, Al Green, The Isley Brothers, George Clinton, 50 Cent and YG. It was scheduled to take place from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., but event organizers shut it down more than an hour early due to the stabbing.

While an investigation has been launched it still isn't immediately clear why the fight erupted. A video posted to social media showed parts of the altercation, which involved more than a half dozen people. Detectives are seeking cause and an assailant.

Many of the thousands of fans attending the festival were entirely unaware of both the fight and the stabbing incident, but quickly learned as word spread like wildfire once the many authorities on scene began to centralize in one area - the roadway backstage.

While there was already a substantial police presence at the festival, many more units from both Los Angeles Police Department and California Highway Patrol authorities merged on scene following the stabbing. They assisted in escorting patrons from the festival when it was ended early.

Instagram story shared by @rbarongroup, in response to the killing of one of their musicians, Drakeo The Ruler. (Photo Credit: @rbarongroup, Instagram)

The news was all but confirmed by Drakeo's management team on Sunday afternoon, when they shared a post to their story that stated "1993 - 2021 #drakeotheruler."

Snoop Dogg, who was the next scheduled performer, got word of the incident while he was in his dressing room. He immediately left the festival for his own safety.

On Sunday he released a statement on Twitter that said, "I'm saddened by the events that took place last night at the Once Upon a Time in LA festival. My condolences go out to the family and loved ones of Drakeo the Ruler. I'm not one 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. My prayers go out to everyone affected by tragedy. Please take care, love one another and stay safe y'all. IM PRAYING FOR PEACE IN HIP HOP."

Drake also posted a tribute to his friend Drakeo on his Instagram story that stated, "Nah man this s--- isn't right for real wtf are we doing. Always picked my spirit up with your energy. RIP Drakeo."

Juicy J, DJ Akademiks, Empire Distribution, Trippie Redd, and Roddy Ricch were among other notable tributes paid to the rapper.

One fan, Joshua Maida, who spoke with CBSLA reporters, said, "I was just stunned. ... I do want to pay my respects, because I did know him and I did like his music. ... I never would've thought at the end of that scuffle, that somebody right there had lost their life, and it was a well-known person too."

Drakeo, born Darell Caldwell in South Los Angeles, was just 28-years-old. He was well-known in the West Coast rap community, and the Los Angeles Times referred to him as the "most original West Coast stylist in decades," in a 2018 story. He was highly regarded in the hip hop community for his linguistic abilities and his unique flow.

Over his seven active years as a performer, Drakeo released 10 mixtapes and one studio album, his first, in 2021.

One of his most notable works was his mixtape "Thank You For Using GTL." His lyrics were recorded entirely via the prison's telephone service, Global Tel Link (GTL), at Men's Central Jail located in Los Angeles.

He had spent some time in prison for the killing of a 26-year-old in 2016. He was charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. He was offered a plea deal after three years in prison.

Drakeo told the LA Times in 2018 that he felt like "he had to always watch his back" and that he knew people wanted to kill him.

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