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SXSW crash suspect had dreams of rap stardom

MusicMusic IndustryEntertainmentSouth by SouthwestRashad Charjuan OwensKanye WestLady Gaga

A few weeks ago, Rashad Charjuan Owens uploaded a short snippet of his latest beat to his Soundcloud account, which bears the name K.A.B254.

The unfinished beat that the aspiring producer and rapper composed is one of several tracks on the account, which has less than 30 followers.

Songs like “Reason” and “All Hell” are choppy, overwrought beats that sound as if crudely produced in a makeshift bedroom studio with little more than a laptop and a pipe dream.

K.A.B, also known as KillingAllBeatz, raps too.

He freestyled over Ciara’s 2013 summer anthem “Body Party” on one track, and offered unpolished compositions such as  “I Remember When” and “Stripper News."

PHOTOS: Car plows into crowd at SXSW

There were also aspirations of being the next hip-hop mogul, with Owens proudly touting his own Strictly Mafioso Entertainment brand on his social networks.

Owens’ ambitions, however, will never be realized.

Not because he’s one of millions of talent-challenged emcees all over the country who will never go beyond the underground clubs of their hometown (though he claimed to be studying production at for-profit music school Full Sail University).

The 21-year-old music producer is behind bars after he allegedly tried to flee a DUI checkpoint and allegedly plowed through a crowd of music fans at the South by Southwest festival in Austin early Thursday. The incident turned the festival's party atmosphere into one of shock and grief after police stated that two were dead and 23 others were injured.

RELATED: 2 killed at SXSW: 'The most horrific thing I've ever seen'

As Owens is being held in Travis County Jail without bond on two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault, reports surfaced that the Killeen, Texas, native had arrived in Austin to showcase his music alongside the more than 2,000 other acts that flock to town for SXSW.  

The Statesman quoted Owens’ brother saying that he had planned to perform early Thursday at Club 1808, which is a mile from the Mohawk club on Austin's Red River Street, where the incident occurred.

No such booking could be found on the club’s website or on the Annex at 1808 event calendar; and booking the amateur rapper also seemed unlikely for the club, whose slate of events heavily feature rock, metal and punk bands.

Managers for Club 1808 didn’t return repeated requests for comment.

References to Owens appearing at any other scheduled performances -- SXSW or elsewhere -- also couldn't be found.

Yet it appears Owens desperately wanted to get in on the SXSW action. On Tuesday, the first day of SXSW’s music portion, Owens took to his Twitter feed to offer his producing services.

“Any underground or industry artist on cheap budget @SXSW hit me for beats nd promo video,” he wrote to his KillingAllBeatz account.

Most of the 158 posts on his Twitter account were links to videos by various rappers, among them one of his own, an ultra-low-budget, low-fi video for “Stripper News” posted last July.

PHOTOS: The scene at SXSW 2014

In the clip, Owens and another rapper, Sincere, mime the song's tawdry lyrics in a dingy nightclub alongside female dancers. The video, so far, had only logged 980 views.

His Soundcloud music is finally getting attention, but not for the reasons he probably hoped for when he was crafting his tunes in his makeshift studio.

Most of the tracks only had a few hundred listens, however “Reason” -- the first track listed when you load his page -- is veering toward 8,000 listeners, as the tragedy in Austin piqued the curiosity of those following the story.

The song’s first comment is, by far, the most printable.

“Maybe you can learn to make music whilst on Death Row,” a British Soundcloud user under the name of chaffro wrote.

Los Angeles Times staff writer Randy Lewis contributed to this report.

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SXSW 2014: Lady Gaga looks for an edge in queasy embrace

Follow @GerrickKennedy

gerrick.kennedy@latimes.com

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MusicMusic IndustryEntertainmentSouth by SouthwestRashad Charjuan OwensKanye WestLady Gaga
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