Detectives review videos from concert in search for Drakeo the Ruler’s killer

Laura Chavez lights a candle in honor of slain rapper Drakeo the Ruler.
Laura Chavez on Sunday lights a candle at a memorial on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Los Angeles in honor of slain rapper Drakeo the Ruler.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Authorities said Monday that detectives were reviewing videos and security footage of the Once Upon a Time in L.A. music festival as they try to identify the person who fatally stabbed Drakeo the Ruler backstage during the concert Saturday night.

Authorities have released few details, but a person with direct knowledge of the incident told The Times that Drakeo the Ruler had been attacked by a group of people. Several videos have emerged showing the aftermath of the attack, though it’s unclear if any captured the stabbing itself. Sources have said there were many people around backstage when the attack occurred.

California Highway Patrol investigators said the rapper, whose real name is Darrell Caldwell, was “severely injured by a suspect with an edged weapon” after a fight broke out. Any witnesses with information about the incident are asked to contact the CHP at (323) 259-3200.

Caldwell, 28, was scheduled to perform at the concert, which had a stacked lineup of popular artists, including Ice Cube, 50 Cent and Al Green. Caldwell’s death came as his career was gaining acclaim, with many fans and music critics calling him an innovative and creative lyricist. He had recently been released from custody after a series of closely-followed court battles.

Caldwell was a South L.A. native who achieved legendary status in the West Coast rap scene for pioneering a singular sound he called “nervous music.” He released 10 mixtapes and put out his first studio album earlier this year. He recorded the mixtape “Thank You for Using GTL,” a reference to prison communications company Global Tel Link, with verses recorded over a phone while he was being held at Men’s Central Jail awaiting trial in connection with the 2016 shooting death of a 24-year-old man.

Here’s some of our coverage of his life and times: