Snoop Dogg reacts to Drakeo the Ruler’s stabbing death: ‘Praying for peace in hip hop’

Hip-hop artist Drakeo the Ruler
Drakeo the Ruler, seen here in a Dec. 20, 2017, performance, died Sunday after being stabbed.
(Wyatt Winfrey)

Rapper Snoop Dogg said Sunday that he was “saddened” and “PRAYING FOR PEACE IN HIP HOP” after fellow performer Drakeo the Ruler was fatally stabbed at the Once Upon a Time in L.A. concert at Banc of California Stadium.

“My condolences go out to the family and loved ones of Drakeo the Ruler,” Snoop Dogg said in a statement on Twitter. He wrote that he was in his dressing room when the stabbing happened and decided to “immediately” leave the festival, where he had been set to perform later Saturday evening.

“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,” the statement said.


Drakeo the Ruler, 28, whose surrealist slang made him one of the most original stylists in L.A. hip-hop, died after being stabbed at a concert.

Dec. 19, 2021

Drakeo the Ruler — a South L.A. native whose real name was Darrell Caldwell — was backstage when an altercation broke out among several people and he was stabbed, a source told The Times.

Ice Cube and 50 Cent were among the performers also in the festival’s lineup. As of Sunday morning, no arrests had been made in the killing.

Prominent stars in the industry mourned the loss. “for real wtf are we doing,” the popular rapper Drake wrote in an Instagram Stories post. “[You] always picked my spirit up with your energy RIP Drakeo.” The rapper Saweetie tweeted: “Man Drakeo was always hella cool & respectful. Prayers up for his family RIP The Ruler.”

The rapper Jim Jones urged other rappers to stay safe. “They know who we are cause of our fame but we don’t know who they are because of our fame,” Jones wrote in an Instagram post. “Feels like we lost a rapper every week this year. ... Rappers have th most dangerous job in th world I stand on my statement.”

Caldwell, 28, had previously been acquitted of murder and attempted murder in the 2016 killing of a 24-year-old man. Prosecutors tried Caldwell again on related conspiracy charges, which ended with a plea deal by Caldwell, who left prison in November 2020.

“We spent the hardest two years together fighting for his freedom, facing life, before walking out a free man just over a year ago,” Caldwell’s attorney, John Hamasaki, tweeted. “Through it, we became friends and then like family. I don’t even know how to start processing this. Thanks for the kind messages.”


Others in the music industry offered their tributes to the influential South L.A. rapper, noting his death was all the more tragic because of the legal challenges he surmounted.

“RIP Drakeo, the greatest West Coast artist of a generation, a legend who invented a new rap language of slippery cadences, nervous rhythms, and psychedelic slang, who beat life twice only to suffer the most tragic fate conceivable,” tweeted music journalist Jeff Weiss. “My love to his friends, family, and anyone who understand the struggle that he endured and loved his music. He was special, a legit genius and a kind, caring friend.”

Long Beach rapper Joey Fatts raised concerns about security at the venue where Caldwell was stabbed, and he referenced the Astroworld festival where 10 people were killed in a crowd surge during a Travis Scott concert. “Drakeo was killed while working. Was there for a performance,” he tweeted. “No reason why a knife should be able to be snuck into a music festival.”

Festival organizers for Once Upon a Time in L.A. did not immediately respond to a request for comment about security conditions. The festival’s public-facing social media platforms have made no acknowledgment of the performer’s death. Its most recent posts were Saturday night, telling attendees the show was ending early and to head for the exits, without saying why.