Three days after Drakeo the Ruler’s murder backstage at the Once Upon a Time in L.A. concert on Saturday night, surprisingly few details have emerged about the incident that saw the 28-year-old rapper stabbed to death when a large scuffle broke out.
While the festival’s promoter, Live Nation, has deferred all questions to local authorities and law enforcement has released only vague details, Drakeo’s mother, Darrylene Corniel, provided the most in-depth information in an interview with Rolling Stone published late Monday.
Corniel says that Drakeo (real name: Darrell Caldwell) was backstage with a group of people including his younger brother Devonte, who raps under the name Ralfy the Plug. She said witnesses told her that a large group of people arrived backstage at the same time as fellow performer YG.
“They said there were, like, 40 to 60 people,” she said, who “swamped” her sons’ group. “Everything just happened so quickly, they started trying to jump them.” One unnamed witness told the Los Angeles Times that Drakeo was attacked by a large group of people; video footage taken at the time of the incident merely shows a large number of people running around.
Corniel said that Devonte tried to help his brother, but was too late. “He was trying to fight, but when he turned around, he could see his brother with blood gushing out of him. He was like, ‘Did they stab you?’ It was like, there were so many of them.”
Along with several unofficial reports, Corniel said Drakeo had been stabbed in the neck. “I saw him when I went to the hospital,” she said. “They said it’s a homicide, so I wasn’t able to hug him or kiss him or anything like that. I had to look at him through a window.
“We plan to sue,” she continued. “This happened backstage at an event. Someone has to be held accountable. I need this to be out there. I need people to know. And I do want justice for my son. And I do believe that justice will be served. I will not rest until justice is served.”
In a statement, Live Nation said “We are extremely saddened by the passing of Drakeo the Ruler. Our thoughts go out to his loved ones and fans and we’re doing everything we can to assist authorities in their investigation.” Reps deferred all other questions to law enforcement.
California Highway Patrol has jurisdiction in the venue; it asks any witnesses with information about the incident are asked to call (323) 259-3200.
A source told Rolling Stone that visitors to the backstage area were supposed to pass through a metal detector and a screening area patrolled by dogs trained to detect gun powder and other explosives. CHP investigators said the murder involved “a suspect wielding an edged weapon,” although further details were not available.
“They let all these people in, and you’re not supposed to have all these people backstage. And your security is supposed to be in place,” Corniel said. “There should have been more protection. Even if you have metal detectors, even if you pat them down, you let those people come in there. You had more people come in than you were supposed to. And you allowed them to jump my son. You didn’t protect my son.”
Drakeo was released from jail in November of 2020 after serving three years on a complicated charge that saw him acquitted of a 2017 murder but held on charges that his rap group constituted a gang, a claims that prosecutors said his lyrics and music videos proved.
Along with his mother and brother, Drakeo leaves behind a five-year-old son.