« Rapper Slain After Chase In Queens »
A rap artist who was with the rapper Tupac Shakur when he was shot last year was himself shot and killed early yesterday during a high-speed automobile chase in Queens, police officials said.
Randy Walker, 27, who performed in the group Live Squad, was being chased by at least two men in a black car when he was shot at least four times, crashing his minivan at the corner of 112th Avenue and 209th Street in Queens Village just after 12:30 A.M., said Lieut. Vito R. Spano, commander of the detective squad in the 105th Precinct.
His death occurred one year almost to the minute from the incident last Nov. 30 when he and Mr. Shakur walked into a Times Square building housing a recording studio, and Mr. Shakur was robbed and seriously wounded.
« The shootings were one year and about five minutes apart, » Lieutenant Spano said. « It’s weird. » The police said they had no suspects and had not determined a motive for the shooting. They said they were looking into a possible connection between the two attacks, but they had no hard evidence to suggest whether the incidents were related or whether the links were simply the result of a bizarre coincidence.
Mr. Walker’s killing is the latest in a string of incidents in which rappers have been caught in a web of violence, either as perpetrators or victims. Mr. Shakur, for example, was convicted last December of sexual assault — shortly before his shooting — and was recently released pending his appeal.
The superstar gangsta rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg is currently on trial in Los Angeles for his alleged role in a drive-by killing in August 1993. The sometimes deadly intersection between life and art has helped fuel a national debate about rap lyrics. But many rap artists and their supporters say the hard-edged lyrics of some raps merely reflect a grim, urban reality that they did not create.
« Most of the stuff he would talk about wasn’t about how bad he was, but the stuff he went through in the streets and how he responded to that… »
« Most of the stuff he would talk about wasn’t about how bad he was, but the stuff he went through in the streets and how he responded to that, » said Adario Strange, executive editor of The Source, a hip hop magazine.
« He wasn’t just some street thug trying to get paid. He was a street artist, and a talented one to boot. I’m very surprised at this. »
Mr. Walker, who rapped under the stage name Stretch, was not a star. But he was known and respected in rap circles, and hovered in hip hop’s spotlight through his association with Mr. Shakur. The two men had been close friends, and Mr. Walker produced several songs for the rap superstar, industry insiders said. But in the wake of Mr. Shakur’s shooting, the friendship shattered, shocking many in the rap community, friends said.
In an interview published in Vibe magazine, Mr. Shakur suggested that several of his acquaintances acted suspiciously during and after the attack, including Mr. Walker, whom he accused of not trying to fight their assailants. « Tupac made disparaging remarks about him in Vibe magazine and it really hurt his feelings a lot, » said Ed Lover, an MTV personality and radio show host who helped Mr. Walker get started in the music business. « I think — just my opinion — after Tupac got shot, I just think that Tupac just kind of turned against everybody. » Mr. Shakur could not be reached for comment. Mr. Walker had had glimmers of success during his short career.
In 1990, Mr. Lover took a demo tape of Live Squad’s raps to Tommy Boy Records, where the group was signed for about two years, he said.
Mr. Walker was on his way home after dropping off his brother, Chris, 23, when the car chase began and he was struck by bullets, at least two fired through his back, relatives and the police said. A father of one, he towered at 6 foot 8 inches, friends said, and was more often the one to cool tempers than start trouble.
Still, his raps spoke of drugs and the violent repercussions such a life could yield. But Mr. Lover stressed that his friend had not lived violently.
« The music that he made had nothing to do with the life that he led, » he said. « He didn’t glorify violence at all. He didn’t live violently. A lot of the media will change it around to make it seem like a rap related incident and it’s not. »
Mr. Walker lived with his mother, Lucilda, a native of Jamaica who came to the United States 29 years ago and, after the death of her husband in 1981, raised their two sons and two daughters alone, working as a nursing attendant at New York University Medical Center.
« He never talked to me about having enemies, » Mrs. Walker said yesterday. « My son was a very loving, kind person. I don’t know why they did this to him. »
« Rapper Slain After Chase In Queens. »
By Charisse Jones Dec. 1, 1995.
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