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Students share thoughts, feelings after rapper PnB Rock killed in LA

September 15, 2022
Photo by Madison Echlin | The State News

Philadelphia rapper and singer Rakim Hasheem Allen, better known under his stage name, PnB Rock, was shot and killed during a robbery in a restaurant in Los Angeles Monday afternoon. The late rapper was best known for his 2016 song “Selfish,” which was certified 3x Multi-Platinum last March.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Rock was targeted for his jewelry. The 30-year-old rapper was with his girlfriend, who posted an Instagram story tagged with the restaurant’s location. 

Information science junior Sam Kurtzman said his first introduction to Rock was through the artist’s collaboration with late rapper Pop Smoke, who was killed after he inadvertently exposed his address on Instagram.

As a hip-hop fan and an office assistant at student-run radio station Impact 88.9 FM, Kurtzman said he was very aware of PnB Rock’s presence in the industry.

“He did a really good job of blending the hip-hop, R&B, and even a little bit of poppy elements,” Kurtzman said. “It’s hard to categorize him as just a rapper because he does a fair amount of singing and stuff too, which I really appreciate. I think it’s good that you have artists that are versatile like that.”

“‘Selfish,’ I’ve heard probably a million times,” computer science junior Jerry Hoskins said.

The song reached #1 on the U.S. Apple Music most-played charts following Rock’s death.

A little over a year after the release of “Selfish,” Rock released his second mixtape, “GTTM: Goin Thru the Motions,” which debuted at number 28 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. Rock landed two singles on the soundtrack to the 2017 film “The Fate of the Furious,” and later earned a spot on XXL’s 2017 Freshman Class List alongside rappers Playboi Carti, Amine and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. The list honors 10 up-and-coming artists, typically within the rap, hip-hop and R&B genres.

“That’s how I was introduced to his music,” computer science senior Matt Amikiej said of the XXL 2017 Freshman class. Amikiej is the host of The Vibe, a hip-hop specialty show at Impact.

“It seems like it's just so easy for him to make a very chill, catchy song,” Amikiej said. “It's very uniquely him. It's very catchy, very easy to listen to. It's just something you can always throw on in your car.”

Rock was more recently featured on Ed Sheeran’s 2019 album “No.6 Collaborations Project,” featured on “Cross Me” with Chance the Rapper. 

Kurtzman said he found out about the shooting on Twitter -- a video circulated Monday of Rock injured after the shooting. Kurtzman didn’t find out he had died until a friend told him later that day. 

“As someone who’s a big fan of hip hop, it f—ing blows frankly, there’s no way to sugarcoat it,” Kurtzman said. “This is far from the first and it won’t be the last rapper that just gets killed.”

Kurtzman recalled Pop Smoke, Nipsey Hussle, Young Dolph and Drakeo the Ruler, rappers who were also killed in recent years.

“And those are just off the top of my head,” Kurtzman said.

Amikiej, who also heard the news through Twitter, added King Von, Mac Miller and Juice Wrld to this list, three rappers that also died or were killed in the last four years.

“It feels like it’s happening more and more, especially to all these young artists,” he said. “I saw one tweet say he got shot … a couple tweets later, I saw that he ended up passing away.”

Hoskins had a similar reaction.

“I said, ‘oh boy, another one’,” he said. “‘How many rappers are going to get shot? ... Lil Tjay got shot not too long ago, too.”

Tjay, a 21-year-old rapper from The Bronx, was shot seven times this June in an attempted robbery.

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Kurtzman doesn’t see these deaths as isolated incidents.

“It’s indicative of a much larger problem, in my opinion,” Kurtzman said.

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