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Jimmy Wopo, Pittsburgh Rapper, Shot Dead In Car Minutes After Discussing Deal With Wiz Khalifa Label
Jimmy Wopo, a 21-year-old rising star, was about to sign a breakthrough contract with Taylor Gang Entertainment.
Pittsburgh rapper Jimmy Wopo, 21, was shot and killed while sitting in a sport utility vehicle Monday afternoon.
His death came the same day that another young hip-hop star, 20-year-old XXXTentacion, was shot and killed in a possible robbery in Florida.
Wopo was preparing to sign a contract with Taylor Gang Entertainment, a label started by Wiz Khalifa, just before his death.
"He would be making life-changing money," Owen Seman, Wopo's attorney, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "His life was about to change."
Wopo, whose real name was Travon Smart, was reportedly on the phone with Seman to discuss the contract just 15 minutes before the 2007 Mazda CX7 the car was riddled with bullets.
He had been sitting in the driver's seat at the time of the shooting, a law enforcement source told the Post-Gazette. His passenger, who has not been identified, was listed in stable condition.
Wopo's manager Taylor Maglin confirmed the rapper's death on Facebook.
"I lost my brother today and it's the worst feeling in the world," he wrote. "He was destined for greatness and wanted the best for his friends, family and community."
Police are investing the shooting, but no motive for the attack has been released.
Wopo's trap music featured booming beats and raw lyrics that focused on the poverty and violence of street life.
The video for one of his biggest hits, "Elm Street," garnered more than 6.7 million views on YouTube.
"I felt like his future was really, really big," DJ Stevie B, who produced "Elm Street," told Pittsburg's Action News 4. "It definitely hit my heart, you know? And it hurts. I am just trying to stay strong for his friends and his family."
The rapper had previously had several run-ins with the law, including two drug charge convictions. He had also been shot twice in the past.
During a 2017 interview with the Post-Gazette, Wopo said his music was an outlet for his emotions and a way to escape his environment.
But the rapper's live shows often attracted the attention of police who were concerned about the threat of gang violence.
"He always said he's not making this type of music to try to tell kids to go out and do this same stuff," friend and producer Norman Dean told the Post-Gazette. "He said, 'Violence is not the way. This is just music.'"