Wilmington Rapper RocStar Murdered
DJ Rated R, Rocstar, Gentle Jones, and Grand G
Story by Gentle Jones
originally published in the Delaware News Journal
Hip-hop culture from its outset was a youth movement positioned as an alternative to violence.
Early pioneers singled out lyrical, dance and turntable battles as competitive outlets used to avoid street fights.
This year the music is increasingly linked to deadly gunplay in the media. Some suggest that art is simply a mirror of our social condition. Has our society grown more violent? Or has the violence become more musical?
Last week, Wilmington was audience to a symphony of homicide, with four brutal murders taking place between Oct. 14 and Oct. 20. One of those murdered was Darius M. Brown, a local rapper known by the name RocStar. At 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 17, near the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and North Franklin Street in Wilmington, Darius was shot three times in the back of the head, execution style.
One of the last people to speak with Darius was another rap artist from the region, Andre "Philly Flame" Morrow.
"Roc and I were in the process of opening our own recording studio. We were just about to sign the lease for the building where we were going to build the studio. I actually talked to him about 15 to 20 minutes before the shooting," Morrow says. "He had said, 'Let's meet up first thing in the morning to sign the lease.' I had told him the owners were showing the place to someone else and he wanted to get the ball rolling before any other prospects came along.
"This event has had a devastating effect on me because Roc was more than my future business partner, he was family. He was my brother's best friend, then quickly became a friend to the whole family. He even called my mother 'Mom.' Roc was a good person as well as a good friend. We have always been into music. We were starting to move more to the production side of the art. He was definitely passionate about the music he was doing."
Morrow plans to carry on with his company Phantom Muzik Productions despite the setback. The motive for Darius' shooting remains a mystery. "Man, I have no clue!" Andre says. "I talked to his mom and she doesn't even know why. I'm sure it didn't have anything to do with the music because we were trying to put a mixtape together with a lot of out of town cats. Sort of like an all coast type thing. I can't think of a reason why someone wanted to kill Roc."
Darius Brown leaves behind his friends and family. RocStar leaves us a legacy of three recorded albums, the most recent released this year titled "Behind Da Wire: Corner Stories." The disc was produced by Grand G of Wilmington and is a gritty collection of blood-soaked street tales.
Grand shared his reaction: "I lost a good friend. This lets me know how important it is to value life, because you never know. I'd like to see a stop to all the senseless killing. Not just here but everywhere. We need to start handling issues in a different way, not with violence. I don't know about any of the other stuff they implied he was doing, I just know who he was around me. He had a big heart and would do anything he could for the people he cared about. He always liked to joke and loved his children and all family, related or not."
They first met when Grand was 18 years old and working in a South Bridge studio. Roc was 13 at the time. Grand recalls, "He would always come by and try to get on the mic. I remember him saying, 'Hey, let me rock the mic I can rap, too.' Our relationship in the studio was really good. He always wanted to learn, but I didn't always have the time to teach him the technical side of recording. He was very dedicated when recording, spending 8 to 12 hours working on material."
Grand further reflected on the state of the music. "We as parents need to start taking responsibility for the music our children listen to. Along with that, we as artists need to start understanding that we have a responsibility in the music we put out. Understand that music is no different then a movie. It's just suppose to be entertainment, not biblical. Society has somehow promoted it to be reality and some people cannot separate the two."
RocStar made gangster music. Did he live a gangster's life? With three shots to the head under the cover of night, he surely died a gangster's death.