Pittsburgh native Jimmy Wopo was an authentic, reflective and vivid street rapper. His edginess and drawbacks of the streets is where Wopo shined brighter than his hip-hop contemporaries. However, the rising star’s life was cut short after he was murdered in a double drive-by shooting on Monday (June 18) in his hometown.
According to WPXI, police responded to the shooting in the Pennsylvania city’s Hill District around 4:22 p.m EST. Two men were rushed to the hospital with gunshot wounds. Wopo’s manager, Taylor Maglin, confirmed he died three hours later.
“We lost a great person today, but just know I will do everything in my power to make his memory live on forever,” Maglin wrote in a Facebook post.
After garnering national attention with underground hits “Elm Street,” and “Walking Bomb,” Wopo, 21, released solid mixtapes such as Jordan Kobe and Back Against the Wall, Trapnese with Hardo, and Woponese over the past three years.
To familiarize yourself with this fallen artist, VIBE unearthed five important facts about the rapper who spoke fluid Trapanese.
1: Wopo’s Mother Was An Early Influence On His Rap Career:
Black music has always played a generational role in the history of black America, even in Wopo’s home. Recognizing his talent, Wopo’s mother called into the local radio station, where the then 8-year-old freestyled on the radio. It was the first time he rapped for an audience.
2: He Was A Few Hours Away From Signing A Record Deal With Atlantic:
Despite amassing millions of Youtube views, and releasing edgy mixtapes, Wopo’s legal troubles interrupted the hopes of a record deal. But in weird twist of fate, the rapper’s lawyer, Owen Seman, told Associated Press that he spoke with the rapper born Travon Smart minutes before his untimely death about a record deal.
10 min after hearing about Xxx untimely passing, I get a 💔 call that one of Hiphop’s next up, also met an untimely demise. Needed to process and double check with the caller because there just no way that this happens within the span of 20min. This was Jimmy Wopo. He was a few hours away from having his life changed as a recording artist on Atlantic Records.. A few days away from releasing music that might’ve have made him your favorite new artist for 2019 and make another mark for the city of Pittsburg.. and a few weeks away from going on his first cross country tour with Wiz and crew.. but senseless violence put all that on permanent hold and we lost a very talented young man to these cold streets. Condolences to the family and friends of Travon Smart aka @woponese and the city of Pittsburgh. Lost a good one way too soon. #RIPJimmyWopo 🙏🏽
3: Wopo’s “Elm Street” Was Rumored To Have Influenced Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.”
While recovering from a gunshot wound in 2015, Wopo’s underground hit “Elm Street” gained traction, launching the rapper to a new level of fame. Two years later, TDE’s Kendrick Lamar released his hit song “HUMBLE.” The instrumentals for both tracks are very similar, leading critics to fuel rumors that K. Dot jacked Wopo’s record.
4: Wopo Briefly Ran An Independent Record Label:
The budding MC also had his sights set on entrepreneurship. Under the independent label Woponese, the Steel City rapper released his solo efforts, a collaborative project with bubbling artist Hardo, also from Pittsburgh, including 2016’s Trapanese.
5: Wopo Used His Music Career As A Way To Escape:
Unfortunately, Wopo was shot twice before Monday’s murder. After getting shot a second time, the MC told Vlad TV that his promising music career was instrumental to him not seeking revenge like he did the first time he was shot.